Wow. We’ve heard of hype machines, but buzz is so strong over the new James Cameron “Avatar” film that Pali Capital analyst Rich Greenfield upgraded NewsCorp stock from “sell” to “neutral.” If you can get past the use of “game changer” in the clip, Greenfield’s enthusiasm does make you wonder if 3-D is finally here. Sigourney Weaver has been quoted as saying “Avatar” may have the impact on 2-D film that “Wizard of Oz” did on black and white. Sure, she’s an actress promoting her flick, but if live-action 3-D brings crowds back to big screens, Sigourney may be right.
Next up, 3-D in your bedroom.
The question is whether 3-D will be a sustainable competitive advantage for movie theaters, which have been nervously watching the rise of large flat-panels in consumers’ basements. Television manufacturers are racing to build 3-D sets that work in your home — JVC, Mitsubishi, Panasonic and Sony all have three-dimensional toys on deck. Like flat panels, if the sets really work, a groundswell of consumers will rush to buy in. Still, some analysts say the home 3-D technology is nowhere near the clarity of the big screen — Shane Sturgeon, publisher of HDTV Magazine, said the home stuff gave him a headache. Programming has to catch up, and the gigantic swaths of bandwidth required for 3-D data transmission all put the home adoption curve off a few years.
For now: Sigourney, here we come.