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.
Along with Samsung, Panasonic has been pushing hard to bring 3D TV to both early adopters and regular folks who happened to catch Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Toy Story 3, or one of the other recent 3D blockbusters at their local multiplex. But whereas Samsung is neutral when it comes to displays, offering 3D TVs in LCD and plasma flavors, 3D for Panasonic is all about plasma. The company’s initial VT20 Series sets were made available exclusively through Best Buy.
The TV that Samsung sent me was its UN46C8000 LED model. Should you, too, decide to live on the edge and view 3D video, two additional things are required: a 3D source and a set of 3D glasses. Sources include 3D Blu-ray Disc players, DirecTV (scheduled to go live in June), certain cable TV providers, and PCs outfitted with special graphics hardware that outputs 3D video.
TV PARTY -- Plenty of new TVs feature a Yahoo! widgets bar, which now includes social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Some new services even let you create custom widgets that can be picked up by any TV outfitted with the Yahoo! widgets engine.
Just days before boarding a plane in January for the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I made a point of doing something that many other folks the world over had been doing in droves: I watched Avatar at my local IMAX 3D theater. And I don’t think I’m alone in saying that it was the most involving 3D movie I’d ever seen. The distinct illusion of depth conveyed by the image projected on that massive IMAX screen was an entirely new sensation. In many ways, Avatar was the greatest movie experience I’d ever sat through.