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Snide Media Jabs at 3D TV

16 Mar, 2010 By: Thomas K. Arnold

As one of 23 Americans who still uses AOL as their personal email service, I frequently get news updates from a variety of sources right there on my snazzy, newly redesigned AOL home page. But a recent story from WalletPop really ticked me off — not so much the story as the snide headline: "3D TVs hit the market, but do you need one?"

Now, I'm one of those people who really hates any sentence (generally directed at me by my wife) that begins, "You need to...." I only "need" to do three things, and eating and sleeping are two of them. But since when has "need" ever factored into an entertainment option? None of us really "needs" anything — not DVD, not video games, not Blu-ray Disc, not a plasma TV, not any TV at all. Heck, if our entertainment consumption hinged solely on need, we'd be tramping through the bushes, playing hide-and-seek or tag or building rock forts, simply because we'd have to make do with our imaginations. Entertainment is not a need; it's a frill, a perk, an add-on.

And whether or not we choose a particular entertainment option depends primarily on one thing, which can be expressed in several ways: Is it fun? Will we enjoy it? Will it bring pleasure into our lives? Will it bring a smile to our faces?

3D certainly fills the bill. I enjoy watching movies in 3D, and I can't wait to start watching movies in 3D in my home. I'm happy that companies are making plans to sell 3D TVs, and while I won't be among the first wave of buyers, I can certainly see getting one within a year or so. In fact I believe that one day 3D TV will be the new standard.

I'm not saying we're going to watch everything in 3D, or even that we would want to. But I do relish the notion of being able to watch certain movies or programs in 3D, be it Alice in Wonderland or some other colorful, complex fantasy, or the Chargers winning the Super Bowl (come on, it can happen!).

3D is just the latest in a series of enhancements to the basic TV set, which popped into living rooms in the 1940s and 1950s and has been getting better and better all the time. First came color, then stereo, then cable (giving us more programming choices), then VHS, then DVD, then flat-screen, then high-def — and now, in swift succession, Blu-ray Disc and 3D.

No, we don't need any of it. But we sure like it when we get it. And isn't that the whole point of entertainment?

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