When Mumbai-based Sunil Khatri went looking for a new TV, he was fascinated by 3D TVs, and the viewing experience those offered. But, one look at their price tags and the accompanying costs to buy 3D glasses for his family of six members convinced him to settle for a 40-inch high definition LED TV, which cost him Rs 42,000. “I was concerned about the steep price one had to dish out for a 3D TV and the need to wear 3D glasses to experience the effects. Besides, I have elderly parents and wasn’t sure how they would take to 3D glasses,” he points out.
So, why anyone should be interested in a 3D TV? It’s not that there are a large number of programmes in 3D available. And, if you want to watch movies in 3D, you will also need a BluRay 3D player and need to buy all your movies in BluRay 3D format. The manufacturers are not ready to hang up their boots on 3D technology. Perhaps that’s a reason why LG, Samsung, Toshiba, Sony and Panasonic are bringing in models where one doesn’t even have to wear 3D glasses and one can consume 2D content as 3D by just pushing a button on their remote. They are promoting the use of cheaper passive 3D glasses (that do not require to be charged and are lighter to wear). All this is expected to push the popularity of 3D TVs.
For the enthusiasts, here are some of the latest 3D TVs that deliver respectable 3D experience.
LG 55LM6700 3D TV
As far as flat panel displays go, 55-inch LG LM6700 is one of the most attractive models. Sporting a barely-there bezel (visible only near the bottom) and its metallic swivel stand, LM6700 has perhaps the most stunning 3D effects on a home television.
A striking feature of LM6700 is the remote, called Magic Remote, that includes just a handful of buttons working just like the Nintendo Wii controller. When you move it, the remote activates an arrow cursor on TV screen. Point the curser at whatever you want on the on-screen menu and click the select button. LG bundles six pairs of glasses, just like the ones that you have had used in a cinema theatre. These glasses are flicker-free, battery-free and cheap to replace.
LG’s Smart TV interface is filled with apps that will bring you movies, games, entertainment videos, news updates, etc. All you need is a good internet connection, and you will see how comfortably it becomes your family computer. A ‘smart’ feature that will impress many is the integrated web browser which is generally terrible in most smart TVs. However, LG has raised the bar with its improved web browser and it is further complimented by the Magic Motion’s ability to point and click.
LG introduced its lineup of TVs using passive 3D in 2011, and this year’s models showcase the technology at its best. In simple words, gamers, TV and movie watchers will be able to watch and play without experiencing any blurring or dizzying effects at all. 3D images simply jump right out at its viewers in full HD without any flickering and crosstalk is minimal. With a good HD signal, even the 2D to 3D will impress. Our only complaint is that the screen is rather glossy and requires positioning the TV in such a direction so that light sources do not reflect off the screen and distract viewers.
PRICE: This 55-inch model is priced at Rs 174,000
Toshiba Regza VL20 3D TV
Toshiba Regza VL20 has a reasonably thin bezel and an angled support stem that connects screen with the base. The body does appear kind of unwieldy due to the bulge at the rear to accommodate the speakers. That explains why the sound quality was just a little better than average. For best results, we recommend that the TV to be hooked to an external speaker system for acceptable audio output levels.
Being a smart TV (can connect to internet), users can download Toshiba remote iPhone app on their devices to manage the TV from iPads or iPhone. Other smart TV functions such as access to Facebook, Picasa and other entertainment apps is a click away. This television is DLNA (digital living network alliance) compatible, and so it is possible to access content like music, pictures and movies from other devices on your network including computers and smartphones. There’s only one set of Toshiba 3D glasses bundled; so, if being it is purchased as a family TV, the customer has to factor in costs of additional eyewear. In terms of connectivity, two USB ports, one HDMI port, a PC port, composite and component ports, and digital audio ports complete the package.
On the 3D front, we found that the glasses (though light and comfortable to wear for 60-90 minutes) dulled the screen’s brightness. There was also some amount of cross talk (the left and right images for each weren’t always completely isolated) leading to somewhat average 3D performance. The Toshiba also has 2D to 3D conversion that adds some depth to the 2D content, but nothing that wowed us. It cannot be compared with original BluRay 3D content we viewed on the Regza VL20.
PRICE: The Toshiba VL20 comes in 40-inch and 46-inch screen sizes and is priced at Rs 75,990 and Rs 85,990 respectively.
Samsung D7000LM 3D TV
The Samsung D7000 sports a transparent glass-like acrylic border hugging the edges of the LCD panel, and this display sits on top of a four-legged stand. While the overall design is highly pleasing to the eye, it does look precariously thin and accident-prone to be kept atop a table.
Smart TV functions, like any other Samsung TV, is a delight to use. You get access to loads of apps, an open internet browser and a good user interface. Arguably, Samsung’s online features trump LG and Toshiba’s by a yard. Where else can you get more than 30 apps that include games, news, social networking and video sources. There’s even a universal search tool that allows viewers to browse all available sources, including the web, for particular TV shows or files.
Samsung has also tweaked the panel to improve colour reproduction, and given that 3D will only occupy a small amount of your viewing time, it’s all the more important that the D7000 is also a great 2D performer. It upscales standard-definition material beautifully, adding detail and sharpness.
Samsung has ensured that 3D glasses are light in weight, user-friendly and can even go over your normal glasses. Users can charge the glasses using Bluetooth in less than three hours and this should last for about 40 hours. The drawback: Just a single pair of active shutter glasses is bundled along with the set.
D7000 converts 2D pictures in to 3D using five different visual depth ‘cues’ versus the two or three used by other brands’ 2D-3D converters. Thus, the result is more image depth producing the best upconverted 3D images. With real 3D content, objects did seem to leap out of the screen and the depth of field was very noticeable.
PRICE: The 46-inch model is priced at Rs 1,53,900.