x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

How to get the most out of 3D TV

The Life: Are 3D televisions any good, and how can you get the most for your money?

A Sony 3D television is displayed in Las Vegas.
A Sony 3D television is displayed in Las Vegas.

The first 3D movie process was patented more than a century ago and since then the pursuit of an extra dimension has evolved many times.

Imagine what audiences who screamed at 1954's 3D blockbuster The Creature from the Black Lagoon would have made of James Cameron's stunning box office smash Avatar.

Now 3D is entering its latest transformation, moving from the big screen to the small screen - well, the big small screen to be precise.

There is an increasing depth of choice in 3D television makes and models, but are they any good? And more importantly, are they worth the money?

The first question is easier to answer: yes, but at a price. Money can buy you a visually stunning experience but you have to go big. The secret to a rich 3D experience is the immersive quality - the bigger the TV, the more it engulfs your field of vision and drags you into the picture.

In technical talk, that means you need to look at a 1,080-pixel (high definition, or HD) unit. This is the higher quality image that allows you to sit closer to the screen - 1.7 metres away from a 42-inch set or 2.2 metres away from a 55-inch set.

Your other choice is the lower quality 720-pixel set, but with this you'll have to sit 2.5 metres away from a 42-inch set, and 3.3 metres away from a 55-inch set.

Smaller than 42 inches? Forget it. In 3D, size really does matter.

So are they value for money? Compared with 2D TVs there is still a large gap in price. You can expect to pay double to add a dimension.

But that has come down dramatically from a year ago when the price difference was fivefold.

At stores such as Carrefour and Plug-ins Electronix you can buy a superslim LED 55-inch HD 3D television with up to four pairs of glasses, plus a 3D Blu-ray player with cinema surround-sound system for Dh13,000 (US$3,539).

Brand-wise, you need to stick to the market leaders Panasonic, Sony, LG and Samsung to ensure quality, with prices starting at about Dh6,999 for a basic 42-inch model.