Every week Gizmodo and Engadget list off a new selection of 3D-ready HDTVs hitting the market, and the price is slowly starting to drop to where customers might actually consider buying them. Then, last week both Panasonic and Sony announced a new line of home tuners and DVRs, compatible with cable and satellite signals, that are capable of playing and recording 3D.
The Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming device, which doesn't require 3D glasses, will launch in September. And this week a company by the name of Rockchip showed off a 3D tablet PC that also won't require glasses.
Glasses for 3D TVs are expensive by comparison, and buying a single high-end pair can cost over $100. Buying glasses for the whole family can cost $500 or more, and if you want to have some extras so your buddies can watch sports in 3D then you have to buy more pairs.
Perhaps sensing that the glasses issue would be annoying to families, Toshiba announced a line of glasses-free 3D televisions which should hit stores sometime this year. But, being the first generation, consumers can expect the televisions to cost thousands of dollars.
The entertainment industry has obviously seized on 3D as the next big thing and is pouring millions of dollars into researching newer and better ways to deliver a 3D experience. (Money that could probably be better spent on delivering better entertainment rather than more crap that happens to be in HD and 3D - in my humble opinion.)
As exciting as all of this is, my advice to consumers is to wait. Don't rush in, because you'll probably regret it. Here's why:
Right now, the industry has not adopted an actual 3D standard for televisions or even a delivery system, so there's a chance you might end up with the wrong thing. Plus, there aren't a lot of channels broadcasting in 3D because of the bandwidth requirements, although that's slowly starting to change. Sports are driving the industry right now and the Discovery Channel and others are following suit. A growing number of movies are being created for 3D, or having 3D added in post-production.
But that's about it. The majority of shows and networks will continue to broadcast in 2D for a long, long time. Most of the time there's no point.
While I like the idea of being able to watch the occasional 3D movie from the couch there's really no point to making 3D like cooking shows and late night talk shows where things aren't flying out at you every five seconds.
The truth is that 3D is a sometimes headache- and nausea-inducing gimmick that only really works in a few situations (and doesn't work for all people), and the technology just doesn't have the market share right now to usher in a revolution.