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

Jeremy Laukkonen

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.

Some televisions are 3D ready but need additional components before people can watch in 3D.
Some televisions are 3D ready but need additional components before people can watch in 3D.

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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Discussion Comments


I'm looking forward to the day when you can buy a full 3D TV that is ready to go as soon as you buy it at the store and you don't need any special glasses to watch it. I think HDTV has improved television viewing by leaps and bounds. Can you imagine how much better quality 3D TV will make television?

I look forward to watching a baseball game on television in 3D. Of course this might be a bit frightening as the balls appear to be coming off the screen straight at you.


@Laotionne - You are not the only person I have heard say that 3D TV is not particularly impressive. New 3D TVs are much better than they have been in the past, but there is still plenty of room for improvement, which will come soon I think.

With the current 3D TVs you need to have some knowledge of how to hook them up properly. As this article points out, you don' t just go to the store pick out a 3D TV and then go home plug it in to a power source and then have a great 3D picture to watch. Even if you buy all of the best and most expensive equipment you won't have a good 3D picture if you fail to get everything hooked up properly.


A friend invited me over to watch TV on her new 3D TV entertainment center setup. Actually, her husband is the big TV fan and he loves anything that has to do with new technology and entertainment. I am not a big technology person, but I like watching TV, so I was excited. I figured 3D had to be even better than regular 2D TV.

Honestly, I was really disappointed. I could definitely see that there was something different about the images on the TV screen, but it didn't exactly look like 3D. Whatever the difference was it was more of an annoyance than anything else.

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