Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Latest from CES 2013

For those not familiar, CES, the Consumer Electronics Show is an enormous convention in Las Vegas each January where manufacturers showcase the latest technologies for the upcoming year. While each year the trade journals parade the latest and greatest, the big news this year is what's missing. The headlines this year proclaim "3D is dead," and for me it's no surprise. Perhaps this is why the number of 3D systems Winter Solutions has installed is 0, and here are the reasons why:

  1. The technology is only as good as the content, and 3D doesn't do much to tell the story better. The immersive experience comes primarily from great storytelling combined with the highest quality picture and sound. While 3D may add to that experience when used by a talented filmmaker, much of the 3D content on the market is 2D content that was converted to 3D as a gimmick to increase sales.
  2. 3D can be an incredible experience in an IMAX theater, but the effect is limited if the screen fails to fill your entire field of view. If even a small local theater doesn't cut it, how can your living room TV? Even as common screen sizes reach 60 to 70 inches, they're still not large enough.
  3. Even if the content is available, it has to get to you. 3D requires at least twice the amount of information and today's cable and satellite networks still have limited capacity and Internet connections struggle enough carrying basics from Netflix and Hulu. I can't see providers making 3D a high priority when most of the content  isn't even high-definition. (... and what's the last time you went to Blockbuster to rent a BlueRay DVD?)
  4. 3D isn't for everyone. While this may make this the 2nd article in a row in the "I must be getting old" department, I noticed this issue as an undergrad at Brandeis when I got motion sickness from paying Doom (officially known as the DIMS). I was also so overwhelmed by Avatar that I slept through  two-thirds of it. Teenagers who have grown up with 3D may love it, but they're not the ones making the purchasing decisions.
  5. There's nothing new about 3D. I remember seeing Jaws in 3D as a kid and mother certainly remembers 3D going back 20-30 years before that. It was a short-lived fad then as it clearly is now. 3D  may continue to become a ubiquitous feature of televisions, but apparently most people aren't willing to pay more for it.
Bottom line ... if it's only a few bucks more for 3D, it can't hurt, but unless 3D is important to you, don't worry about leaving it out.

PS The related technology that piques my interest is simultaneous viewing. Imagine ... no more fighting over the remote as two people watch different shows on the same screen and head-to-head gaming without a split screen. The technology is here, it may just be a while before it comes to your TV.

Dovid Winter is Principal Consultant of Winter Solutions and has been providing hands-on IT management services to small-business, non-profit and education since 1986. In addition to custom AV and conference room, Winter Solutions' offers an array of managed IT services. Whether you are looking for assistance with a single project or to outsource your entire IT department, Winter Solutions has a solution to meet your needs. Contact us at 781 821-0000.

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