A 3D TV is a big investment in your home theater, but it will pay off in the future, as 3D content gets even better and more affordable. Essentially, 3D televisions are top-of-the-line HDTVs that have the capability of displaying three-dimensional images. You can turn the 3D feature on and off. The 3D TVs we reviewed promise the most advanced technology in 3D as well as 2D high-definition viewing.
Currently, the availability of 3D TV content is limited, but it's growing. ESPN has made some sporting events available on its ESPN 3D channel, and Discovery Channel launched 3net, a network that airs original 3D content 24/7. With a 3D Blu-ray player that is compatible with your 3D TV, you can enjoy the growing selection of 3D movies in your own living room. Many of the TVs we reviewed include up-conversion, so you can watch regular 2D programming in 3D.
As 3D technology becomes more plentiful and affordable, you may ask yourself if a 3D TV should be your next big diversion. The 3D TV we reviewed cover the most recent models, which are excellent examples of the series each represents. The best 3D TVs, such as the LG 55LM7600, the Sony XBR-HX950 and the Panasonic TC-P55VT50, display realistic, vivacious images that seem to come alive and into your living room. For more information about this subject, see our articles about 3D TVs.
Not all 3D is the same, and you still need to wear glasses to see the 3D effect on your television. Some 3D TVs come with compatible glasses, but for many TVs, you'll need to purchase the glasses separately. The type of glasses you need will depend on the type of 3D – passive or active – your TV utilizes. Passive 3D lenses are similar to those you wear in movie theaters, and they are typically less expensive than active glasses. This is because they use a polarized lens to decode the 3D image. Active shutter 3D lenses rapidly and imperceptibly open and close a shutter over each eye in synchronization with the images sent from the TV. These often require batteries and are much more expensive.
Get the glasses, especially with the active type, that are specifically recommended by the manufacturer, or at the very least, make sure the model number for your TV is listed in the compatibility specifications for those glasses. Your glasses will only work with compatible TVs.
Now that you know some basics about 3D television technology, you can begin looking for the one that is right for you. We reviewed 3D plasma, 3D DLP and 3D LED TVs, and ranked them according to the following criteria:
Look for screens that are 55 inches or larger as they are recommended in order for 3D technology to work as intended. Look at the display technology behind the flat panel and the type of 3D glasses it uses. Look for a contrast ratio of over one million, which helps the colors be as vibrant as possible. The best 3D TVs have a refresh rate of at least 240Hz to reduce motion blur in action scenes.
The features included in 3D televisions are an excellent indicator of overall quality. You should look for TVs that that have HDCP support, which allows your TV to control your devices without all the extra remotes. Smart TVs with built-in web browsers and apps for streaming services like Netflix, Vudu and Pandora will make certain that you'll never be bored again. Other things to consider include 2D to 3D conversion and an Energy Star rating.
The input ports, and to a lesser extent the output ports, are vital to every TV. These determine what kinds of peripherals you can connect to the display, such as Blu-ray players, DVD players, video game consoles and home theater equipment. You should look at the devices you plan to connect to the TV to determine if your needs are met.
You'll want to know what accessories are included with the TV. For example, some of the TVs include 3D glasses, while others don't include any. The TV should include a standard wall mount interface to use with a mount of your choice. The included remote control could be very basic or it may include a built-in keyboard for web features.
Help & Support
If you experience any problems with your new TV purchase, you want to be sure that the manufacturer provides enough support to help you fix the problem as quickly and painlessly as possible. Manufacturers with strong product warranties, help documentation and live chat support score higher than the rest.
You can use these rating criteria to make an educated decision on which 3D television is best as you choose an immersive 3D TV for your home. Whichever model you choose, your media experience will never be the same.