Two major TV manufacturers announced last week that they’ve stopped making 3-D TVs. You ask: There were 3-D TVs? Sure. But sales were scant; content was thin. Here’s what you could get when the product launched:
• “Cookin’ With Yo-Yos.”
• “The Making of ‘300’: So Many Spears Pointing Out at You.”
• Dramamine Theater’s “Skiing and Roller Coasters.”
Consumers were assured that there’d be plenty of content when more people had sets — and the prices would drop, too! But no one stands in the TV showroom, looking at a house-payment sticker for a TV, thinking, “I’d better take one for the team.”
Life is 3-D. Flat movies are a nice escape.
So what was the problem, besides those little things like price and scant content?
You had to wear special glasses, which made you feel like a dork at home. People are willing to look like dorks communally, if the lights are down and everyone else is bedorked by bad glasses. But at home? They make the dog growl at you.
Also, I’m convinced that people who had a set at home kept putting the special glasses in the garbage pail when the movie was done, since that’s what you do at the movie theater.
Of course, at the theater they’re reused, after a rigorous disinfection process that probably does not consist of a bored teen waving a bottle of Windex at the bin.
So farewell, 3-D — but hello, 4K.
It’s been around for a while, but the prices have come down to the point where you see it at Target and realize, “I’m going to have to buy ‘Star Wars’ again, aren’t I?”
Yes, because it’s awesome! Super-ultra-high-def 4K movies make Blu-Rays look like a 1975 TV smeared with vegetable oil. The detail is overwhelming. Your brain can’t process it fast enough, and it overwrites childhood memories just to free up space.
Consider the movie “Titanic.” Over the years, here’s what you thought:
• In the theater, circa 1997: “That was amazing! My heart was touched, and thanks to Celine Dion’s haunting song, I know my heart will also go on. My heart is touched and ongoing. Boy, that’s as visually impressive as movies will get.”
• On VHS, circa 1999: “Look what I got for movie night, hon ... ‘TITANIC!’ It’s two tapes, that’s how good it is. But since we saw it already, do you mind if we just fast-forward to the iceberg?”
But the spouse said, “No I want to see the part where Jack saves her from jumping because she has to marry a cad, and the part where they dance with the honest ethnic Irish people, and Rose is all like, ‘I knew life could be like this! Doing jigs and meeting a lower-class artist who will support the suffragettes!’ ”
And you replied, “OK. Say, the box says it’s Super VHS! Glad we sprung for that 27-inch TV. What a world of high-tech home entertainment!”
• On DVD: “Gah, I’ve seen this movie four times, but this time it’ll be ... crisper, I guess. And I can skip all the old-lady modern scenes and cut right to everyone going nuts and drowning and screaming. Just look at this — I’ve never seen the FBI warning look so sharp.”
• On Blu-ray: “It’s astonishing how you can see the texture of the fabric in the dress of that woman who just lost her grip and slid down the deck, screaming, while a haunting song played in surround sound. You know, I’ve bought this movie four times, but this is the only one where I can really see the tiny wrinkles on Old Rose’s face. On VHS you just saw the major wrinkles.”
But the spouse said: “Shut up! This is the sad part.”
“Oh, it’s all the sad part. It’s frickin’ ‘Titanic.’ I’m just saying that on DVD you could see how the skin tones blended around the major wrinkles.”
• 4K: “I can see inside Kate Winslet’s mitochondria. Really, it’s that good. And there’s lots of content. Netflix has a 4K option, and one of the series about the Medici might as well be called “Holy Crow! Look at Dustin Hoffman’s Nostril Hair.” It can’t get any better.”
In three years I will be raving about 6K 3-D, so if everyone could just forget this piece and burn all copies, I’d be grateful.