Questions & Answers
Today's Topic: 3D Televisions
Normally, your left and right eyes see
slightly different perspectives of a scene, which the brain combines into
one image with depth and dimension. Special 3D dual-lens cameras or computer
animations simulate that real-world experience by providing two different
views of an image. (Note that watching 3D over a period of time, or even for
a short while, can cause certain viewers to develop eyestrain or a
Yes, to watch 3D programs. Without
glasses, those left/right views appear as blurry double images. The
high-speed shutter glasses you use with 3D TVs provide each eye with a
separate, distinct image, creating a realistic sense of depth. The glasses
are battery-powered. Some can be recharged by connecting a USB cable to the
TV or Bluray player; others use replaceable batteries. You can wear the
glasses over prescription eyewear, though that can be uncomfortable. Some 3D
TV sets come with one or two pairs of glasses, or glasses might be included
in a bundle with TV and Blu-ray player. If no glasses are provided, or if
you need more, you can buy them separately. A pair of glasses costs about
$150 now, but lower- priced versions might be available at some point.
The premium isn't as steep as we
expected, in some cases several hundred dollars more than regular sets with
similar features (aside from 3D). Samsung was expected to have eight LCD
sets and six plasma TVs with 3D capability in stores by May, ranging in size
from 40 to 65 inches and priced from $1,700 to $7,000.
prerecorded 3D movies at home, you'll need a 3D Blu-ray player.
There isn't much at this point, but
there should be more soon. "Monsters vs. Aliens" and "Ice Age: Dawn of the
Dinosaurs" are two of the first 3D Blu-ray discs available, and the "Shrek"
series is expected later this year. (Older 3D movies such as "Polar Express"
on DVD or Blu-ray are completely different from the new 3D, and you must
watch them with cardboard anaglyph glasses with colored lenses.) Cablevision
offered a hockey game in March. Comcast planned to broadcast 2 hours per day
of the Masters Golf Tournament in 3D in April. TV channels in 3D from ESPN
and DirecTV are expected in June, and the Discovery Channel plans to launch
a 3D network.
Yes. A 3D-capable set functions like any
standard HDTV with regular programs; 3D is a new feature, not a new type of
TV. The set shifts into 3D mode only when it detects 3D content. You'll
probably watch mostly regular video on those sets, at least in the near
future. You don't have to wear glasses to watch regular programming.
That depends on your situation.
- If you're an early adopter willing to pay
for a hot new technology, go for it. The 3D effects can be eye-popping and
just plain fun. Just remember there's not much 3D content to watch yet.
- If you're planning to buy a fairly high-end new TV any way, this could be
a way of future-proofing your purchase. The TV will cost more than a
traditional set, but you won't have to spring for yet another new TV in a
year or two when DirecTV, ESPN, and cable stations start offering 3D
programming and more 3D movie discs are available.
- If you're happy with your current HDTV, don't need a new set, and aren't
burning to have the latest technology, don't buy now. The price of 3DTVs and
Blu-ray players should drop, so you'll save money by waiting. And there
should be more 3D to watch by the time you're ready to buy.