Technology advances at a frenetic pace. Just a few years ago the idea of high definition in your living room was a pipe dream for all but the super rich. Today you can go to Target and buy a decent sized HDTV for a few hundred dollars. While HD was taking homes by storm, an old technology was being revamped in an effort to entice audiences back to movie theaters. 3-D had already enjoyed a few haydays in the past, but with James Cameron promising game changing visuals from his decade-long passion project, others started to follow suit. As with any technology, the drive to make it smaller and more affordable has lead to 3-D TV, and since any display format needs content, 3-D Blu-ray has emerged as well.
As of this moment, there are only a handful of 3-D Blu-rays available. They require both a 3-D Blu-ray player to play the discs as well a 3-D TV to display the picture. So far, all currently available 3DTV's in the US also require you to wear 3-D glasses to see the 3-D effect, though prototypes of sets that don't use glasses are on the horizon (see images after the jump). As of Monday, the 3-D Blu-rays that you could buy were all animated, including the surprisingly funny and heartwarming 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.' But Tuesday, Best Buy scored the exclusive release of the first live-action film to hit 3-D Blu-ray here in the US, the 2009 horror remake 'My Bloody Valentine.'
While the previously released Blu-ray included a 3-D version of the film, it was the older anaglyph style of 3-D using the cheap red/blue glasses. Some people find watching that type of 3-D at home painful, though I personally thought it was OK. Either way, the new 3-D Blu-ray utilizes the new polarized 3-D process so you can watch the movie at home the same way it was released in theaters. The disc includes a full 1080p 3-D transfer as well as a DTS-HD MA 7.1 sound mix. Extras aren't listed but most likely mirror the previous Blu-ray release. Best Buy is listing the 3-D Blu-ray for $34.95.
Pictured: Toshiba just unveiled their GL1 series of glasses-less 3D televisions
Obviously, the question of whether or not this will take off remains. Are people interested in buying a new TV and Blu-ray so they can watch 3-D at home? Will the glasses be a sticking point? As with many things, content will probably play a big role in the format's future. While 'My Bloody Valentine' is the first, it probably won't make a lot of people switch, but if other live-action 3-D films follow it could turn the tide.
Currently, the next live-action film scheduled to hit the format is 'Clash of the Titans,' a film that was converted to 3-D in post and subsequently derided for being a sub-par theatrical 3-D experience. It will be interesting to see whether or not the problems that plagued the theatrical version will be duplicated on the 3-D Blu-ray. Clearly, the title on everyone's mind is 'Avatar.' Cameron's epic film is slated for a new Blu-ray release on November 16, the same day as 'Clash' in 3-D.
The new 'Avatar' Blu-ray is not 3-D, but it is a massive 3-disc collector's edition, including both the re-release cut of the film as well as a new extended cut alongside the theatrical version. It's the second Blu-ray edition of 'Avatar' to come out, and there's already been word of a 3-D version to be released sometime next year. What do you think? Will the impending release of 'Avatar' on 3-D Blu-ray be the format's killer app like the film was for 3-D theatrical releases?