LAS VEGAS--Anybody who kept track of the news and highlights from CES this year knows that, as predicted, one trend dominated everything else: 3D. And since you'll need a new TV--and glasses!--to view the new 3D movies, games and TV programs, it follows that the main TV-related announcements all centered on 3D-compatibility.
But before I get into the nitty-gritty of actual announcements, it's worth taking a step back for some perspective on 3D. Here are a few general things to remember as you sift through 3D coverage from the show.
The first 3D TVs should ship in "spring" of this year--likely later rather than earlier--at which time we'll publish reviews
. Until then we can't say how they'll actually perform in the real world. The models shown at CES were not final versions, and their picture quality in show demos is subject to change. The 3D TVs announced at the show are the most expensive in their respective manufacturers' product lines, although we don't expect them to cost much more than current high-end models. Aside from Vizio, nobody announced pricing on any 3D TVs. The new 3D TVs use technology that's similar to what's seen in IMAX 3D and other commercial 3D theaters, and it's superior to the technology typified by the cardboard glasses with color filter lenses. As far as we know, there's no way to upgrade ANY current HDTV to be compatible with the new 3D display technologies. Update: Mitsubishi announced an adapter box
that would enable their current and older 3D-capable, DLP-based rear-projection models to work with 3D. You can watch normal TV and HDTV on a 3D TV with no problem. For a true 3D experience, you'll need new 3D content, whether it's a 3D TV channel, a 3D Blu-ray Disc, or a 3D video game. No such content is widely available now, and small amounts will trickle out throughout 2010. (The first 3D TV channels will likely be on DirecTV in June). Not everyone can enjoy the 3D experience, and many people cannot see 3D at all or suffer headaches or other ill effects from it. We recommend anyone who's considering a 3D TV to first watch a few 3D movies in the theater to see how it works for them. Then remember that TVs are a lot smaller. All of the CES announcements are subject to change, and most will certainly be modified as the year progresses. Check out CNET's 3D TV FAQ
for more details.
Now that that's taken care of, let's check out the major TV announcements.
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