Chesapeake Home Theatre & Hi-Fi

Larry Dent is the owner of Chesapeake Home Theatre & Hi-Fi.

These articles were written for the Islander Weekly.

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Larry's Tech Talk

3D?? You gotta be kiddin’ me!

So, what’s new in home entertainment? You have audio and you have video, what could be simpler? On the audio side, we first had a single signal called monaural (mono). Mono wasn’t bad, then they figured out that 2 separate soundtracks (left and right) gave audio depth (key word here, depth!) and realism. It was called stereo. Now we have surround sound which can have up to as many as 11 separate soundtracks for amazing audio effects. On the video side, we first had black and white, then color video (remember the word “technicolor”?). Then the DVD improved the standard video resolution. And then we were given high definition! What could be better than that? Razor sharp images, brilliant colors all from a device that was maybe 3 or 4 inches thick.

About a year ago TV manufacturers starting shipping 3D high definition TVs. Sales were disappointing, and there wasn’t a whole lot of 3D video available. If you bought one, you purchased a fabulous hi-end 2D TV also capable of 3D video. Life on the “bleeding edge”! But really, what’s the big deal? Will 3D really catch on? And what’s with those glasses?

Kind of like our old friend 2 track stereo, 3D video is produced with 2 lens cameras giving images depth. And yes, at least for now, you have to wear special glasses to experience the third dimension. Hollywood is not exactly jumping in the 3D ocean. But they are maybe getting their toes wet. The NFL aired a playoff game in 3D this past season. One of the satellite video services has one channel with 3D programming. So what’s it going to take to make 3D video mainstream?

It’s hard to talk about technology without offering an opinion. And here comes one. 3D will catch on when the glasses go away. I’ve read that in 2 to 5 years that will happen. Manufacturers are working with surfaces on the front of the TV that will work like 3D glasses do now. And of course Hollywood will have to embrace the “depth” dimension. If NFL games are produced in 3D, count on it becoming mainstream. To be honest, I have not sat through an entire 3D movie. But I have seen 3D demo videos, and yes, 3D is for real.

You will need a 3D capable TV, and a source that produces 3D. The source could be a 3D BluRay player or a cable or satellite signal. Oops, your monthly video bill just went up! Don’t shoot! I’m just the messenger! Imagine Ray Lewis jumping out of your television and into your Family Room! Or a movie like Jaws in 3D? Nobody will ever get in the water again! Ahh-nold is almost done being a governor, maybe he’ll make a new action movie in 3D?? He said he’d be back! And how about the video game industry? That’s a whole additional market that will explode with 3D.

Don’t feel obsolete, you’re hi-definition 2D TV is still awesome. But, if they figure out how to get rid of the glasses, 3D will happen. I’m not kiddin’!