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3D Will Never “Save” the Movie Theater Business February 14, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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There’s a throwaway graf in an otherwise solid Wall Street Journal story about the showdown between 3D concert movies from U2 and Hannah Montana that really bugs me:

    The situation underscores the challenges of 3-D technology. The industry is touting 3-D as its best shot at combating increasingly sophisticated home-theater systems.

I sure hope it’s the reporter, and not the industry, that thinks 3D is the best shot. Until they pass out individual headsets that generate the picture — not goggles — in theaters, a single-user device will always deliver a better 3D experience. Really great 3D depends on a single focus point. If you have a lot of people in a big room looking at the same source from different angles, you’ll only ever get mediocre 3D effects. If there’s a real demand for 3D movies, a home system would ultimately be able to deliver it better.

It’s no coincidence that the Hannah Montana 3D concert movie is what we’re talking about. A concert is a much better experience when you can share it with a big group. (Horror movies and comedies often work that way, too). The way for cinemas to combat home theaters is to make the group experience better, and accentuate the fact that going out to the movies is going out to the movies.

Mark Cuban, who knows a thing or two about movies, entertainment, and technology lays it out here. Note that a commenter calls 3D the solution, not Cuban.

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