Get the Big Picture on 3D TVs

Are 3D TVs about to take over living rooms the same way 3D films are taking over in theaters? Not quite, industry analysts say - but that doesn't mean manufacturers are giving up on 3D viewing at home. In fact, the 3D viewing experience has come quite a long way over the past few years, with 3D televisions becoming cheaper, higher-quality and more energy-efficient. Still, no matter how good the picture looks in 3D, there are several benefits to enjoying your favorite shows in traditional 2D format. 3D content is still fairly lacking, as well, so even if you're a die-hard 3D lover, you won't be able to watch everything in 3D just yet. The good news is, 3D content is picking up speed right along with the sales of 3D televisions, and since most 3D TVs also function in standard 2D format, you won't miss out on anything by switching over to a 3D setup.

If you're in the market for a new television, cashing in on the 3D trend is a good way to go, especially if you want the same 3D quality you'd get at the theater. 3D TVs released after 2010 will give you the same high-resolution, color-correct 3D image you get watching a 3D movie at the theater, which is a far cry from the anaglyph 3D from the days of red-and-blue glasses. The only real difference is the size of the screen and how far away you'll sit from it. 

Still not sure a 3D TV is right for you? There are a lot of myths and facts to sort through when considering a 3D TV purchase. Check out the most common myths and facts below when deciding whether a 3D TV is the right choice for you!

7 Active Myths | Suggest a Myth
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MYTH: Glasses must be worn at all times with 3D TVs, and who wants that?

You need 3D glasses only for viewing content that's broadcast in 3D, and 3D programming only appears on certain channels. On non-3D channels, a 3D television is no different than any other kind of TV out there, only its picture quality may be better because of the set's extra processing power.

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MYTH: Good 3D TVs are way more expensive than standard HDTVs.

This may have been true when 3D televisions first started hitting the market, but now there's almost no difference in price between 3D TVs and standard 2D televisions. Think of 3D viewing as a mode that most modern televisions are capable of. If a 3D TV is expensive, it's usually just because the set is a really high-end model, and not because of its 3D capabilities.

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MYTH: Only a few channels can be watched in HD.

Most cable or satellite TV providers now offer several channels with 3D content. Even more notable is the fact that many new 3D TVs have the technology to convert 2D images into 3D images, which allows any channel to be viewed in 3D. The other thing to consider is the number of 3D movies available in hard copy and through streaming services. People who invest in 3D televisions and glasses can get a lot more mileage from their investments nowadays.

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FACT: 3D glasses must usually be purchased separately from the television.

Unless you get a special deal, chances are you'll need to buy your 3D glasses separately from your new TV. Also, these glasses aren't cheap, and there's no such thing as "one size fits all." Be prepared to spend up to $100 for a single pair of glasses.

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MYTH: The latest 3D TVs don't require wearing special glasses.

With the exception of a few small LCD monitors, even the latest 3D TVs still require the use of glasses. The small LCD monitors that don't require glasses can only be viewed by people who are directly in front of the screens, which isn't practical for the living room. That said, researchers are working on improving 3D technology in hopes of doing away with the need for glasses, but that's still a long ways off.

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FACT: Some 3D movies and shows look really bad.

It's true. While some movies look great in 3D, other movies - especially older movies that have been remastered - often don't fit the bill. However, many of today's newer movies are made with 3D viewing in mind, and viewing these newer movies in 3D is a much higher-quality experience. In short, don't judge the entire 3D industry just because of some bad apples. On the whole, picture quality in 3D movies is already significantly better than a few years ago.

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MYTH: Only LED screens are worthwhile 3D TV monitors.

Don't let salespeople try to sell you on the most expensive type of HDTV - the LED screen - just because you want a 3D TV. It honestly doesn't matter whether you want a plasma, LCD or LED screen, because each type of HDTV is capable of high-quality 3D TV images. The key is learning the specific features of each set; you'll find things such as black levels, refresh rate and resolution to be far more important for the quality of your 3D viewing experience.