‘Twas the night before Avatar
went on sale on disc, and all through the house no one’s taking the 3D risk. Why? Even if you wanted to see the Na’vi in 3D, it’s not going to happen tomorrow when Fox releases a barebones 2D DVD and Blu-ray (just in time for Earth Day, natch). The plan is to release an extended version of the film with bonus features in November and then, sometime in 2011, put out a 3D Blu-ray. When that day comes, how many people will be able to see it? Thanks to several reasons, maybe less than you think.
1. Who Wants to Replace Their HDTV? Most people bought their HDTVs within the past few years and, except for a few models utilizing an older version of the technology, most are not 3D ready. That means you are going to fork over thousands for a new TV. Also, if you took the Blu-ray plunge, the only player currently upgradable to 3D will be the PS3, which will likely happen sometime in the fall. Even your current HDMI cable won't be compatible. So, who’s game for buying a new HDTV, Blu-ray player and HDMI cable in this robust economy?
2. Those Goofy Glasses For 3D at home, the glasses are going to be made by several manufacturers and some will be incompatible with other systems. If you want to buy a Samsung 3D TV and use a PS3 and some other company’s glasses, you might have some serious glitches. In addition, the glasses cost about $150 a pair. Unless you’re James Cameron, will you be footing the glasses bill so five of your pals can watch Avatar in 3D in your living room?
3. Multitasking at Home When you’re in a theater, you’re forced to sit in the dark and stare at a screen for two hours, which is why 3D works there. At home, people rarely sit in reverent silence in front of their TVs for hours on end. They socialize, read, go to the kitchen or fiddle on their phones or computers. Imagine taking those glasses off and on every time you want to look away from the TV for a minute? Talk about a party kill.
4. Lack of Content Let’s say you don’t give a damn about everything Blu-ray Bob just typed and you are an early adopter hell-bent on watching 3D at home as soon as possible. Well, right now you could enjoy Monsters Vs. Aliens 3D if you bought the Samsung bundle with two pairs of glasses for $350. Aside from that, there isn’t really anything else out there, although Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is coming and you’ll have Avatar in 2011. Some cable companies will be providing select content in the upcoming months, but the question is, what’s your hurry?
5. Adoption is Slow Blu-ray has been around for a few years now and even though it inarguably improves the picture and sound on HDTVs people already have, Blu-ray is only now slowly breaking into the mainstream and still only accounts for about 12% of all DVD sales. The industry moves faster than most of the people they're selling to, especially techphobes who have to be dragged into it. By the time 3D is ready for mainstream adoption at home in a few years, the technology will be advanced enough that you won’t need the glasses anymore and you’ll have to buy all new equipment again.
So, who’s having the first 3D party? Anyone? Anyone?