What Are the Best Tips for Buying a 3D TV?

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  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2014
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When buying a television capable of displaying three dimensional (3D) content, there are a number of different factors to consider. The first tip to buying a 3D TV is to be familiar with the different display options. It is possible to get a 3D TV in plasma, digital light processing (DLP), or liquid crystal display (LCD) formats, so it can be a good idea to learn the strengths and drawbacks of each. There are also several different 3D technologies available, so it is important to understand what types of additional equipment will be needed when buying a 3D TV. Some televisions are 3D ready but need an additional transmitter or processing component, while others have the transmitter and processor built in and may come with the necessary glasses.

There are three main types of high definition televisions (HDTVs) that can be obtained with 3D functionality. The bulkiest of these choices are DLP televisions, which are sometimes also known as rear projection. Although they are thicker and heavier than other HDTV sets, these televisions tend to be less expensive than other units of comparable screen size. LED and plasma television sets are usually thinner and lighter, and also tend to cost more than DLP units.


When buying a 3D TV, it is important to differentiate between "3D ready" and "full 3D" due to potential additional costs. Many DLP televisions are 3D ready, which means that they require additional equipment to display three dimensional images. The extra equipment typically includes a transmitter box that is capable of interfacing with a compatible set of shutter 3D glasses. Some plasma sets also require this type of transmitter. When buying a 3D TV that is not referred to as "full 3D," it is a good idea to consider the potential added costs of purchasing a transmitter and several pairs of glasses.

Another tip for buying a 3D TV is to consider the technology itself. Many 3D televisions use active glasses that contain motorized shutters, which are battery powered and can be relatively expensive. Passive 3D technology uses less expensive glasses and requires no transmitter unit because there is no active interface between the television and the glasses. Another type of 3D technology is the autostereoscopic television, which is capable of displaying a three dimensional image without the need for glasses. This can allow more people to watch a single 3D television, although there is typically a limited viewing angle from which the 3D effect is visible.


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