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Dreaming in 3D (TV)

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When I was about 11 years old, we got our first color television. It was a big deal (and a big TV). The 25-inch console TV became the focal point of our living room. Dad engrossed himself in the newly colorful splendor of Bonanza, and for me, when The Wizard of Oz magically morphed from black and white to the saturated colors of Oz, I no longer had to imagine the ruby slippers; the green of the Emerald City. They were real. Television series, too, took on added dimension and the NBC peacock flashed its rainbow-like paintbrush tail feathers at the start of every episode of every series.

Every few years since then, innovations altered the TV picture, giving us more, bigger, and better—sharper pictures, bigger screens, multi-channel sound capabilities, and more input/output ports than even the most ardent A/V club member could have hoped for 10 years ago. But now comes the latest and advance, and one with perhaps the most potential: 3D TV.

In the not so distant past, you had to venture to the local IMAX theater or Disneyworld to experience 3D media at its best. High definition TV presents a great home theater 3D simulation; I’m still wowed watching those great National Geographic TV specials and blockbuster movies on my rather modest high defnition TV. But 3D brings (as it were) an entirely new dimension to the home viewing experience. And the experience is as near as your remote control and “active shutter” 3D glasses.

The lure of 3D viewing is that it immerses you right into the action, whether you’re in the IMAX, a conventional movie theater or your own living room recliner. The classic out-of-control train barreling through the screen and into your lap is what you might think of when imagining the 3D experience, paper red and green lensed glasses propped shakily on your nose.

But with 21st Century technology, the experience isn’t restricted to shock-value moments. Playing, watching, listening is a totally immersive experience whether you’re playing a video game, virtually attending a sporting event or watching a movie.

Imagine yourself in the cockpit of a racer—not a NASCAR special, but a rocket-powered single seater space racer in Wipeout 3D. Put on your goggles… er…electronic 3D glasses and press the accelerate button. Zoooom. I tried this game in 3D, and although I’m not much of a race game fan, I must admit I got hooked on careening my rocket car through tunnels, wicked banked curves and straightaways. The experience was incredibly realistic; it puts an entirely new take on virtual reality gaming without all the usual araphernalia necessary for VR simulations.

As we move toward 2011, there still have been relatively few movies created specifically with 3D in mind. Animated features like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Monsters vs. Aliens were filmed using 3D technology; many others have been adapted. But many more 3D-captured movies are certainly on the horizon (and in production). I had a chance to preview 3D trailers for Resident Evil: Afterlife and the forthcoming The Green Hornet; both are live-action features created especially for 3D viewing. The experience of watching them on a 60-inch HD/3D television has a “wow” factor, that hasn’t been much experienced in a home theatre setting.

What does the future hold? What might you want to experience in 3D? Me, I’d like to imagine myself at the helm of the Starship Enterprise, playing a simulation of the Kobayshi maneuver. But hey, that’s just me. Our BC writers have decided to share with you their own 3D wish lists. So join us as Blogcritics writers take on 3D: as it is and as it might be—dreaming in 3D (TV).

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.
  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jeromewetzeltv/ Jerome Wetzel

    Oooo, the Kobayashi Maru would be cool. I, for one, am waiting for the holodecks. I doubt I’ll live to see a platform where you can interact with solid figures, like in Star Trek, but an immersive 3-D experience, surrounding you, and without glasses, can’t be too far off.