Who's buying 3DTVs and 3D Blu-ray players? People who watched 3D movies in theaters, then want to re-live the experience at home. So why are the top movies, like Avatar and Coraline only available as bundles with hardware? What's the deal?
It's a matter of greed. Home theater 3D is still a crawling infant, meaning most of the population still needs to buy hardware. But what's the differentiating factor between Samsung's 3D set and Panasonic's, or even Sony's, if you're a Costco shopper? How can normal people tell the difference between any Blu-ray player that's not the PlayStation 3? It's pretty much impossible, which is why companies' ads don't rely on specs or saying their version does 3D better.
But what they are relying on right now is taking movies hostage in order to force people's hands. Don't believe me? Check this out.
Avatar, the most wanted 3D movie of all time, is only available in a $300 "starter bundle" from Panasonic that includes two rechargeable 3D glasses. How to Train Your Dragon is in a "starter kit" from Samsung for $280, which includes two 3D active shutter glasses. What happens if you already have one type of TV and just want the other type of movie? Looks like you get two pair of glasses that you can't use on your set.
There's also Shrek and Monsters vs. Aliens, which your kids will ask you for, because they're kids, and they want to see their movies in 3D. Because they're kids. Kids who don't know the value of $300.
So what if you go on eBay and try to get some scalped Avatar action? Oh hello, I'm out $150 for a $30 movie. Thanks jerks!
It gets worse. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Coraline are only available if you buy a Panasonic 3DTV. A TeeVee! And Bolt, which I'm sure is a fine dog movie in the realm of dog movies, is only gettable with Sony TVs. Same with Michael Jackson's This Is It.
Retailers are also getting in on the exclusivity. My Bloody Valentine and The Last Airbender are Best Buy exclusives, whereas Amazon has some IMAX movies locked down. This, of course, is much less of a big deal, because Best Buy's movies work just fine on any player.
The good news is that some of these seem to be timed exclusives. Alice in Wonderland was the same $300ish dollars if you bought the pack, but is now available for separate purchase. And there are a number of less desirable (apparently?) titles like Resident Evil, The Polar Express, Step Up 3D and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs that the manufacturers didn't think would entice anybody to spend $300 on.
Point being, manufacturers seem to have their heads up each other's asses on this one. If you want people to get on board your 3D train, don't make content for it so hard to get! Imagine the scenario where you could only watch NBC's 3D channel if you had a Samsung TV, then had to get a separate set entirely for ABC's 3D content. Who's going to throw down a couple thousand dollars for that scheme?
Gizmodo 3D! We're excited about the potential of entertainment in Three Ds, so this week, we're looking at everything good, bad and absurd about the current state of 3D.