About 20 years ago, I saw the excellent stand-up comedian Sean Hughes doing a one-liner about new television technology. “What’s on TV tonight?” Hughes asked as he pretended to be at home on a Sunday evening. “Songs of Praise? Nah, I don’t think I’ll bother. Oh, it’s in Nicam Digital Stereo? Ok then!”
The same attitude goes for 3D TV. We mentioned a few weeks ago about the development of Ultra HD and how film critic Mark Kermode complained that 3D cinema is an irrelevance and a sideshow rather than being a serious aspect of the medium.
As I write this, Sue Barker is explaining how you can watch the Wimbledon Final in “fabulous 3D. You’ll need access to a 3D television, which needs to be set to the side-by-side mode and to the BBC’s Red Button channel which can be found on FreeView blah blah blah…”
If it’s so fabulous, why has nobody taken it up? The BBC announced this week that it’s suspending its 3D broadcasting indefinitely due to lack of public interest. Sports broadcaster ESPN has already decided to cancel its 3D service in the US due to lack of take up, although in this country Sky Sports is expanding its 3D broadcast capability, including the first Formula 1 race in February. Personally, I think if you want to see sport in 3D, you should physically go to the event itself. I’m having a great time watching Murray v Janowicz in HD right now but I’m not daft enough to think that the experience is anything like actually being there. TV is only ever going to be a representation of the event – I was fortunate enough to attend the closing ceremony of the Paralympics last year and I can’t even bring myself to watch the TV version. Same goes with a concert at Wembley Stadium – I’ve got the DVD but never watched it. I don’t have 80,000 people with me, and an experience like that is all about sharing it with the crowd rather than just the event itself.
Speaking of live experiences, if you feel alone on your birthday, why not hop on down to an Outback restaurant in Brazil. The Aussie-styled eateries are now providing a chair that, every time you get a birthday greeting on your Facebook Timeline, gives you a hug, then takes a photo and adds it onto your Timeline. The idea is now to roll the chair out in Outback restaurants throughout the States and then around the world. My only real problem with this bit of fun is that by the time that it lands in a UK restaurant the novelty will have worn off. And my other fear is that sad, lonely single people will pretend it’s their birthday every night and be fighting over the use of the chair because it’s the only way that they’ll get someone – or something – to hug them.