It seemed like my wife and I had just gotten everything settled in our ‘state of the art living room home entertainment center’ (as I like to call it). We had just finished downloading and installing the firmware updates that would let the HDMI output from our Blu-ray player handshake with the rest of the system. We had just made peace with Blu-ray’s long load times. We had fought and won the battle to place our surround speakers behind the couch and our subwoofer next to the potted plant. We had just made ourselves a nice sandwich with all the fixings (ham and swiss with lettuce, tomato and mayo for me – a classic Reuben for her). The lights were low, the kids were out of the house and it was Blu-ray time.
And then like a phone call from your annoying Aunt in Long Island came the shocking news – there’s a new Blu-ray format! Oh for the love of – slam the sandwich down! Turn off the lights! We’re obsolete! Better start crow-barring the TV off the wall.
Yes, Blu-ray 3D is here – and no amount of “But I just bought X and Y!” will change that. The drumbeat for 3D was already strong, but once it was clear that James Cameron’s tale of giant blue Native Americans from another galaxy would make more money than the gross national product of Uruguay, it became a rock-solid inevitability. And of course there are teeming armies of young people accustomed to seeing there Miley Cyrus’ and Jonas Brothers in glorious 3D in the theater. Deny them that same experience at home and they’ll text you to death.
Perhaps the most important question to ask ourselves before making the upgrade is, “How dorky are those sunglasses, anyway?” Remember the dorkiest kid in grade school? The one that picked his nose until it bled and then swallowed it all? Remember his glasses? Now multiply the dorkiness 10 times. 3D glasses are that dorky. The only other battery-powered glasses you’re likely to see are the gag ones with windshield wipers on the front. But it is simply an unavoidable liability, the price we must pay for being on the edge of technology. Have you read any 3D TV reviews? They all mention the glasses because they are impossible to ignore. And, yet, if you get one glimpse of LeBron James hitting a game winner in 3D from the comfort of your couch, you’ll deal with them. Trust me.
Another question to ponder: “Is 3D for me?” Good question. Tests have shown that while the overwhelming majority thoroughly enjoy 3D TV, some only want the experience occasionally. But, more importantly, 3D developers have discovered that young people love it, while old people think the colors are a little too rich and immersive. Young people loving something equals that something advancing in the economy. Sorry, old-timers.
Regardless, the odds are that if you’ve gotten this far in the article you’re in the majority that want the 3D home theater experience. Also, if you’ve gotten this far, you’re probably saying “All right, all right, you’ve sold me… but do I really have the money?” Read any 3D TV review and it’s hard not to ignore the price of the next big thing in technology. The ‘next big thing in technology’ often are pricey but that doesn’t mean they’re impossible to afford. So, yes, you have to buy a new TV. But what if I told you that you could watch Monsters and Aliens in 3D while in your underwear? “I’m listening.” you say. And that soon you’ll be able to play 3D video games and view 3D photos on your TV? “Done and done!” you scream, reaching for you credit card.
Can we just ride it out, just hunker down with our regular old Blu-ray and wait until the next format rolls into town? Sadly, no. Time to put down the sandwich, ship the old TV to your Aunt in Long Island, and start shopping. Because, at hard as this is to believe, after 3D, the next new format might be a long ways away.