Streaming TV, not 3D is the ‘Next Big Thing’

Tempted to buy a 3-D telly? Didn’t think so. If the HD “revolution” was a study in hype, the pile of whatever being shoveled upon us re: 3DTV is beyond belief. Who, other than a desperate and dying content delivery industry would try to get anyone to believe that wearing glasses and watching objects fly into your face is desirable, much less necessary. At least HD TV was a big step up in the quality of the viewing experience. 3D is still, and will always be, just a “special effect” (and not always a very good one at that). In fact, when I visited the Panasonic booth at a recent trade show, what did the model on the 3D set do when I looked into the monitor? She picked up a glass and reached towards the camera. Like wow. The glass looked like it was really coming towards me … I “marveled” for 10 seconds, then moved on and spent a half hour talking to a rep about the AF-100, micro four-thirds camera. Now there’s something to write home about (in another post some day). The moral: 3D TV is just a carnival sideshow act. There are better things to spend money on. Like the Apple TV.

Despite what television manufacturers want to believe … the Next Big Thing in TV is where the content comes from, not how it is displayed.

Wouldn’t it be nice to access music and video content on any device at any time? That’s the promise of streaming. Subscribe to your favorite shows. Rent movies. Access a music library online. Streaming frees us from managing bits, storing plastic and converting formats. Apple’s proven that coupling good content with cool technology and a sound business model equals mass appeal. It will be interesting to see if the new Apple TV fulfills streaming’s promise — and cracks the mass market for digital content. (No glasses required.)

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Update: 22-Oct. Panasonic announced specs and availably this week for the new AF-100 camera. It sounds like a dream come true for video shooters, except for one big thing: the micro four-thirds sensor has a crop factor of 2X. This means that your 50mm normal lens becomes in effect a 100mm telephoto. For many this may be a deal breaker. I’m looking forward to the reviews as people start using this camera en masse after its late Dec. release. However, I lament in the meantime …