3D Movies at Home

I love my home theater. That’s well established. And while I still need to get furniture for the room, the theater system itself was mostly finished. I had the screen, the projector, the sound, and the doodads to play stuff on (forgive me if I’m being too technical). But I’d really wanted to give 3D a shot, because gadgets! Technology! Cool!

After looking into it, I realized I was almost there. Most high definition projectors will handle 3D all on their lonesome. You don’t need to do anything to them to enable it. All I really needed to do was buy the right kind of 3D glasses for my projector (there are a number of competing technologies, and you have to make sure you’re using the right one) and buy a few 3D movies.

I picked up the glasses for around $20 each. (My projector uses DLP-link, so I got those.) 3D movies are, naturally, a bit more. But in the name of science, I bought a few of those too. (Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr. Strange, and Avatar.) Having now watched Guardians of the Galaxy in 3D at home, I’m here to let you know if you should be doing the same thing.

First, a note about me and 3D. I typically don’t watch it in the theaters. I always felt it made the movie too dark, and that it wasn’t worth the extra bother. I like 3D. It doesn’t give me headaches or anything. But it wasn’t cool enough for me to want to spend more money on it. Wearing the glasses in public just made me feel goofy, and I didn’t like feeling cut off from the rest of the crowd. I watch movies in theaters often for the audience experience. The glasses made it much less social.

With that out of the way: watching 3D at home? Totally awesome. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m using a different tech than the theaters (I doubt it), but the picture seemed sharp. Not quite as bright as I’d like still, but I’m thinking that might be because I have my projector’s brightness dialed down to conserve on bulb life. It was bright enough for me to be fine watching it, though there’s no way I’d watch it during the day, or with the lights on. I’d want the room to be all dark. (That also helps with not seeing any reflections in the glasses as I’m watching, which was another irritant of watching in the theater.

Honestly, the experience was so good, for the first time I felt like it was just as good as watching a movie in the theaters. I’ve always gone to the movies to see some films because I wanted that cinema experience. I wanted the huge screen. I still might see some now and then, but this felt like all I really need. (The ability to pause, add subtitles, adjust the volume, etc. is a really nice perk, people. And the popcorn is much cheaper.)

I do see some down sides. First, if I had a smaller screen, I don’t think I’d enjoy this much at all. 3D needs to be big to have an impact. On a 50 inch screen (or even a 70 inch), I’m not sure it would be the same. Also, if I want to have friends over to watch with me, I’ll need to buy more glasses. Not a huge fan of that. They have to be charged, and spending $20 for every friend is prohibitive. I think I might just keep it at a “just for family or small groups” experience.

The next problem is cost. 3D movies are often more expensive. I looked into getting them through Netflix, but they don’t offer them. (Not even through discs). There are some online companies that let you rent them, but they’re expensive. ($18/month?!?) I can stream some in theory, but my internet isn’t fast enough for me to feel good about that. So it looks like I’ll have to pay to play. Then again, since I won’t be paying for the fam to go to the movies as much, perhaps that’s about a wash.

Overall, I’m very happy with my purchase, and I’m eyeing all sorts of movies in 3D on Amazon now. Denisa’s trying to talk me down from buying all of them. I think she’ll be successful, but getting one now and then as a treat? Why not.

If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them as best as I can.

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