Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

3-D TV: Are We There Yet?

Avatar_536x300.jpg3-D! Wow! When a feature movie is released in this format, the 3-D aspect is hyped as much as any of the stars. It’s the latest big-deal thing.

Except that it isn’t. The first 3-D predated even the 20th Century. (For an interesting history, visit http://hollywoodinhidef.com/video-gallery/.) It has come and gone in various technologic processes from the major studios since the 1930s. It seems to have finally hit its stride, in no small measure thanks to James Cameron’s innovative use of the technique in Avatar – bring you into the scene rather than have the scene jump out at you. And now you can watch Avatar in 3-D at home!

But what can you watch besides Avatar? Titles are limited, as well as genres (animation and horror are the bulk of available movies, although sports fanatics may find more to their liking). That’s one consideration you may want to keep in mind if you’re thinking about plopping down multiple thousands of dollars on a 3-D TV for your home.

List cost usually includes two pair of the special shutter glasses you need to wear to experience the 3-D effects. If your family numbers more than two, you’ll need to pop for additional glasses (which could run $150 each) or try to establish a sign-up or turn-taking schedule (yeah, right). Borrowing from friends — or inviting friends to join you and bring their own glasses — may not work, as different manufacturers’ glasses are not necessarily mutually compatible.

Another aspect worth considering: That was a lot of years to get theaters across the board to invest in the specialized equipment to present the format. So, while television manufacturers now are developing their own products, there is no uniformity among them. Weigh the thrill and cachet of being one of the “first on your block” to own a 3-D TV with the chance you take that your selection may not, ultimately, become the accepted one (remember Beta video? A better-quality video, but VHS won that battle).

Avatar photo by WETA, courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

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