3D TV: the Next Big Thing?

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With technology moving at an unprecedented pace, it seems that ‘new and improved’, updated gadgets are released almost immediately following a previous version. But no matter how nifty that previous version was, consumers still love to see – and own – the latest, most technologically advanced products. So it’s no surprise that the mention of 3D television has a lot of mouths talking – including those of big electrical companies, who are expecting it to be the next big thing.

A giveaway of what might be to come is the vast presence of 3D films. The recent animated movie Bolt was shot in 3D, with upcoming movies such as Toy Story 3 and Shrek Goes Fourth also benefiting from 3D enhancement. What’s more, older films are being revamped with 3D treatment – among them, Chicken Little and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

But animated films aren’t alone in the 3D arena. One of the top film directors is said to be working on a live action 3D movie, stating it is the ultimate way to enjoy a film. Needless to say, movie studios are not hesitating to invest in 3D films.

So it makes sense that the world of television is following suit. At the January Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, countless manufacturers were showing off 3D sets. Moreover, at another electronic gadget showcase in Germany, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications unveiled a 3D television that can be controlled by gestures.

However, despite such advances, certain 3D viewing experiences are not ideal. For instance, in order to enjoy most 3D televisions, you have to wear special headgear or glasses. That’s because to get a multidimensional picture, each eye needs to see the image slightly differently. In addition, the viewing angle for many 3D TVs is restrictive, requiring viewers to sit at a specific angle. While this might work fine for cinemas, it’s not as practical for living room viewing. Still, some electrical companies are trying to develop TVs that require neither headgear nor angled seating.

Another question is whether consumers will fork over the money for a nifty new 3D television, when many have recently purchased another new, possibly costly release, or made a digital switchover. Moreover, with affordable developments such as digital TV widely available, many might not see the need to venture over to buying a 3D TV. The experts believe it will be a long time before 3D television is cheap or compelling enough to be mass market – stating while the technology is almost there, the interest might not necessarily be.

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