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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

One of the reasons why I'm waiting to buy into 3D television

At E3 today Nintendo head honcho Satoru Iwata unveiled the Nintendo 3DS. This is the latest iteration of its acclaimed DS hardware... and it does games in 3D.

But here's the kicker folks: the Nintendo 3DS pulls off three-dimensional gaming without those funky glasses!

And this highlights the biggest reason why I'm not about to buy into the 3D television "revolution" going on right now (incidentally ESPN's new 3D channel is showing up in the updated listings but it's not only not airing yet, my receiver box is snidely informing me that I need a 3D capable set in order to pick it up at all). This is such a rapidly evolving technology, it makes the least amount of sense to be an early adopter than I've seen with burgeoning new gear ever. Especially given that the glasses needed to enjoy 3D television sets are priced around $150 each.

The cost of the glasses aside, television is much more a casual experience than watching a film in a theater. People don't usually do things like eat dinner and fold laundry while at the local cinema, but they do those things all the time while a TV is going on. Who wants to keep putting the glasses on and taking them off while watching 3D television? And are there going to be enough glasses to go around when friends and family come over for a visit? Do guests get asked to bring their own glasses over for a Super Bowl party?

People by and large won't want to be hassled with things like that. And that's why 3D television isn't going to seriously take off until there is 3D screen technology that doesn't rely on wearing the glasses.

And that, Nintendo and a few other companies are on the cusp of bringing to market. Given the early raves about the 3DS coming out of E3 in Los Angeles, this could be a big factor in encouraging demand for spectacle-less 3D. Hey, Nintendo broke new ground with the Wii, and now Microsoft is rolling out the very promising Kinect for its Xbox 360 console (with Sony to follow suit on its PlayStation 3).

Good money sez that if you ain't plunked coin down for a 3D set yet, you might wanna wait a bit. There promises to be even better stuff in the pipeline and headed to store shelves sooner than later.