The writer F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said there are no second acts in American lives. But what about third acts? Speaker impresario Sandy Gross is a cofounder of two of the best-known companies in the home theater/audio biz: Polk Audio and Definitive Technology.
At 3D theaters, you’re handed lightweight passive glasses that work in tandem with a polarizing filter positioned over the projector’s lens. When viewing at home with a 3D TV, you use bulky, battery-powered glasses with active shutter liquid-crystal lenses. Passive glasses in theaters are cheap and easily replaced. But at an average cost of $100 per pair, glasses used at home represent a sizable investment. Better to put them in a safe place — and keep ’em away from kids!
For some, 3D TV’s arrival came on a bit too suddenly. Avatar was still lighting up theater screens when the first 3D sets checked in to tempt us with the promise of stereoscopic golf tournaments — as if that alone was reason enough to buy a new TV. But while it’s easy to dismiss the whole matter as a marketing-driven phenomenon, even the most cynical consumer would be foolish to not at least consider the possibility that they might one day want to watch things in 3D.
For a company whose supposed emphasis is LCD TV manufacturing, LG sure makes some good plasmas. Its 50PZ950, which we reviewed in the September 2011 issue, earned a Certified & Recommended stamp, both for its accurate, eminently tweakable picture and for its innovative Magic Motion remote-controlled “Smart” GUI. New for 2012 is the 50PM9700, which follows in its predecessor’s footsteps by being THX 3D-certified, Smart, and also Magic Motion remote-controlled. There are a number of other differences between the two models, but here’s one that immediately stands out: At $1,299, the 50PM9700 sells for about $300 less than the 50PZ950.
When I first checked out one of Mitsubishi's Unisen "Immersive Sound" LCD TVs (the LT-46153, reviewed here), I was struck by the ingenuity of mounting a full-featured soundbar into the set's cabinet. And when I eventually connected a subwoofer to the TV, powered it up, and let a movie rip, I was floored by the room-filling sound - something you don't expect from a flat-panel model.
Two years ago, I found myself listening to Monitor Audio’s flagship Platinum Series towers in the company’s CES demo room and thinking, Who drops 10 grand on a pair of speakers, no matter how good they sound?
One argument made by naysayers when 3D TV first arrived was that the feature would jack up prices for flat-panel sets. That did prove sort of true at first, but 3D was quickly folded into the general feature package for most TVs, leaving set prices to continue their downward trajectory. Case in point: Panasonic’s new TC-P55ST50. The first Panasonic 3D TV I reviewed 2 years back had a 50-inch screen and cost $2,600. But the company’s new P55ST50 3D plasma has a larger, 55-inch screen and costs around $1,600. Depending on how the rest of this review plays out, that could mean we have a serious bargain on our hands.