Possibly the most significant development in the home 3D TV market is the addition of passive 3D models from some manufacturers. Until recently, only active-shutter technology had been utilized on 3D televisions. Such TVs require the use of special active-shutter glasses consisting of two small LCD screens synchronized with the TV to block the picture from reaching each eye in turn, thus creating a 3D effect. While active-shutter 3D works very well, the glasses are somewhat expensive and must be perfectly synchronized with the TV to avoid double-vision or blurry images.
Any cinemagoers that have seen a 3D film in a movie theater will be familiar with the lightweight 3D glasses that are handed out, and it is this type that is now making inroads into the 3D TV market. Passive 3D TVs rely on the simple blocking of polarized light to create a different image for each eye, so the glasses have no need of batteries and the need of synchronization of a signal between the TV and glasses is eliminated. Polarizing 3D glasses are significantly cheaper than active-shutter glasses, a definite benefit for large families.
One of the best 3D TVs released in the last year is the LG Infinia 47LW6500, and the fact that this passive set beats some of the very best active-shutter types in both detail and picture depth should alleviate any concern that passive technology results in less definition.
Vizio’s XVT3D650SV is another passive 3D unit which, although giving up some crispness, still performs admirably for its 65” screen size and is great value.
The best of the active-shutter sets, the Samsung UN46D8000 excels at providing a quality 3D image with excellent contrast that works very well in darker scenes, something other 3D TVs struggle to do. The unit is an LED back-lit design like the Sony Bravia 46HX820, another of the best of the crop of active-shutter 3D TVs with great depth and detail that some other 3D TVs miss.
For those looking for a plasma-lit TV, the LG Infinia 50PZ950 is a 50” unit with great image quality. Dark scenes can be a little bright, but adjustments can be made to compensate. The 3D experience with the Infinia is particularly good, with foreground details very noticeable, creating a good depth of field.
As with any new technology, the cost of 3D televisions is decreasing as more passive 3D models become available and sales increase. This, combined with the improving quality of both passive and active-shutter units, mean that this year’s 3D TVs are easier on both the eye and the wallet.
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