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This week is a big week in the gaming world, the annual E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) conference is taking place in LA, a conference when all the big players in the gaming industry boast about their year and give loose forecasts of new games coming to their platforms for the following year.
The Expo is also a platform for new hardware, and although 2 of the big players, Microsoft and Sony, only had hardware to show off in the form of additions to existing hardware or revamped current hardware, industry leader Nintendo had a small ace up it's sleeve.
Nintendo by far has and does rule the hand held market and this year they are releasing a sequel to their best selling Nintendo DS handheld gaming console. The new twist on the console it that it has a 3 inch 3D top screen as well as the small bottom touch screen, and adding another twist the 3D screen does not require glasses.
All's well so far, all game news so far, what makes this even more interesting is that Nintendo has signed a deal with the likes of Warner Bros. and Disney to release movies in 3D on the device, not that raises the game even more.
On display in LA at the expo in form of a demonstration of this is Dreamworks How to Train Your Dragon, a recent 3D animated film, and although the 3D effect takes a little getting used to it works, but only for depth, which as James Cameron, director of Avatar, says is a large part of 3D, it's not all about things flying out of the screen at you.
This is exciting news, one which I expect will be used mainly by kinds, hence the studios involved and the kinds of films they are releasing. If proved successful this could pave the way for greater things, another example of the games industry leading the way of the films industry.
It's an old trick used by the film distribution companies to keep a steady flow of cash coming in by re-releasing old films, and each time in a different way, whether it be in the VHS days of suddenly discovering some new footage and releasing longer or directors cuts, or the more modern way of an improved picture and more extras. When a new format come along, like Blu-ray it give a whole new life to old films, just askGeorge Lucas, he's made a mint from the idea.
Studios are now suggesting that with some of the older films it isn't financially viable to re-release them again on Blue-ray, as Bill Hunt from The Digital Bits website writes in his daily “My Two Cents” column on his site.
It seems that the public these days expecting so much from High Definition that the amount of time and money spent on the disk production doesn't justify the return resulting in many a catalogue title maybe never seeing a release in high definition.
I think many of us are in this situation, you bought the VHS version of your favourite film say, The Breakfast Club. That version cant be played with your current hardware (who has a VHS player anymore?) so you bought the DVD version and enjoy it over and over again, the pictures as crisp today as the day it was bought. You now decide to buy an HDTV and Blu-ray player and find the Blu-ray version of the film, but is it really worth another purchase when your current disk will still play in your new player, and maybe even improve it?
It's an old argument, and when it comes to big Hollywood blockbuster a really good HD remastered transfer will make a huge difference, and I as much as anyone else will be lining the pockets of Lucasfilms when the virtually announced Star Wars Blu-ray films are released, but relatively speaking the list of film I need in HD is probably quite small, although my Blu-ray collection is growing at an alarming rate.
The big electronical consumer show for the year is just wrapping up in Las Vegas, Nevada and the story of the year for home cinema is the big push from electrical companies like Samsung and LG for 3D television.
3D hit the multiplexes big time in 2009 with film studios like Disney and Fox releasing big budget 3D movies like Up and the Billion dollar plus grossing Avatar. The next natural step for 3D technology is the home market, and the hardware manufactureres were there to demo this is force.
Blu-ray and high definition is certainly the right media for picture clarity to make 3D in the home a reality and with no new video format to push on the consumer this year, and also true High Definition 1080p TV's becoming mainstream 3D is the next technology being pushed on us.
There is a problem with 3D that is being asked by many, is it a gimmick? Or can this really be a serious contender for the next big thing in the home? The big problem with 3D is that you need glasses to enjoy the effect, and for a 2hour+ movie this can be a strain on the eyes.
With 3D television the like of Samsung are discussion having 3D broadcast for normal TV programs, but can you really see whole families sitting down for an evenings entertainment wearing 3D specs, and how much are these specs going to be? For a family of 4 this could get expensive, which means were into a niche market now, and to make money from 3D it has to be marketed to the mainstream.
Cost again is where there is a big problem, the hardware companies want us to upgrade all our home entertainment equipment once more for 3D. We willingly did this for DVD because we could see the advantage. We were less willing but again we did it for high def because we could see the advantage, but for 3D, where is the advantage, why should we buy new TV's and players to sit in our houses wearing a pair of silly glasses?
Personally I think there is a place for 3D in the home, but it's for children to enjoy movies like Up on their PS3 with a TV in their own rooms, or the couple sitting down for a couple of hours watching Avatar on a Saturday night, not for television broadcasts for a whole evening, I don't want, or need, Eastenders or Jonathan Ross in 3D!
Moving on the other big thing at CES was the bigger and bigger screen on the TV's that are getting thinner and thinner. There was evidence of OLED but this generally for the smaller screen devices, the bigger sets were generally LCD, and very very thin and light.
Apple and their iTunes store has in recent years become a hot spot for renting and buying movies, mainly for playing on your portable device (iPhone or iPod Touch recommended) but these can with the right hardware be played on the TV.
Today is the start of the Apple WWDC, which traditionally kick off with a huge presentation from Apple where they announce lots of new hardware and software.
Out of all this high tech announcement came a small nugget which went almost unmissed about the new iPhone 3.0 software, Apple are introducing to their mobile iTunes store the ability to buy or rent films.
Imagine the scenario, you‚Äôre on a long car journey, or about to board a plane and you want a god movie for the journey, well soon you‚Äôll be able to get our iPhone wherever you are and buy a movie for the journey.
No great shakes but a nice addition to the mobile device.