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When Does Technology Stop Giving Us Opportunities And Instead Start Becoming A Distraction?

JK Evanczuk / Monday, November 16, 2009 Comments Off

The JetsonsThe Guardian‘s Vicky Frost thinks 3D television might not do well because the cardboard glasses you have to wear look goofy. And because strapping those red-and-blue suckers onto your face is a pain. And, yes, she’s right on both counts. But I think the main reason 3D TV won’t do well is because–even if we develop the technology to enjoy 3D TV without the glasses–it’s just not necessary.

These days, pretty much everything we can possibly imagine, we can create.  So of course we’re going to try out new digital methods in storytelling, especially if there’s money to be made and there are television studio executives behind it. But just how much innovation is too much? At what point does technology stop giving us opportunities and instead start becoming a distraction?

I’m all for innovation. I like reading microfiction on Twitter, and I like unconventional things like miniature micro-music mixtape magazines. And even though I prefer paperbound books at this point in my life, I think digital readers like the Kindle and the Nook are dead useful, and once the technology becomes more affordable, I’ll probably jump on the bandwagon. I can also see how 3D cinema might be a good idea, because film is a slightly different and more flexible medium.

But 3D TV just seems so gimmicky to me. And more importantly, gratuitous. Do I really need to see the three-dimensional, ravaged body of Detectives Benson and Stabler’s most recent rape victim on Law & Order: SVU? Or would the jokes on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia be any funnier each week in 3D? (Although I will admit: shows like Glee would be much more introducing to watch in 3D, purely for the choreography…but then again, musical dramedies aren’t the norm on television.)

Maybe I’m missing something here. Maybe this is a sort of black-and-white-versus-color-television situation–you don’t think it’s necessary, until you get it and then wonder how you ever lived without it. But is this really the case with 3D TV? And if it is, what’s next? Will I be able to touch the sets? Smell a character’s perfume? Taste what they’re eating for breakfast? And remind me again: how would any of this actually improve the story?

I could ramble on about this, but instead I’d rather hear from you: what do you think of 3D TV? Do you think there really is a point at which technology begins to overshadow the art it’s supposed to complement?

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More: Rants / TV
  • Andrew

    Terrible idea. I hate – HATE – all of those 3D movies they have in theaters. I saw Harry Potter in 3D in IMAX and it was retarded. The colors were off, nothing was in proper focus, I would have much rathered it just be in plain ol’ 2D – Thank God only a few scenes were actually in 3D. I also watched Coraline at home in 3D – and that was even … Read MoreWORSE. I had a headache, about 30min through I had to switch it over to 2D. It was a technicolor, out of focus nighmare.

    Until they perfect (and I mean perfect) this 3D garbage, keep everything in 2D.

  • Liz

    Well unlike Andrew…I really enjoy some 3D movies like Coraline (avatar will be awesome btws

    However, why the hell would you want a 3D tv? For some of the reasons you already cited, I think 3D tv would dumb.

    No seriously.

    1) I can’t imagine most of my shows currently on TV because a) the story doesn’t make sense in 3D. b)even the most hi-tech shows are graphically subpar. The 3D would only emphasize that.

    2) I don’t think networks will invest in making their shows 3D it will blow up budgets and at that point…it’s called a movie stupid.

    3) 3D is made for a big wide screen so you can experience it.That’s why I saw Coraline at the Ziegfeld (giant screen) or HP is best in Imax 3D (though I think HP5 in imax 3D > hp6 in imax 3D). Additionally, not everyone likes, or can afford a giant screen tv.

    So I say NO to THREE DEE TEE VEE

  • Alex Lam

    3D technology is not refined enough to make it on the small screen and as you said, is just… totally pointless. As for the possibilities of television’s future – engaging the remaining senses in the experience of the program seems to defeat the original purpose of relaxing and vegging out in front of your TV set. I can’t imagine coming home from a long day, plopping on my couch and smelling Charlie Kelly. He’s funnier without the BO that I assume he has.

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