The latest Avatar movie directed by James Cameron has quickly earned over a billion of dollars and become one of the most popular movies in history. But, in addition to being a revolutionary movie, Avatar may also become a key “killer app” for the emerging stereoscopic HDTV industry.
“HDTV never had a ‘killer app’ and has consequently taken a decade to gain any real traction – and even then, it is been largely a result of rapidly falling prices and last year’s switch to digital. Avatar, however, has clearly presented consumers – and the industry at large – with a compelling case for going 3D,” said Alex Perilla-Gayle, director of consumer insights at Zpryme market research and consulting firm.
According to Zpryme, 3D HDTV could not have a have a better killer app than Avatar 3D. Based on overall consumer and industry excitement, it is clear that 3D is here to stay this time around, the market research firm claims, and based on the success of Avatar, 3D HDTV adoption seems set to mirror, if not exceed, that of HDTV.
Even though Avatar seems to be the title that drove huge amount of interest towards stereoscopic 3D theaters, its effect on popularity of 3D HDTVs should not be overestimated. In fact, the first Blu-ray edition of Avatar will be in traditional 2D format and only the second edition will feature 3D and will be available on when there are enough 3D HDTVs.
“There is plenty for a value-added DVD experience on this film. Of course, we will have to go punch it all up and get it all mixed and stuff like that. […] Probably, the initial Blu-ray release of Avatar will not be in 3D and then a subsequent release will be in 3D, that is my guess right now. So we will probably put out a disk in six or eight months, let’s call it six months, and then after that we will have a 3D disc when there are enough sets available,” said James Cameron in interview with MTV.
It is doubtful that Avatar will be the "killer app" for 3D HDTV, instead, it will be one of many examples of high-quality stereoscopic 3D. Considering the fact that people will need time to learn how to shoot proper 3D movies and make sufficient amount of them, it is unlikely that there will be a critical mass of 3D content available in the next couple of years to catalyze many to upgrade to stereo 3D HDTV and stereo 3D Blu-ray player. As a result, the emerging stereo 3D HDTV industry will face a typical “chicken and egg” scenario that will be further complicated by different stereoscopic 3D technologies, necessity to wear glasses and variable experience. To make the matters even more complicated, many TV companies are working on ultra high-definition standards, which also require new equipment.
All in all, while there is clear interest towards stereoscopic 3D at home, Discovery, ESPN, DirectTV and HDNET have all announced plans to launch 3D networks, it will take a lot of time till stereoscopic 3D becomes a standard for home entertainment. The good news here is that the buzz about stereo 3D is increasing already.