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3-D TV 2009 – Feh!

OK, after the recent onslaught of 3-D TV demos at International CES, the much-hyped airing of a 3-D ad during the Super Bowl and the second season, second semester debut of NBC’s “Chuck” in 3-D Monday night, my opinion of 3-D TV 2009 is, frankly, feh (to quote my Yiddish-speaking friends).

The expression can have several meanings depending on the context, so to be clearer, I mean — “So what, who cares? Enough already.”

I know these are troubled times for the world, and the CE industry could really use some new high-tech wizardry to put a little sizzle back in the DTV steak, but 3-D TV?

Even in 1080p it’s just a really high-resolution stereoscopic gimmick.

3-D TV systems are supposed to have some useful properties for medical applications and, perhaps, flight simulation, although it’s beyond me to figure out how.

For entertainment purposes I think this is a potentially really expensive fad that we’ll all have a good laugh about when we wake up in the morning. (Has anyone seen where I left my Nehru jacket?)

Sunday’s Super Bowl commercial for Dreamwork’s “Monsters Vs. Aliens” was short enough to be harmlessly distracting. Watching the whole IMAX 3-D feature film, however, sounds like a fun night in Gitmo.

The “Chuck” episode for a full half hour was, to my mind, annoying, especially when viewing images without the required amber- and blue-lens cardboard glasses.

(Where are the fashion police when you need them?)

Both productions, by the way, used technology developed by ColorCode 3-D Center employing a new anaglyph format to enable any TV to render accurate 3-D colors when viewed through amber-blue lenses.

Despite the fact the show was hyped as being perfectly viewable without the glasses, everything had a weird amber shadow and the colors were all out of skew to the naked eye. Explain to me again why I bought an HDTV?

Even as a kid going to 3-D movies, looking at 3-D picture postcards or scanning 3-D slides on my View-Master (OK, I’m going back to the nursing home now) the whole stereoscopic illusion thing has been an exercise in short-attention-span torture.

At CES, I viewed a number of approaches, all vying for a supposed 3-D standard for home-entertainment applications. Here’s my advice to CE companies slashing budgets — ditch the cheesy stereoscopic gimmicks that date back to the 1800s.

For 3-D to be compelling, it has to really jump out at you.

Remember holography?

I know the implementations back in the 70s left a lot to be desired, but that was a technology with some sizzle, even in its rudimentary forms. And I didn’t have to look like Mr. Peepers when I watched it. Wake me when you’ve got a Holodeck.