3-D TV Coming, for Better or Worse
The Times reports that big manufacturers like LG are rolling out 3-D TVs at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. The units will cost about $2,000, and require the use of special glasses, just like House of Wax.
One big drawback is that there isn't much 3-D content to feed the giant maw that is TV, but Dreamworks' Jeff Katzenberg claims that "an enormous surge in 3-D content" is coming. Discovery, IMAX, and Sony are collaborating on a 3-D network, and Disney plans a 3-D ESPN channel so you can experience errant football passes flying into your living room -- as early as next season.
Sounds fun! The vendors at CES have certainly hit a sweet spot, with the mammoth success of Avatar spurring new interest in 3-D.
But there are some problems. For one thing, as broadcasters have yet to establish industry standards for 3-D, it will be a while before everyone has the right glasses and sets to properly view all the programming, such as it is.
History Eraser Button is skeptical for a number of good reasons -- including the current parsimony of producers: "For years, the trend toward digital video has meant cheaper TV shows, often with user-submitted content... there's no sign that really expensive television is due for a rebound."
Dreamworks can afford to noodle up some 3-D shows, but since our television overlords discovered viewers will watch crappy reality shows and crime-scene clip-jobs that cost peanuts to make, they will be undermotivated to indulge heightened expectations that would make every new show a large financial gamble.
But the big players -- and, eventually, cheaper systems -- will probably force them into it, albeit slowly and kicking and screaming, as 2-D becomes the black-and-white of the new age. By decade's end we expect the latest version of Tia Tequila will be stripping in our living rooms, and the market for arcane two-dimensional entertainments like Citizen Kane will dwindle to a cult of connoisseurs -- which will further dwindle as enterprising producers trick up the old movies and shows for the new medium. It's a Wonderful Life, colorized and redimensionalized -- own it today on 3DVD! When Clarence hits the water, you'll really feel it!
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.