Could 3D TV really be the future? The recent spate of films using the technology indicates it may be so. According to website Film-Release, 22 films will be shown in 3D between now and 2011’s New Year celebrations. They include Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Shrek Forever After, Saw VII and, err, Jackass. The little I have seen of MTV’s prank show indicates that a 3D version of Jackass will be like seeing your parents having sex. You will calmly shut the cinema door, fall into the nearest seat and wonder whether life is still worth living.
My favourite aspect of the 3D revolution is the relentless pushing of the format from broadcasters. Avatar, which has now become the largest-grossing film of all time, set the bandwagon on its merry way, before Sky Sports jumped on at the next stop to offer sporting occasions in three glorious dimensions.
A series of advertisements blanketed the nation’s commercial channels and bus stops. Featuring an array of screaming football fans, wide-eyed and delighted, it could have been a powerful tool to spread the 3D word. Unfortunately, technology hasn’t evolved far enough to eradicate the need for stupid headwear, or to give them their full title, “active glasses”.
According to The New York Times, “As you watch the video, the display shows one side of the image, then the other in rapid succession. The glasses sync up with the image, alternately darkening over one eye. In this way, the display presents a different perspective for each eye. This allows you to walk around the room and still get a fairly good 3D effect”. Forget the jargon, the glasses make you look like a total prick, especially if you are wearing them just to see Alex Ferguson’s ejected chewing gum hurtle to the floor in 3D.
Consumers will have to buy a new 3D TV, a 3D DVD BluRay player and a pair of the active glasses just to see a lifelike approximation of Ready Steady Cook. Some pubs are predicting the new industry will be big business, spending now to hopefully recoup any outlay quickly. The Northampton Chronicle & Echo reports that Barratts Club is one of about a thousand pubs to have signed up to the new format, with a further five Premier League matches in 3D before the end of the current season.
Manager Matthew McInerney said: “We want our customers to be the first to experience the world’s premier football clubs battle it out in 3D. We are getting ready for an exciting match, probably the biggest of the Premier League season.” The game he is referring to is Man Utd v Chelsea. With watching lifelike imitations of football matches in pubs becoming an ever more realistic probability, I picture a dystopian future of barren football stadia, while fans crowd the local Piss & Bollock to watch the game gratis.
World Cup 2010 in South Africa will be the first major event to be shown in full 3D, with ESPN starting an exclusively 3D channel next year as well as Sky. Moore’s Law states that every eighteen months, technology becomes half as expensive, double in capacity or half as small. In theory, this means that by 2020, 3D will be considered normal. But until then, should there ever come a revolution in this country, the bourgeoisie will be as easily identifiable as ever. Just ram-raid Sky’s offices and send a hit squad round to every home subscribing to the new 3D channel. That’ll round up the rich and powerful quicker than taking a Michelin-starred restaurant hostage on a busy Friday night.
3D films have been around in some form since the 1950s, but it is only in the past year that it has taken off. The ‘next level’, which everyone will be so pant-pissingly excited about, is a system without the need to wear glasses. This would be an autostereoscopic system (a term which was on the tip of my tongue before I Googled it) and is in the pipeline.
Channel 4 even boasted a few months back that The Paul O’Grady Show would be the first programme to be shown on 3D for the terrestrial channel. This comes as a surprise, as Channel 4 aren’t the quickest to adopt new trends. Supernanny, Big Brother and Wife Swap all constitute a lack of imagination and the news that the most exciting thing they could find to broadcast in 3D for the first time was a Scouse cross-dresser talking about his dog, tells you all you need to know.
I once thought the only reason we would be walking around with silly tinted glasses on our heads would be due to a dangerous solar explosion. Apparently, this won’t be necessary, as we have fallen hook, line and sinker for the argument that witnessing Paul O’Grady read fan-mail from dotty housewives as if he is actually in the room beside you is the epitome of cool.