A major push with 3-D television was one of the areas stirring up interest at the Consumer Electronics Show which concluded yesterday in Las Vegas. While an electronic hypo, indeed, is a way to boost TV set sales, solid programming and clever writing remain two key elements that need tinkering to add and hold viewers, notes Grumpy Editor.
Perhaps some "research and development" will turn to the production end from studios, too.
Companies unveiling 3-D TV sets included Sony Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, Inc.
The Discovery Channel and ESPN announced plans to launch 3-D networks.
Viewing 3-D requires wearing special goggles.
Before 3-D excitement reaches a crescendo, however, Grumpy Editor recalls 3-D has had a bumpy road on the theatrical screen where the process goes back to the 1930s.
Hindered by World War II in the 1940s, 3-D returned to the big screen with force in the 1950s when 3-D "glasses" came in free cardboard frames.
The attraction got a boost when stereophonic sound accompanied some 3-D features in efforts to lure moviegoers back to theaters and away from TV sets that kept people home, socking movie ticket sales.
Major studios released a number of 3-D movies in the early to mid 1950s. Even the Three Stooges got into the 3-D act for Columbia Pictures with two slapstick comedies in that period.
Then 3-D activity subsided and remained mostly dormant in the 1960s and beyond.
Another 3-D wave appeared in the 1980s, faded again, then popped back early in the last decade.
So the question now is: Will heavy marketing of 3-D TV sets spur efforts for more quality programming.