Could Avatar Jumpstart the Home 3-D Market?

It’s easy to dismiss the market for 3-D entertainment. After a number of iterations, 3-D technology has yet to go mainstream, either in the movie theater or the home. And yet, a number of consumer electronics manufacturers and movie studios are betting big on the technology. Could Avatar be the catalyst that finally spurs user adoption?

Despite the 160 3-D films that have been made in the aughts, none have had the immediate impact that Avatar has had; in its first 11 days, the film has grossed more than $600 million in international box office receipts, and more than $200 million in the US. It is, for many, the first movie built entirely for the 3-D age, and a sign that content is finally catching up to what technology enables.

It’s also the first film to truly change the perception of what modern 3-D movie making and movie watching are about. Gone are the days of the flimsy paper 3-D glasses with the red and blue plastic in them — these days we have sharp black shades shaped like Ray-ban Wayfarers. Gone also are gimmicky, in-your-face 3-D effects thrown in just for the sake of having something jump out at you; While Avatar was clearly made for 3-D, its effects were more nuanced than one might expect (especially given how over-the-top James Cameron tends to be).

But beyond Avatar, though, there’s reason to believe that we’ll soon see even more blockbusters shot and shown in 3-D. When I saw the film, the theater I viewed it in showed three trailers for upcoming films in 3-D, including the latest addition to the Shrek franchise, Shrek Forever After, which is slated for release in May.

Having greater availability of 3-D content, including first-run movies, will make the case for adoption in the theater. But will that translate into the home?

Over at GigaOm Pro, Paul Sweeting argues that the expectation of 3-D in the home is probably more hype than hope at this point. Among other things, he argues that there isn’t enough content available, and that consumers aren’t likely to start buying 3DTVs anytime soon, considering a number of them just completed a major upgrade cycle of their home theater systems.

But 3-D content might be coming online more quickly than we once thought. For one thing, DirecTV is expected to announce the launch of a 3-D channel next month at CES, and other content distributors will probably soon follow. And while the number of films available in 3-D is still pretty low, that will surely increase in the coming years in the wake of Avatar’s massive success.

As for the home entertainment upgrade cycle: It’s true that a number of people just bought their brand new HDTVs in the past two years, and that many spent good money to move to do so. It’s also true that there’s still a vast number of folks — about 50 percent — have yet to complete that upgrade cycle. Sweeting argues that these digital laggards aren’t likely to spring for 3DTVs, but I think that misses the point. The first generation of 3DTVs will be bought by the same early adopters that bought HDTVs before there was enough HDTV content to justify the purchase. And those that follow will be purchased as prices fall and as 3-D becomes a standard feature set, just as HD did.

But there’s another important aspect that separates an HD upgrade cycle to a 3-D upgrade cycle. As Alfred Poor argues in his GigaOm Pro report on the 3DTV transition (subscription required), unlike the transition from analog to HDTV, the difference between 2-D and 3-D picture is readily apparent. While a large number of consumers still view analog images on their HDTV sets and don’t know the difference, very few will make the same mistake when upgrading to 3-D.

That’s not to say that we can expect the home 3-D market to take off in 2010, or even in 2011. But with a blockbuster success story behind it and the support of consumer electronics manufacturers and the film industry, we can probably expect 3-D to take off sometime in the next five years.

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“Meet The Prensa” Columnist José Simián Talks To Singer Amanda Martinez

Mediaite’s “Meet The Prensa” columnist Jose Simian is not only a producer at NY1 Noticias, but a huge music fan — obvious on this site in English and at NY1 in Spanish in his ongoing series of interviews with Latin luminaries of literature and music. In this installment, he speaks with Latin-Canadian singer Amanda Martinez about her new album, “Amor,” which debuted to a strong reception (#6 on World Music on the Canadian charts, #1 on iTunes in the same category. Here she talks about, how she found her musical identity, and why she prefers to attack the Latin American classics with the sheer charm of her voice” (according to José; I have to trust him on the Spanish). Watch here:

Happy New Year 2010! Watch The Ball Drop In Times Square

Woo! Happy New Year — and Happy New Decade! Even if you’re not in New York — or in the same time zone, for that matter — it’s a tradition to watch the ball drop live in Times Square, especially if you’re somewhere warm and the weather there is crap, as it was tonight. No matter. It’s a sacred tradition and one that, for the few minutes or so before Midnight EST, is shared by millions of people around the world, who all count down in unison as the ball drops and we ring in another New Year. It’s nice. Watch it below:

p.s. Here at Mediaite we like to be efficient, so in the spirit of saying adieu to The Aughts and Hello to the Twenty-Tens we’d like to wish you a very Happy New Yecade. Because it’s not only a new year, and it’s not only a new decade. It’s a New Yecade.
p.p.s. Apparently the ball is a 12-foot geodesic sphere and descends down a 60-foot pole. Anderson Cooper said so.


Kathy Griffin Drops F-Bomb Live On CNN New Year’s Eve Special (VIDEO)

Kathy Griffin Drops F-Bomb Live On CNN New Year’s Eve Special (VIDEO)

Kathy Griffin Anderson CooperDoes saying the F-word on live TV even matter anymore? Maybe not if you’re Kathy Griffin and expected to say outrageous things that will make Anderson Cooper look adorably abashed on CNN’s live New Year’s Eve special — because they both ignored it so smoothly. F-word? Live TV? Yawn.


Griffin and Cooper, whose New Year’s Eve pairing on CNN has become an annual tradition, were doing their usual jokey banter, discussing various moments of infamy from the past year, and particularly the saga of Balloon Boy (how hard is it gonna be for that kid to get a date in a few years, eh?). Cooper and Griffin were at their post in Times Square discussing Balloon Boy Perè, Richard Heene, and then the little one himself, Falcon Heene. Here’s how it went:

COOPER: Falcon Heene.
GRIFFIN: Fal — Fuckin? Falcon? How do you say it?
COOPER: (shaking head, eyes downcast) You’re terrible. Really terrible.

And that was it! F-bomb on CNN live, New Year’s Eve. No biggie. Welcome to 2010. Or is there more to it? It should be noted that Griffin was famously unprintable before — last year she shot down a heckler by saying, again on live TV, “I don’t go to your job and knock the dicks out of your mouth.” This year, she promised to forfeit her salary if she said anything naughty. So maybe it’s only naughty if Anderson Cooper acts shocked. Or maybe it’s 2010 and EVERYTHING’S DIFFERENT. Or maybe we’re just used to the F-bomb on live TV by now. Or maybe we should all just lighten up, it’s a new Yecade, after all. Watch below:

Update: The clip was not edited for broadcast on the West Coast, perhaps in support of the “open to interpretation” argument (as opposed to the “we know it when we hear it” argument). But either way, looks like Kathy’s gonna take home her salary — well earned, we say.
Update to the Update: Griffin joked on air about the New York Times calling to confirm that she swore, which she said she did not, and which Anderson Cooper, too, swore up and down did not happen. The NYT’s Brian Stelter said on Twitter that he did not actually, call, but she did actually swear. He listened three times.

> Update on Friday night: CNN has a comment about the incident: “CNN regrets that profanity was used during our New Years Eve coverage.” As for whether Griffin will forfeit her salary, like she had said, “We do not discuss contractual issues.” -SK

This article has been edited since publication to add the word “Yecade.” We really think it’ll catch on.