With the shift of television hardware to supporting 4K resolutions, it seems we are also seeing with it the decline of 3D in the home as fewer models support the format.
Some of that could be attributed to most 3DTVs requiring glasses and less than ideal conditions in most homes for viewing such content. As a result we might soon find it being a format that soon becomes an exclusive of the cinemas.
However with the advent of more affordable Virtual Reality headsets, maybe this will give 3D movies a second chance. At least from my own experiences, watching 3D movies has felt more like a solitary experience than those of the 2D variety. Unless you have enough glasses for a lounge room full of people it might just be you and another person watching at most. As a result my habits for watching them has tended to just be me alone where I can focus more on the movie and less on the social aspects.
This plays very nicely with where Virtual Reality is it this stage where users are cut off from the outside world thanks to their head mounted displays (headset). Admittedly watching a movie this way is probably overkill right now and not always comfortable but as hardware improves and prices drop it could become a viable option.
With a headset you don’t have to worry about the different types of glasses you have to wear or exterior light hampering your view – it’s just you and that screen in front of your eyes. And with the right content and software that can adapt to work with the lens distortions (like games do now) it should be a great alternative use for those fortunate to have a headset in their possession.
Both the PC and PlayStation 4 VR headsets offer solutions that allow them to operate as movie players, often sitting users in virtual movie theatres to help set the appropriate atmosphere. Though it sounds like a strange idea I do think it does a nice job of settling people into an environment that they are both familiar with and comfortable in watching movies
For a bit of fun, I’ve been trying out video apps for my Google Pixel XL phone and the Daydream headset to see if you can get a similar feeling on a budget. Netflix VR allows you to view contents from its services from what might be described as the ultimate virtual lounge room.
For those with a substantial digital collection at home, Skybox VR lets you stream your own content from a PC which is great for those wanting to make the most of their movie collections – the accompanying PC software that enables the home streaming can even identify the various types of content to ensure it comes across to the Daydream as best as possible.
You do lose a little clarity due to the resolution and the screen door effect from the headset but I’m impressed with how well it works. It does mean you end up cutting yourself off from the outside world just to watch a movie but I imagine there’d also be a lot of people who would like that too. I bet anyone who regular goes to see movies by themselves could get sucked into this though.
So what do think about the future of 3D movies? Would a VR headset make for an enjoyable way to enjoy that cinema experience at home. Feel free to respond in the comments.