3D will go mainstream this summer

6 May 2010

I think we are finally tiring of this era of on-demand, and often, free entertainment; the instant satisfaction of having entire albums on your iPod literally minutes after they are released or, in the case of pirated content on the web, having movies before they are actually released. But worry not, 3D has come to save the day.

In the Fifties and Sixties our parents and grandparents had Sputnik, the moon landing, Buck Rogers and the general sense that an exotic new science-fiction reality was unfolding before their eyes.

Now it seems as though the retro 3D film experience, which was part of this, has come full circle. Looking fondly to the past and applying new techniques to old ideas is quite appealing. Perhaps this is why three-dimensional home entertainment has come at just the right time in the summer of 2010; technology has caught up with the dinosaurs, monsters and fantastical creatures leaping from our movie screens.

A feast for the senses

In preparation for this visual feast we have flocked to the cinema to experience the next generation of 3D on the big screen – an outstanding example of which was James Cameron’s Avatar. Not so hot on the storyline but it got us immersed, lost in fact, in a whole new world.

As these movies continue to be made – and with pirates lacking the technology to pirate it – the cinema is coming back into its own and we are experiencing a new wave of entertainment buoyed by nostalgia of those cardboard and cellophane glasses that thrilled us as children.

The difference is that, this time, 3D is much more capable, much more advanced and has applications outside the Hollywood movie. For starters, Sony and Samsung have brought 3D television sets and Blu-ray players to Irish homes. These TV sets are not just a new way of making monsters jump from the screen; they are opening up a new sports entertainment market, too.

With Sky 3D coming on-stream we can expect to see Premier League action from the couch with new depth and new angles that were previously impossible. In fact, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment says it has plans to release the official 3D FIFA World Cup film on Blu-ray 3D at some point this year.

3D games market

Added to this is the 3D games market: Sony is already bringing a 3D update to its PlayStation 3 console and games such as ‘Wipeout HD’ and ‘Motorstorm Pacific Rift’ are adding a new dimension to this.

In fact, the first ever 3D Gaming Summit was held this April and as long as games are built from the ground up using this technology rather than rendering existing ones in 3D this is a huge market, and one that looks set to make a lot of money.

Even Google has got in on the 3D scene, a sure sign that it is the way of the future. The internet giant purchased Canadian start-up BumpTop – a company that has been producing a desktop to overlay Windows or Mac with a three-dimensional feel to your applications, which can be stacked and moved around inside a ‘desktop box’.

We are yet to find out what Google plans to do with this technology but it is a sure sign that 3D will be influencing not just the way we are entertained in the next few years but also the way we work and use computing devices.

By Marie Boran