Wednesday, January 27

3D or not 3D, that is the question.

Six years ago, for my sins, I spent a few months looking after Saudi Aramco's 3D projection theatre. This was quite an impressive installation, with an eight by four-and-a-half metre glass bead screen, twin Barco video projectors (shooting through +/- 45-degree polarisers) and Dolby 5.1 surround sound. And an endless supply of polarising spectacles: plastic frames for VIPs, cardboard for the general public.

From a good central seat in the auditorium (and only from there) the total experience of 3D vision and surround sound was very impressive. So much so that it took a considerable effort of will to refrain from dodging flying rock fragments in the wake of the mighty drill...

So, will I be rushing out to buy a 3D TV for my own home? Not a chance. Even if the format war were over (after all, only one of the competing solutions has a future, and it doesn't involve glasses, active or passive!) the answer would still be no.

This small jury of one is still out, even on the value of surround sound in the domestic environment - except in ideal conditions (read non-domestic) it is usually more of an irritation than a boon. But when it comes to 3D TV, my interest in it is purely as a technologist. Of course it presents fascinating challenges. Of course it is yet another seed for inventiveness and ingenuity. But would I want to sit in front of one (just a fraction closer, sir, and try to keep your head very still!) - sorry, not my cup of tea.

And that's not even to think about what else I could do with that much disposable cash!