Tag Archives: theater

Tech Serendipity

Sometimes things no one ever thought of simply seem to come together. Services and devices end up being used to do things the individual inventors and designers couldn’t have imagined.

For some time now, I’ve been thinking about attaching one of the new Mac Minis to one of my TV’s and utilizing it as a home theater PC as well as an over-the-air DVR to record high definition digital broadcasts from the local TV stations. A late Sunday afternoon trip to my local Best Buy and a Mac Mini was mine.

I sat the Mac Mini up with Eye TV and a USB HD tuner attached to my outdoor antenna. Depending on how I have the antenna rotated, I can receive upwards of 17 or more HD and digital broadcast channels. Of course, keep in mind that the Mini is on my home network, so I’ve got complete remote access in a number of different ways.

The Eye TV 3.4.1 software has easy iPhone/iPod/iPad/Apple TV file conversion, so I’m easily able to convert the files to the format of my choice.

A thought popped into my head. What if I converted the files to the iPhone format and put them into my Dropbox? I also have the Dropbox app for Android installed on my Sprint HTC Evo phone. Since I have an 8 gigabyte SD card installed with the possibility of going all the way up to a 32 gigabyte card if I wish, could I synch the exported iPhone files from my Dropbox on the computer to Dropbox on my phone?

To my surprise, I don’t even have to synch the exported iPhone videos to my phone – once they are synched to the Dropbox server, all I have to do is open the file from Dropbox on my phone and the file immediately starts streaming. If I’ve got a decent 3G Sprint cell signal, the video plays perfectly without a glitch.

So, I’m taking multiple different technologies, and using them in a way no single inventor or designer ever envisioned. I can record local TV programming from home, export it as an iPhone format file into my Dropbox folder, and stream the files to my phone. Pretty phenomenal stuff if you ask me.

For sure, there are other ways to accomplish the same end result, particularly if one has adequate bandwidth. For situations where bandwidth is limited and more variable, this solution works surprisingly well.

Has 3D Jumped The Shark Already?

The Daily Telegraph reports on concerns in Hollywood that the 3D goldrush is already over.  Based on recent audience figures, it appears that the percentage of audiences choosing the extra dimension is falling.

It cites as evidence the percentage of audiences that watched the 3D version for a series of films, starting with Avatar back in December.

  • Avatar – 71%
  • How To Train Your Dragon – 68%
  • Shrek Forever After – 61%
  • Last Airbender – 56%
  • Despicable Me – 45%

Proponents of 3D say that the problem is not that audiences are choosing to watch 2D but rather that the limited number of 3D screens is impacting on figures; only 1 in 8 screens can show 3D.

Others point to films such as Clash of the Titans for putting off cinemagoers as the 3D effects were added in post-production.  Jeffrey Katzenberg says, “We’re still at the beginning of this and not all 3D is equal, and consumers are beginning to realise this. There have been lesser 3D movies released and there’s already been a backlash against it.”  Chris Nolan, director of the Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and current release Inception, has refused to film in 3D.

James Cameron, director of Avatar, has also pointed out, “After Toy Story, there were ten really bad CG movies because everybody thought the success of that film was CG and not great characters that were beautifully designed and heartwarming. Now, you’ve got people quickly converting movies from 2D to 3D, which is not what we did. They’re expecting the same result, when in fact they will probably work against the adoption of 3D because they’ll be putting out an inferior product.”

It will be interesting to see if his prediction is correction and there is a resurgence in 3D once the effect itself is no longer the draw and the characters and story become important again.

Frankly, I’m in the 2D camp at the moment.  3D is fun, but the glasses do detract from the experience and those films where the effect is added in post-production are definitely inferior.  What’s your experience been?

Perhaps those people who really want 3D should consider going to a play…