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Television (April. 2010)

The Summer of 3D
By John R. Quain
Electronics companies are rolling out their (expensive) 3D wares

3D TVComing to a living room near you: 3D TV. At least, that's what consumer electronics companies, movie studios, and broadcasters hope. The question is, what's it going to cost you?

The answer is: a lot. You'll need a new TV, a new disc player for 3D movies, goggles to watch the shows, and the programming is likely to cost more, too.

There's no question that theatergoers are mesmerized by 3D flicks but donning a pair of goggles for a public screening is a different experience compared to relaxing with the family to watch the news or a basketball game in 3D at home. For one thing, there's the initial expense.

Panasonic is offering a 50-inch plasma 3D TV and 3D Blu-ray Disc Player bundle at Best Buy for $2,899.99, for example. The set represents about a $500 premium over similar non-3D TVs -- not to mention the investment in yet another new disc player. Older Blu-ray players cannot play the new 3D Blu-ray discs. Moreover, shoppers are now accustomed to seeing bargain-priced, comparably-sized HD TVs for as little as $720.

Samsung is also pushing 3D HD TVs but looks to be focusing more on LCD-based flat panels. Its LCD 3D sets range from the 46-inch LN46C750 for $1,700 to the top-of-the-line 55-inch UN55C900 for a staggering $7,000. However, Samsung offers one interesting feature: its TVs will up-convert standard 2D HDTV programs to a version of 3D (Panasonic's sets will not). The picture quality of the up-converted programs isn't as realistic as so-called "full 3D" shows, but it's one way of getting programming to buyers until more 3D content is available. (For more, watch the segment on Fox Business.) more


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