Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset at CES 2013

Imagine a headset that’s comfortable and affordable — one that also takes you to a world as yet undiscovered: the world of virtual reality. Sound too good to be true? If so, you should have been at CES 2013 with Chris. He got up close and very personal with the Oculus Rift. The dream of gaming through virtual reality isn’t going to only be a dream much longer.

When Chris donned the Rift, his first word was “astounding.” I’ve never heard him have his mind blown this way, and I’ve been working with him for six years. It was pretty awesome to watch the video as he tried to play the game demo using the headset, hearing the reactions as he experienced this for the first time. Chris’ honest responses make me want to play with this myself!

Oculus Rift Virutal Reality Headset at CES 2013The Kickstarter project for this was extremely successful — more than two million dollars were raised. The developer kits will be shipping in March — approximately 10,000 units. The dev community will be helping to build content. No consumer release date has been announced. The company indicates that when there is enough content available for consumers to be interested and need to buy the unit, that’s when it will launch the product. The team doesn’t want to put the Oculus Rift on the market without a sizable game catalog.

I found it interesting that Chris admitted to having motion sickness the first time he played Minecraft on his 30″ monitor, but he didn’t experience that when wearing the Oculus Rift. The images from the Rift are literally on top of his eyes, but it was a much more natural experience than what you have with a monitor or television set. This set will feel like an extension of your vision as things improve such as precision, speed, and resolution.

Could this be the future of true virtual reality? That’s impossible to say, but it’s probably the closest we’re going to get for a long time, and it’s closer than anyone has managed to get in the past.

This team is stellar; it believes in its product because its members, themselves, wanted to play with this product. So, in true entrepreneur fashion, they went out and began to develop it. This isn’t a group of guys who want to make a quick buck. These gentlemen want to develop the best virtual reality headset they possibly can so that they can strap it on and immerse themselves in the games.

That, my friends, makes all the difference in the world — and it apparently shows when you look through the Oculus Rift into an entirely new world.

How 3D Printing Could Change Our World

How 3D Printing Could Change Our WorldWhen I first read about the future of 3D printing, I was amazed at how far we had come from the days of old. I know that when I purchased my first color printer all those many long years ago, (the early ’90s), it made me feel like a king. At the time, this simple dot-matrix color printer was considered to be state-of-the-art and, at $500, quite expensive. However, one must remember that this was a time when RAM was selling for $50 a MB (not GB, like today), hard disks were selling for $1 per MB, and the least expensive Packard Bell computers were selling for $1,500.

As I continued my hopscotch journey through time, I also recalled the same excitement as I converted from that original dot-matrix printer to first an ink jet and then to a laser printer. In fact, just this last week I bought my latest HP LaserJet printer with Wi-Fi for only $105 and have been delighted with not only its performance but also with HP’s ePrint technology. What I found is that HP’s ePrint technology had produced a system that was a breeze to set up and use, (even my Apple iPad works perfectly using ePrint, which is free for use by HP owners using a supported printer). In fact, when I had finished the setup process and experimented with my new toy, my thoughts took me once again to those older printers from 20 years ago. It made me wonder how we ever considered yesterday’s technology, with its funky printed material, to be acceptable in the work environment.

This makes me wonder, however, how long it will be before my latest purchase is going to go the way of the DOS desktop computer since, even as I write this article, there are companies out there that are in the process of engineering 3D printers for personal use.

What is the Cost?

First, remember that this is not a new concept. 3D printing has been around for quite a while, but was once confined to the engineering world and/or to those who had the $30k to purchase a 3D printer. However, today’s 3D printers are available to the general public for as little as $1,299. I’ll admit that this is still a high price for a printer, but prices should fall as the concept of this new 3D printing takes hold with the public. In fact, I would venture an educated guess that, in the next three years or so, the cost of 3D printers should drop dramatically.

How Does 3D Printing Work?

The concept of how this 3D technology works is actually quite simple. Of course I am assuming that we are all familiar with a standard ink jet printer that basically squirts ink onto a piece of paper. 3D printing builds on this as it renders the image or object by building up layers of print in order to give the object a 3D effect. This buildup of layers actually creates the object and not just a picture of the object.

How is 3D Printing Going to Change Our Lives?

So why would you need this? How is it going to change the way we envision projects? There are two ways that 3D printing is going to change our lives:

First of all, it will change the way things are done in the manufacturing arena where composites can now be used to replace steel. This means that the engineer, using a CAD design, will be able to take apart a printed design in order to strengthen those support areas that appear weak.

This type of printing can also prove beneficial to the do-it-yourself homeowner who wishes to add depth to a visual model of a home project. This means that one could actually take a picture of an object, then convert the picture to a CAD file and then print the object on a 3D printer. Just think of the possibilities. It is not inconceivable that, using this media, this same homeowner might be able to recruit some help from his family and friends. Of course, the addition of a good steak and glass of wine might help prior to the sharing of a 3D rendering of his/her project.

What About Intellectual Property Rights and Patent Laws?

When this technology really takes off, one must then look at possible problems with patents, codes, or any other infringements that might arise. Ryan Matthew Pierson recently wrote an excellent article, Patent Wars: Enough is Enough, about this very subject. I believe it is well worth the read since I would imagine that everything that surrounds our daily lives could possibly have some type of intellectual property right or patent. That means that we could, in theory, be personally sued if we were to reproduce a product, item, or whatever if someone, somewhere has already laid claim to the concept.

What’s scary is that, in an age where it appears that every company in the technology field is suing every other technology company, we cannot preclude that these same companies won’t bring suit against consumers. Remember, this occurred when the RIAA was running amok and suing music downloaders (including children and their parents). Given that, one would have to accept the possibility of others following a similar path and suing 3D printer uses for a variety of violations — perceived or otherwise.

What do you think? Could a 3D printer be in your future?

Comments welcome.

Source: T. Rowe Price

3D Hasn’t Succeeded as of Yet – Will 4DX Do Any Better?

Despite all of the movie industry hype surrounding 3D TV, did you run out and purchase one? Probably not, which means that even with the film producers endeavoring to put forth their best strategies, they have been unable to convince the movie going masses that 3D is the new industry standard. That also means that TV manufacturers across the country that were banking on its success have struggled in their attempts to convince consumers that 3D televisions and playback devices would reign supreme. They have also been forced to accept that the public doesn’t feel that 3D technology has dramatically improved the movie going experience when compared to the traditional filming methods. Result: The masses are not willing to turn over their discretionary funds on a product that they believe they can just as well live without.

Historically, there have always been those who wanted the latest and greatest in electronic toys. But with millions having recently purchased new HDTVs and Blu-ray players that offer near perfect picture quality, many of these consumers don’t see an advantage to the 3D experience. Compare this to the past where the movies we watched on our televisions were limited to the VCR tape, which presented us with poor picture clarity. Additionally, with this old technology, we found it quite difficult to isolate specific scenes and/or rewind/fast forward to points of interest on the tape. Then along came the compact disk, with its better quality and adaptability, which improved our viewing experience. Top that off with the introduction of the Blu-ray player for our home entertainment experience, and we were in awe of the resulting picture quality. Unfortunately, perhaps, for the developers of the 3D units, this meant that millions of us had little or no incentive to dump our recently purchased HDTV or Blu-ray players to take advantage of a limited assortment of mostly animated movies. Then, too, the added expense of needing to purchase 3D glasses for each viewer detracted from the desire, even among the diehard enthusiasts, to own the latest and greatest new toy.

One example of a 3D movie that was advertised to be the greatest movie experience of all time — that wasn’t animated — was Titanic. For those of you who don’t know me, I like things that are free, but this movie had originally impressed me to such an extent that, despite my fiscal conservatism, I actually bought the DVD set when it became available. Knowing that I already own a copy makes it even more surprising that In May, when one of our local theaters was presenting a 3D version of the movie, I opted to see it. This was in spite of the fact that I had to pay an additional surcharge of $3 (which seemed reasonable at the time), since reviewers reported the effect as a ‘spectacular enhancement’ to an already classic movie. However, even though I am sure others will disagree, I found myself to be disappointed with the experience; I felt that the addition of 3D to an already great movie added little value to my viewing experience.

With that being said and with the basic floundering of the 3D concept, it is surprising to me that there is now a South Korean company introducing what it calls 4DX, which is purported to add yet more thrills to our movie experience. This latest experiment in 4DX suggests that a viewer will experience:

  • Seats that rock back, forth, and side-to-side as the action shifts on screen.
  • Viewers will be vibrated and slapped in the back during fight scenes.
  • Sprays of water or air will hit the viewer’s face during extreme weather conditions.
  • Odors will allow the viewer to smell what those on the screen smell. (Not necessarily such a positive thing, in my opinion.)
  • Strobe lights will flash during scenes of explosions or wild weather.

Theodore Kim — chief operating officer of the Los Angeles lab of theater operator CJ 4Dplex — is hit with fog, one of the special effects the company creates for its “4-D” moviegoing experience. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

It seems extreme, to say the least, but this new technology is currently being tested around the world in countries such as South Korea, Thailand, Mexico, and even an experimental hosting in Hollywood, CA. One of the benefits being claimed by the producers of the new technology is that the physical experience can be used on existing movies, updating them for re-release to the public. Of course, the thinking is that movie makers may be able to forego the expense of coming up with something original and still be able to extract a few extra bucks or two from moviegoers who may wish to see a favorite flick with the added mechanics.

Some of my concern is how this technology — 3D or 4DX or whatever — could actually alter how the producer, director, and actors originally sought to portray the message or story they filmed. To me, the great black and white classic film, Casablanca, would not be enhanced by the addition of these spectacular effects. In fact, while others may see these additions as improvements, I am convinced that I would actually find them more annoying than enjoyable.

However, who knows? When television was first introduced, there were those who claimed that it would be the death knell of both radio and the movie theaters. As we know, this wasn’t the result. Instead, movie theaters, with their current movie releases, became an excuse for people to get out of their homes and enjoy the company of others. It appears that lonely people find camaraderie in a crowded movie theater setting where one can enjoy the experience with others. For them, the chance to hear others express their emotions that could mimic what they are feeling is worth the cost. In addition, they get to see the latest and greatest Hollywood movie releases without having to wait for the DVD or Blu-ray version from Netflix, Redbox, or wherever they choose to rent the movies that they view in the confines of their living room. Of course, another draw to the movie complex is the hot smell of popcorn, which is likely to cost $5 for 25 cents worth of popcorn, just because it usually tastes better than what we make at home.

When it comes to 4DX, I know that it isn’t for me. I have no desire for my home to smell like smoke or expelled gas; even more important, I don’t want to have water sprayed all over my furniture. However, in a movie setting where someone else has to clean up the mess and endure the uncomfortable realities, I can see an appeal for those seeking an experience where there is an added sense of reality. If this describes you, then the 4DX movie may be up your alley.

What do you think? Will you opt-in to see future movie releases in 3D, 4DX or whatever when it is introduced, or do you view movie content in the light of quality rather than for its gimmicks?

Share your thoughts with us.

Comments welcome.

Source: 4DX

Source: L.A. Times

Will 3D Movies and Television Die a Slow Death?

During the past few years, both the movie industry and television industry have been promoting their 3D technology as the wave of the future. Several popular movies, including Avatar and Alice In Wonderland, proved popular with audiences when these films were offered in 3D format. But since the time of these original releases, audiences have rebelled at the higher prices 3D movies commanded at the box office. In addition consumers have also been reluctant to buy 3D enabled television, waiting to see exactly how 3D technology would be accepted by the masses.

During the first half of 2011, the movie producers have brought out both 2D and 3D movies, with the 3D movies costing more to produce. That cost gets passed onto consumers. There now seems to be a growing chorus that no longer wishes to view movies in 3D. Two reasons are the higher cost to see a movie in 3D and the novelty of wearing 3D glasses is no longer an attraction. What the movie companies are seeing is what could become a backlash by consumers against 3D movies in general. If this happens, the demand for 3D televisions could also fade.

The Memorial Day advertisements in the Sunday newspaper from Best Buy had 20 televisions on sale for the holiday weekend. Of the twenty sets that Best Buy had on sale, only five of the televisions were 3D ready. I went over to the local Walmart site and took a look at the Samsung HDTV screens, in which there were 25 models being offered. Out of the 25 Samsungs offered, only two were 3D ready. Walmart also sells the Vizio brand and offers 46 HDTV models for sale online and only five are 3D ready. I believe the number of 3D HDTVs would be higher if they were selling better than 2D HDTVs.

There may be another reason why people are shying away from 3D. The high price of gasoline, higher food prices, and just the unknown of how well the economy will do have caused many Americans to curtail some of their spending habits. I know this weekend I went to the show and after paying $7 for a ticket, which I thought was reasonable, was almost gouged until I noticed the pricing of popcorn and a drink. How can anyone with a conscience take 10 cents worth of popcorn and ask $5 for it?

I can only imagine how those feelings may increase if one were to pay a premium to see the same movie in 3D.

Comments welcome.

Will My MacBook Pro Run Maya and ZBrush?

In a recent email, a reader asked, “What specifications should I outfit the new MacBook Pro with to allow it to easily run CPU intensive programs such as Maya and ZBrush?”

Well, this depends on your general speed preferences. If you want it to zip through complex 3D models with very little to no trouble then you’re going to find that in general, the better you specs the faster your experience. There are, however, ways to ensure that your MacBook Pro will run with general ease during typical usage.

Here are the recommended system specs for a 64-bit Maya installation on Mac OS X:

  • Apple® Mac OS® X 10.6.5
  • Macintosh® computer: Macintosh computer with Intel-based 64-bit processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 10 GB free hard drive space
  • Qualified hardware-accelerated OpenGL graphics card
  • Three-button mouse with mouse driver software
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher, Apple Safari, or Mozilla Firefox web browsers

According to these recommendations, the base model MacBook Pro 13-inch has you covered as far as the OS, processor, hard drive, memory (RAM), graphics card, and DVD-ROM drive are concerned. You’ll need to purchase an after-market mouse for comfortable controls and the included hard drive (5400 RPM) is a bit on the slow side compared to the SSD options available on the MacBook Pro. You’re also just meeting the requirements with the RAM included on the MacBook Pro. An upgrade to this will help your overall system operation during your more intensive tasks. As far as Maya is concerned, the cheapest model MacBook Pro can run it just fine under normal conditions.

Here are the recommended system specs for ZBrush 4 on Mac OS X:

  • OS: Mac OSX 10.5 or newer
  • CPU: Intel Macintosh (Must have SSE2 : Streaming SIMD Extensions 2)
  • RAM: 1024MB (2048MB recommended for working with multi-million-polys)
  • Monitor: 1024×768 monitor resolution set to Millions of Colors
  • (recommended: 1280 x 1024 or higher)

As far as these specs go, you’re good to go with the cheapest MacBook base model in almost all areas. The resolution on a 13-inch MacBook Pro is only 1280×800 which falls short of their recommendations though an external monitor or a move up to a 15-inch model should resolve this shortcoming. The bit about needing SSE2 simply means you need the Intel processors as it was introduced between 2001 and 2004 when the Pentium 4 lead the Intel lineup.

Once you’ve met the basic system requirements set by the software developers, any additional boost to your MacBook’s specs will only serve to make the experience smoother and snappier as your models become more complex. A good rule of thumb when it comes to matching hardware to software is that if your processor is a couple generations newer, the RAM doubled, and the operating system current, you should be fine.

Sharp Galapagos 3D Android Phone and e-Reader Tablets

Sharp is making the 3D screen that is in the upcoming Nintendo 3DS, it allows for amazing 3D screen without the need for 3D glasses. Thus as Sharp is ramping up mass production of that “parallax barrier” 3.8″ WVGA 3D screen, they are able to put it in Smart phones as well, which is how they are now shipping in Japan the Sharp 003SH and 005SH (with slide-out keyboard). Sharp is also entering the Tablet market with their new Tablet optimized screens at 5.5″ and 10.8″ super sharp high resolution LCD screens in the Galapagos Tablets now released in the Japanese market.

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This video was filmed by Charbax of ARMdevices at CES 2011.

Do You Want a 3D TV?

Someone recently asked if I thought it was a good idea for them to buy 3D monitors at this point in time. Honestly… no, I don’t. There simply isn’t enough content out there to justify spending the money on these. Yes, they’re cool. But wait a year or two until the rest of the world catches up to the technology.

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When you have money to burn, go ahead and splurge. In my estimation, I just don’t feel the timing is right yet. We’ll likely see new 3D monitor technology prototype at CES next spring. They’re sure to make many of you drool, of course. I don’t have a 3D television and I certainly don’t have a 3D monitor.

Heck, it took me a while to switch over to HDTV. There still isn’t enough content to keep up with that technology… so you can imagine that it will take a few years for the content to be fully ready for 3D.

What are your thoughts?

Moving Holograms: From Science Fiction To Reality

A new type of holographic telepresence allows the projection of a three-dimensional, moving image without the need for special eyewear such as 3D glasses or other auxiliary devices.

Remember the Star Wars scene in which R2D2 projects a three-dimensional image of a troubled Princess Leia delivering a call for help to Luke Skywalker and his allies? What used to be science fiction is now close to becoming reality thanks to a breakthrough in 3D holographic imaging technology developed at the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences.

A team led by optical sciences professor Nasser Peyghambarian developed a new type of holographic telepresence that allows the projection of a three-dimensional, moving image without the need for special eyewear such as 3D glasses or other auxiliary devices. The technology is likely to take applications ranging from telemedicine, advertising, updatable 3D maps and entertainment to a new level.

The journal Nature chose the technology to feature on the cover of its Nov. 4 issue.

“Holographic telepresence means we can record a three-dimensional image in one location and show it in another location, in real-time, anywhere in the world,” said Peyghambarian, who led the research effort.

“Holographic stereography has been capable of providing excellent resolution and depth reproduction on large-scale 3D static images,” the authors wrote, “but has been missing dynamic updating capability until now.”

“At the heart of the system is a screen made from a novel photorefractive material, capable of refreshing holograms every two seconds, making it the first to achieve a speed that can be described as quasi-real-time,” said Pierre-Alexandre Blanche, an assistant research professor in the UA College of Optical Sciences and lead author of the Nature paper.

The prototype device uses a 10-inch screen, but Peyghambarian’s group is already successfully testing a much larger version with a 17-inch screen. The image is recorded using an array of regular cameras, each of which views the object from a different perspective. The more cameras that are used, the more refined the final holographic presentation will appear.

That information is then encoded onto a fast-pulsed laser beam, which interferes with another beam that serves as a reference. The resulting interference pattern is written into the photorefractive polymer, creating and storing the image. Each laser pulse records an individual “hogel” in the polymer. A hogel (short for holographic pixel) is the three-dimensional version of a pixel, the basic units that make up the picture.

The hologram fades away by natural dark decay after a couple of minutes or seconds depending on experimental parameters. Or it can be erased by recording a new 3D image, creating a new diffraction structure and deleting the old pattern.

Peyghambarian explained: “Let’s say I want to give a presentation in New York. All I need is an array of cameras here in my Tucson office and a fast Internet connection. At the other end, in New York, there would be the 3D display using our laser system. Everything is fully automated and controlled by computer. As the image signals are transmitted, the lasers inscribe them into the screen and render them into a three-dimensional projection of me speaking.”

The overall recording setup is insensitive to vibration because of the short pulse duration and therefore suited for industrial environment applications without any special need for vibration, noise or temperature control.

One of the system’s major hallmarks never achieved before is what Peyghambarian’s group calls full parallax: “As you move your head left and right or up and down, you see different perspectives. This makes for a very life-like image. Humans are used to seeing things in 3D.”

The work is a result of a collaboration between the UA and Nitto Denko Technical, or NDT, a company in Oceanside, Calif. NDT provided the polymer sample and media preparation. “We have made major advances in photorefractive polymer film fabrication that allow for the very interesting 3D images obtained in our upcoming Nature article,” said, Michiharu Yamamoto, vice president at NDT and co-author of the paper.

Potential applications of holographic telepresence include advertising, updatable 3D maps and entertainment. Telemedicine is another potential application: “Surgeons at different locations around the world can observe in 3D, in real time, and participate in the surgical procedure,” the authors wrote.

The system is a major advance over computer-generated holograms, which place high demands on computing power and take too long to be generated to be practical for any real-time applications.

Currently, the telepresence system can present in one color only, but Peyghambarian and his team have already demonstrated multi-color 3D display devices capable of writing images at a faster refresh rate, approaching the smooth transitions of images on a TV screen. These devices could be incorporated into a telepresence set-up in near future.

Daniel Stolte @ University of Arizona


Is Blu-ray DOA? You Decide

Apple has been against Blu-ray since the new format arrived. Apple has made it clear that they have no intentions of ever including a Blu-ray system on any of their computer systems. But other companies also have jumped off of the Blu-ray wagon which begs one to ask. Is Blu-ray DOA?

Netflix appears to be getting away from not only Blu-ray but also DVD disks. The company appears to be heading for a business model in which movies will be streamed from their site. This will eliminate the mailing and handling of both Blu-ray and DVD disks, plus inventory and the assorted problems will disks being lost in the mail or being damaged by users. Netflix has launched their services in Canada, but missing will be mailing of disks. The new model for Canada will be streaming only. The CEO of Netflix states that a streaming only plan is in the works for the U.S. as well.

Microsoft with their X-box 360 likewise is staying away from Blu-ray. The Redmond giant has stated that they have no intentions of ever including a Blu-ray player with their gaming consoles.

In a recent article it also states that:

Microsoft’s UK Director, Stephen McGill, recently gave an interview to Xbox360Achievements where he said:

Actually, Blu-ray is going to be passed by as a format. People have moved through from DVDs to digital downloads and digital streaming, so we offer full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality streaming instantly, no download, no delay. So, who needs Blu-ray?

We might not be at the point where digital downloads equal Blu-ray in sheer quality, but it’s fast approaching, and digital downloads are able to grow and adapt and improve at a vastly quicker rate than those dinosaur physical disc formats.

Sure, this is stuff everyone probably already knows–but it’s nice to hear Microsoft say, flat-out, that they won’t bother wasting time on a format with a shelf life nearly as short as that of an avocado.

But will Blu-ray go the way of the dodo? I believe it will. We have been presented with a technology that offers little when it comes to video quality unless you are a video purist. For the average consumer DVD is just fine for watching movies. I also believe that we have been sold a bill of goods when it comes to the benefits of 1080p over 720p. Again, unless you are a purist, who cares.

I put off buying a Blu-ray player since I never did think it would take off. Instead I am buying a Roku to stream media to my HDTV. Apple, Boxee Box and Google are also offering streaming devices and I believe this is the wave of the future.

Since I am on my soap box, I might as well toss in 3D into the mix. 3D is going to go the way of the dodo as well. Just my 2 cents.

Comments welcome.

Source – fastcompany

A 3D Camcorder For Consumers

There should be an image here!Being in the market for a new camcorder myself, I have to admit that trying to understand why anyone in their right mind would spend money on a 3D camcorder is difficult to get my head around.

Here are the facts: the new Panasonic HDC-SDT750 HD sounds like a dream come true from the perspective of a quality device with the kinds of functions one would want from such a device. And of course, going with HD as an option is a given these days. But 3D, seriously?

Worse is what sounds like a possible performance hit when using the 3D lens. Some hit on how well things float along is fine, but it again leads me to wondering why anyone would want to go 3D with a pro-sumer camcorder? Am I just too old fashioned in my thinking?

[Photo above by anamobe / CC BY-ND 2.0]

[awsbullet:Panasonic HD]

Cost Of The First Panasonic & Samsung 3D HDTVs To Be About $3,000

The prices for the first 3D HDTVs is going to be pricey. Panasonic has confirmed that a 50″ 3D HDTV with a 3D Blu-ray player and one set of glasses will retail for about $2,900. Extra 3D glasses will cost you another $150 per pair according to the company. Samsung says their deal on a 46″ 3D HDTV, with a 3D Blu-ray player and two pairs of glasses will be $3,000 and includes a 3D movie.

There is good news. The HDTVs can switch between 3D and 2D, which doesn’t require glasses to view. LOL

Panasonic recently announced that the company will be partnering with Best Buy once the 3D sets hit the stores. But it makes one wonder just how many of these new 3D sets will sell at such high prices?

I know I will be waiting for prices to drop and also to see just how popular 3D will be for home use.

Comments welcome.


Is 3D Mostly Just Hype? I Think It Might Be, But You Decide

For the past month or so we have been hearing quite a bit about the new HDTV’s that are going to be making there way into our homes. On paper we are being promised a new experience that can only be offered by 3D. In addition we are being promised that 3D channels will be coming our way soon. Some articles I have read also indicate that if we don’t run out and purchase a 3D enabled TV we will be losing an opportunity to enjoy what is being described as a stellar experience.

But is this more hype than fact? Should we all dump those new LCD’s and Plasma TV’s we bought to get 3D, or is this just a gimmick to get us to spend more money? You might think I am skeptical of 3D, that is because I am. According to an article from paidContent, this could be what happens to the future of 3D:

Reading some reports put out by the industry (see the 3-plus million estimate reported in this BBC piece from earlier today, for example), you might fall for the assertion that just because millions of people watched Avatar in 3D that they will all run right out and buy a $2,000 3D TV set. Here are the top three reality checks for 3D TV.

These reasons are exactly why I believe that consumers need to wait and see just how much the industry is going to invest in 3D, before jumping on the band wagon. This could turn out to be nothing more than hype in an effort to get consumers to buy what some are saying is going to be the future of HDTV.

I for one am still skeptical. I couldn’t believe how long it took just to get TV stations to broadcast in HDTV. As many of you know not all TV stations have made the change. Some smaller stations were granted exemptions because they had a small viewing audince or because they could not afford to upgrade their equipment.

There is another reason I am a skeptic. Back in the 80’s I bought a four channel receiver which was touted as being the future. Japan had already changed over to 4 channel broadcasts on their FM stations and I thought the U.S. would be soon to follow. The 4 channel broadcasts never happened. I ended up with a very expensive paper weight.

This time around I will wait and see if 3D really happens before I invest in new equipment.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

DirecTV To Launch 3D Channel In HD

It appears that DirecTV will be launching a new satellite that will enable the company to provide a 3D HD channel for your viewing pleasure. The announcement is expected to come at the 2010 Consumers Electronic Show scheduled on January 7, 2010 in Las Vegas. According to one source it also states that the new satellite will become fully operational in March, 2010.

How will DirecTV subscribers be able to watch this station? Obviously, they’ll need a 3D set from the growing list of manufacturers promising to offer compatible HDTVs, though most of these models don’t exist yet. Ones that are available, in the form of Mitsubishi DLP sets, will need a special 3D converter box. You won’t need a new set-top box, however, as that part of the technical equation will be taken care of in the form of a firmware upgrade. And, of course, you’ll need those special glasses to actually view that third dimension.

More details should be forthcoming during the convention next month. By then, you’ll be inundated with announcements concerning numerous new 3D HDTVs and probably more 3D programming options. Brace yourself for 3D frenzy.

So we should prepare ourselves for a glut of new HDTVs coming our way in 2010 that support 3D. It should be interesting to see how much these new TVs will cost. One could only guess that standard HDTVs could see further price decreases as the new 3D sets hit the street.

Comments welcome.


Are You Ready For 3D Movies In Your Home?

As of last Thursday, December 17th, 2009, plans were finalized for a standard for Blu-ray players to play 3D movies. This step forward means that 3D movies for the home will become a reality and it will be in 1080p for superior resolution. But one problem that hasn’t been dealt with is the need for 3D glasses. One will still need the glasses to view a 3D movie.

What I am struggling with is that I personally don’t see a need for 3D. I watched 3D movies in my youth and personally didn’t care for the way the movies appeared. Though the glasses didn’t bother me, removing them meant the 3D effect was lost and the picture was not viewable.

A recent article at the Chicago Tribune states:

Current Blu-ray players aren’t able to handle the new 3D format, but some analysts expect that adapters could be made available for them.

Which brings up the question of cost. How much will the adapters cost those who currently own Blu-ray players? How much will adding 3D to the next generation of Blu-ray players cost us consumers?

Another question I have: Is this just a gimmick to jump start Blu-ray player sales?

I am still satisfied with the way DVDs play on my HDTV. The picture, I believe, is fantastic as it currently is. What will Blu-ray offer me that I don’t already have? As I mentioned in a previous article, the difference between 720p, which I own, and 1080p is negligible unless one owns a large screen HDTV.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – Chicago Tribune

3D Blu-ray – Seriously?

Okay, I will say right out of the gate that the idea of 3D Blu-ray gives me a headache. I think we must realize that once the novelty wears off, this is going to bomb hard. We are not talking about grander definition in the picture or even crisper sound. This is a matter of every movie you watch coming out to you in 3D!

Why would anyone actually bother with this? Not even considering any added expense should you not own a PS3, which will be supported, there is also the question of remembering where the glasses are kept. Clearly this is about as harebrained of an idea as I have ever heard of.

This said, I guess one might also point out that people said the same thing about Betamax, recording TV onto tape, and even talking movies themselves for that matter. So it is conceivable that I may be totally wrong about this. Perhaps this is destined to be a huge hit?

Tell you what. Why don’t each of you hit the comments and let me know if you would be willing to drop money on either a PS3 or another supported Blu-ray player that would work with this 3D concept.

[awsbullet:jaws 3d]