Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's Not 3D!

The 2010 Consumer Electronics Show was all about "3D" Televisions for the home.
Let's be clear: There's nothing "3D" about these displays. They are stereoscopic.

Much as stereoscopes completely replaced traditional albums of photographs in the 1850's... oh wait.
Here in the twenty-first century, most people still keep albums of traditional photographs.

Could stereoscopic photography be anything more than a fad?

Perhaps a little more...
I loved my ViewMaster back in the 1970's and in the 1980's one could purchase stereoscopic film cameras.
In 2010, we'll see a bunch of stereoscopic digital cameras.

But here's why the home stereoscopic TV fad will be particularly short lived:
  • Most homes just upgraded to digital TV at a price point the average consumer wouldn't have considered a decade ago. There is no way they can justify a new set.
  • Stereoscopic programming cannot be viewed while lying on the couch or in bed.
  • Those stupid glasses
  • The headaches caused by some of the viewing technology.
  • No programs. While there are a handful of movies that were shot in stereo, but most new programs will just be re-renders of digitally animated movies.

Did you really love "Avatar" enough to plunk down another two grand for a new TV, buy a new "3D" Blu-ray player, and sit perfectly upright wearing dorky glasses just so you can watch it at home?

But Gaming is whole other issue.

Gamers are used to strapping on a headset, so adding the glasses would not be a big deal.
We're used to sitting perfectly centered in front of a screen for hours at a time. I think stereoscopic monitors for gaming could become standard gear.

But I think you get a much more compelling 3D experience with something like this head-tracking demo.

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