December 08, 2010, 11:04 AM — A 3D HDTV can set you back anywhere from $1000 to $6000--and that's not including the active-shutter glasses, the 3D Blu-ray disc player, or media--so you'd better be able to show that baby off. Our guide will take you from step one (setting up your screening room) all the way to the end (choosing what to watch).
Set Up the Room
3D HDTVs are not for the faint of heart--and by that I mean anyone who's young, old, pregnant, drunk, or tired (thanks for the warning, Samsung). However, you can minimize the possibility of your 3D TV giving people epileptic seizures and/or nausea, by arranging your room with 3D feng shui in mind.
Dim the Lights
Your TV is the main event, so you'll need to place it carefully. Any excess light will detract from the viewing experience and potentially make your viewers queasy. Looking through the glasses in regular ambient room light, for example, will cause you to see a flicker from the "shuttering." This flicker is amplified if you look directly at a brighter light (such as a phone screen or a blinking LED), and the quick movement can cause motion sickness in some viewers. So be sure to position your television away from any windows (and especially not against a window), other screens (such as computers or fancy alarm clocks), and any electronics with LED lights.
Also, purchase a TV that doesn't have an illuminated logo or light bar at the bottom (or that has one you can turn off). If your television is hooked up to a cable box or a multimedia player that has blinking lights, put the box or player in a cabinet with doors that you can close. While that might seem a little excessive, remember that the ideal viewing situation--a movie theater--also lacks light.
Arrange the Furniture
Once your TV is in place, and you've stowed all of your electronics safely out of sight, arrange the furniture. Ideally, no more than four people should be viewing the television at once--because four people sitting side by side are about as much off-axis viewing as a 3D TV can handle. Once you get too far to either side of the TV, the picture will begin to flatten. And once you get to about a 45-degree angle, the picture is almost completely flat.
It's important to set up your furniture with that in mind. If you're going to have more than four people watching TV at once, it's best to have some people sitting behind others. The perfect situation would be theater-style graduated seating, but assuming that you can't afford to turn your living room into a minitheater, the next best arrangement is cushions on the floor, a couch, and barstools.