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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2010-09-24 09:37:26
I went ahead and pulled the trigger. I had been wanting to replace my old television for a couple of years (an early model CRT HDTV), but could never really justify it since it still had pristine picture quality. (Those old school massive cathode tube televisions produced black levels and colors that LCDs still struggle to match.)
Stereoscopic 3D gave me the final push of incentive to purchase a new television. With the dearth of 3D content (I'm still boggled that Avatar still isn't available as a killer app for this technology), I've been enjoying it for its sterling 2D picture quality. I got the Panasonic model, which is one of the finest 2D televisions available, and as far as I can tell, the hands down best 3D set. There are some minor concerns of degrading black levels, but I can live with that. Every Blu-Ray disc looks GORGEOUS on this screen.
After some rudimentary digging, I discovered why 3D movies are having such a difficult time hitting the shelves. Turns out, the 3D television manufacturers are quietly waging a war for timed exclusives. When Avatar "releases", it will only be available for a time to Panasonic purchasers. How to Train Your Dragon will be exclusive to Samsung. And so on. I'd wager that Sony (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs) started this nonsense, what with their actually owning the film studio involved, and extensive experience battling Microsoft for exclusive videogame releases. At least that made SOME sort of sense, as porting games to another system requires a not insignificant investiture of money and effort. But these 3D films are on Blu-ray discs that universally work across the different makes and models. Depending on what I can get on eBay, I may sell my future copy of Avatar to some desperate chump who bought a Samsung, and just wait for general release. At a time when these companies should be focusing on accessibility to cultivate adoption of the tech, they're bitterly carving out their tiny fiefdoms within the niche market of early adopters like me.
That said, 3D is pretty cool. All I've seen so far is Super Stardust HD and WipEout HD and the stereoscopic effect is definitely a positive addition to the experience. When choosing purchases, I've tended toward Xbox 360 releases, usually because of Xbox Live functionality. But when the PS3 offered even minimal advantages (like the exclusive Joker DLC in Arkham Asylum), that would swing my choice. All other things being equal, 3D functionality may swing me in the Sony camp moving forward.
However, as much as I'm impressed by 3D, I remain skeptical about the mainstream adoption of the tech. The glasses are a huge barrier. When I got my previous television and had people over to watch the first Super Bowl broadcast in hi-def, they were all thunderstruck. I'm likewise looking forward to the first 3D Super Bowl or World Series, but I'm only going to have two or three sets of glasses max. Some people in the room are going to have to entertain themselves or stare at a blurry image. 3D faces an uphill road, and may not gain traction until glasses-free televisions are affordable, which won't be ANYtime soon.
Then again, never discount the power of porn.
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