Updated: May 9, 2015

3D Television Reviews and Buying Guide:

Bringing 3D Home with the Best 3D Televisions - 3D technology is not new; it has been around since before the turn of the century - that is, the turn of the 20th Century. First developed in 1895, 3D's debut came in 1915 at the Astor Theater in New York. It was hardly a runaway hit, and very few movies were made until the 1950s, when 3D was born again. But 3D crept out of the public eye yet again and remained a largely dormant art form because of the expense. James Cameron's 2009 film, Avatar, didn't invent 3D but it did breathe new life into it. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide flocked to see the stunning film that took viewers into a new world of 3D effects. 3D TV technology is still in its infancy, but with new 3D televisions, it is possible to get a real 3D experience right in your own home. Let's take a look at some of the best 3D TVs, how they work, and what they'll cost you. Welcome to the world of 3D.


The Wonder of 3D Television Technology - and Its Limitations - There is no doubt that 3D technology is rapidly evolving and will play a big role in our entertainment. New technology allows viewers to get a full color experience, which wasn't possible with old red/cyan 3D glasses. Today's 3D is more detailed, crisp, and colorful, and in theaters, the results can be breathtaking. Home viewing doesn't offer the same quality as movie theater viewing. 3D TV technology is so new that there remains some bugs to work out. Among these:

*Expense. You need a 3D television, glasses, and 3D content. Often, you can get these all as a bundle, but the price is still relatively high. 3D TVs are more expensive than their 2D counterparts, but that should start to equalize in the coming years. Everyone who wants to watch 3D needs glasses; if they don't, the image on screen will appear fuzzy and distorted. Your 3D TV can't play 3D and 2D content at the same time.

*Narrow selection. Not everything is in 3D format, so your selection will be more limited. The good news is that more 3D DVDs are being released today, and there are also a few 3D channels and streaming services that you can check out. Right now, the pickings are fairly slim, but your options are expected to open up once the technology evolves further. Many TVs offer the option for viewing 2D content in 3D, but experts agree that the experience is nowhere near that which you get in a theater or at home with properly formatted 3D media.

*You have to use the 3D glasses designed for your TV. You can't use Sony 3D glasses with a Panasonic, for instance. This means that you can't buy a cheaper, off-brand pair to watch TV.

*You still need the glasses. In Japan, there are 3D televisions available that allow you to watch without glasses. This technology is not available in the US, and it is still very much an experiment. And still very, very expensive.

*This crop of 3D TVs is one of the first, and there are sure to be upgrades in the very near future. Your brand new TV could be obsolete in just a few years, so that is something to consider before you buy.

On the plus side, you can watch 2D television shows and movies on your 3D TV without any trouble. This ensures that you do have the selection you want, even if it is not all formatted for 3D yet. Another plus side is that new "passive" 3D TVs are coming out. With these, you can use inexpensive passive polarized 3D glasses, which cuts the cost dramatically. We'll take a look at a few of these passive 3D TVs in just a bit. 3D TV technology is rapidly evolving. This CNET FAQ (http://news.cnet.com/3d-tv-faq/) is a good resource if you want to learn more about the technology as it stands today. You can browse the best selling 3D televisions online here.


Best 3D Televisions:

Big names in the technology industry have developed 3D televisions, including Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, LG, Toshiba, and Phillips. Let's start with TopTenReviews favorite, the Panasonic VIERA TC-P54VT25. This Viera features a large 54-inch plasma screen, THX certification, HD, 30 watts of high quality audio, image viewing and video playback via SD cards, Frame Sequential technology for terrific image quality, bright, detailed images, no afterimage, Infinite Black Panel Pro for "robust blacks" and increased contrast in brightly lit areas, great connectivity, viewable web content, and one pair of included 3D glasses. TopTenReviews said the Viera offered the "best 3D TV viewing experience," and the TV reviews very well with consumers. It is yours for $2200. Glasses will cost you $100 to $150 each. Check out the top rated Panasonic 3D TV's here. Now seems like a good time to talk about those passive 3D televisions! ConsumerReports.org reviewed the Vizio VT3D650SV and said there is "a lot to like" about this 3D TV. The Vizio has a large 65-inch screen for "cinema-style" viewing, 50 percent brighter screen, less ghosting, flicker-free screen, 120Hz refresh rate, 1080p resolution, 1 million to 1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio, both 2D and 3D content, SRS TruSurround HD and SRS TruVolume, Vizio internet apps, built in dual band 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth universal remote, Smart Dimming, EcoHD, which exceeds EnergyStar guidelines, and four pairs of polarized glasses, which you can also use at the movie theater. The Vizio costs about $3700. Pricier than the Panasonic, but you save money on the glasses. It is important to remember that today's 3D TVs are remarkable - but new. There are pros and cons to each. The LG 55LX9500, for instance, was a TopTenReviews favorite and provides exceptional image quality and display and a super slim build. The downside is that it doesn't come with shutter glasses and it is very expensive. Originally, it sold for $4000 - without glasses. Today, you can get it for about $2300. That's another point to remember: prices will drop further as the technology progresses and becomes more developed. If you love having the latest and greatest gadgets, a 3D TV will definitely be a crowd-pleaser and a worthwhile investment. Go with big brands like those mentioned and sit back and enjoy the show!