January 06, 2011, 1:37 PM — Practically every HDTV manufacturer started their press conference by announcing that 3D is a big deal for them this year. However, different TV companies are planning to take their 3D emphasis in different directions. Read on for a look at how big 3D is going to be, and the different kinds of 3D TVs that will be showing up in 2011.
3D TVs Everywhere
For the majority of 2010, you couldn't buy a 3D TV without spending at least $1300 or so for a 40-inch set. 3D features were only implemented in the high-end and mid-range models, and between the 3D TV and the glasses, you might be looking and spending $600 more for a 3D than you would for a comparable 2D-only set. It wasn't until the holidays that we started seeing sub-$1000 3D TVs coming out.
In 2011, that's simply not the case. Panasonic, Vizio, Sony, LG, Samsung--all of them are releasing 3D TVs of all shapes, sizes, and price ranges upon the market this year. Even Sharp's TV lineup, which typically takes a different tack than the rest of the industry, includes a handful of 3D TVs. Even if you're a bargain-basement shopper, it'll be hard to buy a new TV that doesn't support 3D.
Active-shutter vs. Polarized 3D
3D may be big this year, but it's not necessarily the same kind of 3D you saw (and probably didn't really like) in 2010. Your new TV will either use active-shutter glasses or polarized glasses to produce a 3D image. Active-shutter glasses are the bulky, pricey 3D glasses that produce a 3D image by using LCD lenses to rapidly dim one lens, then the other, so your two eyes see slightly different images. Meanwhile, polarized 3D glasses are the kind you've seen in movie theaters: light, cheap, and somewhat similar to a pair of sunglasses. Polarized glasses don't have any electronics in the glasses themselves because the work is being done in the TV's filter, so they're easier and cheaper to manufacture and design.