3D Capability at Home
Improvements in the theater 3D experience have sparked a surge in 3D theatrical movie releases in the last few years, especially in the category of family and kids movies. When the subsequent 3D DVDs and Blu-rays started hitting the shelves, though, we found out that the home 3D viewing experience had not come as far. Sporting a pair of red/blue glasses was not even worth the trouble. But now, the home 3D experience has caught up and then some.
The first of the 3D capable TVs are now on the market. Those horrible red and blue glasses are no more and have been replaced with active shudder glasses that allow even better viewing than you can get in theaters. The only problem now, is affording all of the upgrades.
Is the Upgrade to 3D Enabled Home Viewing Systems Worth It for Families?
The upgraded 3D technology is still very new, which usually means early adopters are going to pay a high price. Not only that, but there is also the risk that the technology will rapidly change or improve, leaving those that bought the first systems on the market with a less than optimal set-up. In this case, though, the new 3D TVs are not much more expensive than their 2D only counterparts, and you may not even need to upgrade components right away. Here are some things to consider if you're looking into buying a 3D capable TV and components:
- What kind of content is available?
So you spring for a nice new 3D enabled TV and Blu-ray player, now what can you watch? Only a handful of 3D movies using the new technology are available. 3D content on TV through cable or satellite is coming, but it will still be a while before a wealth of content is readily available. By the end of 2010, you'll see more and more 3D movies on Blu-ray, and most of the movies scheduled to come out on 3D Blu-ray are kids and family movies.
- I know I need a new 3D capable TV, but what else do I need?
Depending on your current home theater system, if you have a newer Blu-ray player or PS3, you may not have to upgrade components -- at least not right away, though you probably won't be able to watch in full 1080p. Before you buy your new 3D enabled TV, check the guide What Do I Need for My 3D Home Theater, by About.com's guide to home theater, Robert Silva. You can also check your Blu-ray player manufacturer's website to see if you player can be upgraded. In addition to home theater components, you will also need to fork out some money for the high-tech glasses to watch in 3D, although it's fairly easy to find a sale where stores will throw in at least a couple of pairs when you buy the TV.
- Is watching a movie in 3D really that much better?
The answer to this question really depends on you and your family's love for watching movies. If family movie night is something you value, or if you are just really into cool home theater technology, a 3D TV is a must. Go to your local home theater store and let them give you a demo. You will be impressed. And again, if you have kids, most of the Blu-ray content available for 3D viewing is family and kid-oriented. Kids will get a big kick out of the home 3D experience, and if you provide it, your house will be the movie central for you kids and all of their friends. In fact, you may save money on going out to the the theater, since everyone will want to wait and see the movie on the 3D TV at home.
- What about young children, will they enjoy watching 3D movies at home?
Even when the movie is great and the glasses are just their size, most very young children just don't keep the glasses on and end up losing interest or watching a fuzzy movie. If your kids are old enough to keep the glasses on their faces, they will be able to enjoy 3D movies with the rest of the family. Of course, this ability to keep the glasses on depends on the child's age and personality.
- Does watching 3D movies hurt your eyes or present any other health risks for adults or children?
Blu-ray.com has posted a health warning issued by Samsung regarding 3D viewing. According to the release, 3D-related health risks include headaches, dizziness, nausea, seizures, and more. With the technology being so new, we will not likely know of any unforeseen long term effects for some time, so it is important to exercise caution, especially where kids are involved. If your child has had or is at risk of having seizures, you may want to contact your pediatrician before letting him view any 3D content.
The Future of 3D and the Home Theater
Whether you love it or hate it, 3D is definitely going to be a big part of the home theater future, and this is just the beginning. Bob Perry, Panasonic Senior Vice President, states in a Panasonic ad featured in Home Theater Magazine, "Over the next decade, television will change by becoming more immersive or lifelike in its experience, as 3D capability comes to Blu-ray Disc and flat-screen television." He forecasts changes and improvements to 3D capability will be seen over the next 3-8 years.