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3D TVs buying guide

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3D TVs

Today, there are so many decisions to make when buying a new TV that you may be nervous about the idea. If you’ve decided that you want a 3D TV but not sure which one, Price Inspector will help you sort through the top brands, give you advice on making the right decision, and explain some of the jargon. We compare 10 of the best models to help make your buying decision easier. Once you’re ready to buy, we’ll make sure you get the cheapest price possible. Price Inspector works hard to bring you the best deals in the UK.

LCD versus Plasma

There are pros and cons to which TV technology provides the best 3D experience. In short, LCD sets have bright colours and images and provide the best overall 3D effects. However, they are more likely to be affected by 'crosstalk'.

On the other hand, plasma sets have a clearer picture and do not suffer from crosstalk. The downside is that the picture is dark. The glasses reduce a lot of the image brightness, leaving a dimmer image. Overall, however, the picture provides the best image. Crosstalk is reduced because plasma screens refresh the picture at a much faster rate.

Crosstalk is the biggest obstacle to enjoying 3D TV, especially for longer viewing periods. Also, crosstalk interferes with the clarity of the HD and blu-ray images that 3D is supposed to preserve. At the moment, plasma has a slight edge over LCD, but there is no clear winner at this point between LCD and plasma. Both are good products, and both are likely to continue to improve. At the moment, plasma has a slight edge over LCD.

Because 3D TV is currently a first-generation product, research your selection carefully. You should also try before you buy. Use Price Inspector to narrow down your choices, then visit a retail shop to see the TV in action. Once you’re ready to buy, Price Inspector will help you find the cheapest prices in the UK.


The Korean technology giant has two strong contenders in the 3D TV competition:

  • LG 47LD950: This is a 47-inch model that uses a passive shutter technology that works well with Sky’s 3D service. The set uses extremely affordable 3D glasses, unlike some models that cost hundreds of pounds. It even comes with four pairs of glasses right in the box. The downside to this model is that you’ll get a less detailed picture. In essence, LG uses two images that are offset slightly from each other, rather than two full HD images.

    The Sky 3D picture looks natural and vibrant, and it doesn’t suffer from 3D crosstalk. However, the 3D effects are not as convincing, separating the image foreground and background. The TV does provide a good 2D performance.
  • LG 55LX9900 and 47LX9900: This model quite surpasses the 47LD950 in innovation and technology. It comes with either a 55-inch or 47-inch screen (reflected in the model number) packed with features such as active 3D playback. It comes with a 31mm depth and direct LED backlight to provide a flawless 2D performance. For 3D, the images are crisply detailed, even when the images are dark. The action scenes are clear and fluid. Of course, there is a downside. This version suffers from more crosstalk than the 47LD950. Portions of the picture may be affected with ghostly images to the left or right of their true position.

    Overall, depth isn’t as strong as with Samsung and Panasonic models. However, some argue that this makes viewing 3D content less tiring for your eyes.

Samsung 3D TVs

Samsung brings us three models of 3D TV worth comparing:

  • Samsung 40C7000: This is an impressive model. It is extremely slim at only 27mm thick, using Edge LED backlight and outstanding production techniques. It comes with one pair of glasses, and extra glasses cost approximately £100. You’ll enjoy subtle distance and depth effects, but overall, the 40-inch screen is simply too small for an immersive 3D experience. The 2D to 3D conversion process works better with bluray discs than with TV input. The model is also available in 46 and 55-inch LED TVs. Samsung also has two plasma TVs in the series, in 50- and 63-inch screens.
  • Samsung LE46C750: This is the first attempt to make 3D technology available to the average consumer. It features a 46-inch LCD screen, and it sells for about the same price as a good flat screen TV—considerably less than other 3D TVs. When viewing Sky’s 3D channel, the LE46C750 provides bright, colourful performance. The glasses don’t remove as much brightness as with some other 3D platforms. However, the motions are as clean or sharp as on Samsung’s more expensive 9 Series models. The model does suffer from crosstalk, as it’s slightly visible all of the time, creating an unfocused image. The 2D to 3D conversion is effective, but it is also affected by crosstalk.
  • Samsung UE55C9000: This is a really good model, but it’s also very expensive. This is a 55-inch screen, but it also comes in 40- and 46-inches. The 55-inch version is much more impressive for creating an immersive 3D experience. This is designed as an expensive, top-of-the-line 3D TV, and it produces impressive depth and vibrant colours. There is some crosstalk, but it is somewhat minimized by the fast refresh rate. It comes with one pair of 3D glasses, and it provides a lot of features to help justify the expense: a touch screen remote, a Freeview HD tuner, extensive media playback, and Internet@. Overall, however, this model does not justify the high price tag when compared to the competition.

Sony 3D TVs

Although it came late to 3D TV, sony is quickly becoming a major contender in the market, providing 3 good models to compare:

  • Sony KDL-40HX803: This is a cheap model that does a good job of suppressing crosstalk. This model is available in 40- and 46-inch models and measure 74mm deep. These Edge LED screens are considered 3D-ready, which means you’ll need to buy the ‘gubbins’ (an emitter and a pair of glasses) for around £150. The depth and brightness are impressive, as is the crosstalk suppression. However, the 2D to 3D conversion is not as impressive, with fuzzy, unrefined images. Overall, however, the 3D performance on this model is justified by its low price, even considering the added cost of buying the gubbins.
  • Sony KDL-52HX903: This provides good 3D, but it’s an additional add-on. The model uses Direct LED backlighting to provide a good picture, but for 3D viewing, you have to buy the optional 3D kit. This contains a transmitter for about £50, and the glasses are about £100 each. The pictures do suffer from crosstalk, although not as much as Samsung and LGs 3D TVs. Overall, it’s an enjoyable image, bright and colourful, and the 3D glasses are comfortable. The 2D to 3D conversion has limited depth but provides a clean image.
  • Sony KDL-60LX903: At 60 inches, this is the largest 3D TV offered by Sony. It measures a slim 64mm deep, but it’s a heavy TV. This model provides solid 3D performance, although there is some crosstalk if you’re looking for it. The crosstalk is not a major issue, however, and the large size helps provide an immersive 3D experience. The 2D to 3D conversion is not as impressive. The model, and the 40-inch version, comes with two pairs of 3D glasses that are fairly comfortable and provide good performance. It also provides an impressive 2D performance, although it’s better with Freeview HD and Blu-Ray assistance.

Philips and Panasonic 3D TVs

Two of the top performers in the 3D market are Philips and Panasonic.

  • Philips Cinema 21 9 Platinum: This is an extra-wide 3D screen that comes with an equally large price tag. This is the first 3D TV from Philips, and it uses and active-shutter technology. The LED-backlit set measures 58 inches and provides excellent 3D performance. The 21:9 aspect ratio provides for a more comfortable viewing experience than with the traditional 16:9 sets. Also, the wider screen space helps add to the realistic sense of depth. The model does suffer significantly from crosstalk, but overall, it provides an outstanding 2D and 3D performance.
  • Panasonic TX-P65VT20B: This is the largest screen in the 3D market, measuring a huge 65 inches. A larger screen means that it fills your entire field of vision, giving you a more immersive 3D experience. It comes with two pairs of glasses included, but they are uncomfortable and don’t do a great job of blocking light. You’ll want to dim the lights while viewing in 3D. This is also because, as the only plasma 3D TV so far, it loses brightness when compared to LCD competitors. However, the black levels are deep, and there is much less crosstalk than with LCD 3D TVs. The problem is not entirely eliminated, but it does provide the most crisp, realistic images in the 3D market.

3D TV Jargon Explained

CrosstalkWhen each eye sees some of the image that was intended for the other eye. This creates a slightly blurry, ghostly effect around some image edges.
First-generationThe earliest versions of a particular technology. Typically, later generations are created when significant leaps in technology become available, generally translating into better performance and/or lower prices.
Active shutter technologyThese 3D glasses use a liquid crystal layer that can become dark when voltage is applied but is otherwise transparent. This is controlled by infrared signals from your TV. The transmitter signals the glasses to darken over one eye and then the other, synchronized with the TV’s refresh rate. This helps each eye see only what is intended for that eye.
Passive shutter technologyThese 3D glasses do not use movable or powered elements. Instesad, they use special optical materials to filter out what images are meant for each eye.

Buying Guide to 3D TVs
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