6 Jan 2010 8:09 am   //   Filed under: Technology, TV

Nobody wants to see “Jersey Shore” in 3-D

Item! ESPN and Discovery launching 3-D TV networks.

There’s lots of buzz this week about 3-D TVs at CES. I don’t buy the hype. Here are 5 reasons 3-D TV is a non-starter.

1. The Internet. Barring any huge leap forward in technology, 3-D video (which requires a steady, high frame rate) is incompatible with Internet streaming (which adjusts frame rates depending on your connection speed). As such, 3-D TV is a naked ploy by the entertainment industry to push viewers back toward buying DVDs and cable subscriptions, rather than enjoying free online video. It won’t work. Trying to steer the freeloaders back to paid video once they’ve figured out Hulu and Netflix and torrents is pushing water uphill.

2. Glasses. Nobody has solved the 3-D glasses problem. Are you and your buddies going to hang around a sports bar watching football, drinking beer, eating wings, while wearing identical sets of flimsy plastic glasses? No. Glasses are for squares.

3. Production costs. It’s waaay more complicated and more expensive to produce TV shows in 3-D than in 2-D. Amateurs can’t do it. But for years, the trend toward digital video has meant cheaper TV shows, often with user-submitted content. This has been both good (CNN’s iReport) and bad (“Jon & Kate Plus 8”) but there’s no sign that really expensive television is due for a rebound.

4. Hardware costs. Except for hard-core home theater enthusiasts, it will be hard to convince people to buy new TV sets for 3-D alone. With the digital switch, it seems like everybody has shopped for, bought, and had installed a new TV in the last couple of years. That’s a lot of Best Buy-induced trauma. But people endured the shopping madness for a reason. Even though research showed that most people couldn’t tell the difference between HD and standard-def digital TV, we preferred HD TVs anyway because they’re wide, bright, flat and can be mounted on the wall. They just look high-tech. 3-D TVs offer no advantages other than being able to accommodate 3-D signals. Would you pay more to see “The Jay Leno Show” in 3-D?

5. Porn. Secretly, all advances in video technology are about making porn better. Face it: You don’t want 3-D porn and neither do I.