The arrival of 3D television marks a major step forward in the evolution of home entertainment. It creates an environment that is more immersive than anything 2D television has to offer and I will not be surprised if it catches on relatively quickly.
I demoed a Sony TV with the required glasses and was amazed. Its depth perception allows the viewer to examine details of an image from every angle. That’s not possible in 2D. It forms the gateway from viewing to participation. And come to think of it, participation is where it’s at.
Imagine the video game Call Of Duty in 3D. Now you are the soldier and you are immersed in that environment, removing you from the couch and putting you on the battlefield. That’s pretty exciting.
And these visual advances bode well for sound……
I’ve been eager to see the adaptation of audio surround by consumers for years. In anticipation, I’d set up my own system at home to critically examine surround mixed DVDs and broadcast programs. When Protools released its 5.1 version software, we engineers thought the age of surround was upon us. Except it wasn’t.
Unfortunately, after the release of Protools 5.1, there was no sudden jump in requests for surround mixes. Despite the push by networks to broadcast in HD and with surround capability, this was the reality we faced. I suspect clients weren’t eager to spend the additional money for a 5.1 mix when the technology hadn’t been fully embraced by the consumer. Among the obstacles to adaptation, you needed enough space for a proper listening environment, you needed to get through the complex signal patching and worst of all-especially for dedicated mixers-most people wouldn’t even notice the difference.
Most consumers have, at best, a vague notion of what surround is. So the hapless consumer who’s purchased his system will stack all the speakers up front, connect them together and wonder why it doesn’t sound right.
With the advent of very good quality 3D television, true demand for surround sound and the need to get home audio systems set up correctly should emerge. After all, 3D visuals beckon us to venture beyond the living room and surround sound makes the experience more complete for the goal of the mix is to make the make believe world of 3D more believable. If you think TV in 2D high def is cool, just wait. This is a giant step towards the rabbit hole and we audio engineers will help pave the route. And as we continue to improve ways to create a totally immersive experience for the viewer, the viewer will hopefully not be satisfied with stereo. This advance leads us to conquer the next sense. Perhaps it could be the nose. Anyone for smell-o-vision?