The Hobbit will be testing 48fps exhibition in 450 locations when it debuts on December 13. While test screenings have had mixed reactions to say the least, WB is taking a pragmatic move and limiting the release until they figure out what the masses think.
But what about the home theater? You need a 240hz TV to show native 48fps footage, and 48fps isn’t part of any of the existing specs for either TVs or Blu-ray Disc. The eventual Blu-ray 3D release will almost certainly be 24fps 1080p 3D, because it’s unlikely that they’ll take the resolution hit to 720p for the sake of frame rate. That doesn’t mean that a 720p/60 (using pulldown just like 24-29fps movies do) won’t be available on VOD or some other form of download, just that it won’t be on our favorite shiny disc.
But fear not, though, true believers: future 4K TVs will almost certainly support native 48fps output, assuming Peter Jackson’s experiment goes well, and Avatar 2, Star Wars: Episode VII, and a host of other in-the-wings productions will hopefully be around in some shiny new video format around the time that 4K TVs start costing less than a new car. So, just like you waited three years to finally buy Avatar at Best Buy, expect to do the same for The Hobbit in its intended frame rate.