I had an inkling last month that 3-D was going to be big at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but I've still been stunned by the flurry of announcements related to this unproven third dimension of home theater entertainment.
Though it's very likely that 3-D is certainly what's next after HD in terms of what we'll be watching at home (with estimates of $22 billion in revenue by 2018), I didn't expect it to be out of the gate so quickly, especially after what I saw last summer at the SID Displays Conference in San Antonio. At that time, the 3-D HDTVs on hand seemed half-baked, especially the ones that tried to do away with the clunky glasses we'll have to learn to live with in the next few years.
But that's not stopping companies like Sony and Panasonic from rushing 3-D-compatible Blu-ray players and big-screen TVs to market. Will your current HDTV be able to display this exciting new HD content? Probably not.
While the monster success of Avatar in theaters is probably giving the consumer electronics industry a big Red Bull-sized burst of energy to push these new 3-D formats, I wonder if tech companies are pushing too hard, too quickly. In addition to the cost and inconvenience 3-D glasses will bring to the home viewing experience, there's also the matter of competing formats (Blu-ray versus HD-DVD, anyone?) and everything from having to buy a new screen to even new HDMI cables.
Like my friend, blogger Bill Harris, I'm not convinced 3-D is going to be such an obvious sell to actual shoppers. Even with 3-D TV channels and mounds of hardware flooding the market, I have a feeling the switch to 3-D might be even more problematic and headache-inducing (in multiple ways) than the move to HD.
Will you take a wait-and-see approach or are you as dubious as I am that 3-D is going to hit our homes in anything but a rough, unfinished form in 2010? Post in the comments after taking a look at the video below of what companies like Sony want you to believe about 3-D: