CNET's 3D TV Buying Guide

A quick and easy primer on what today's TV shoppers need to know about the latest feature to compete for your hard-earned dollar: 3D compatibility.

You won't need 3D glasses to read this guide, but you will if you want to take advantage of today's 3D televisions. CNET

To help you, prospective TV shopper, get a handle on 3D terminology and determine whether it's something you should care about, we've put together this handy guide. We think it's a worthwhile read for any TV shopper, even those who have already decided they don't care about 3D at all.

The guide comes in four easy-to-digest courses.

What is 3D TV and why should I care?: Whether you consider it a gimmick or a breakthrough on par with high-def itself, 3D TV is here to stay. Here's an overview of the technology and a few reasons why you should (and shouldn't) give a hoot.

Active vs. passive 3D TVs: The main difference is in the glasses. Active glasses use liquid crystal shutters that run on batteries, whereas passive glasses use simple polarizing lenses, similar to what you'll get in most U.S. 3D theaters.

What about 3D content?: To fully enjoy your 3D TV, you'll need actual 3D content to watch on it. We break down what's available today (hint: not much), from Blu-ray to cable/satellite to streaming video to 3D games.

CNET's 3D recommendations: If you're shopping for a new TV, you may think the decision on whether to get 3D or not is cut-and-dry. Unfortunately, it's not. Here's our best advice on how to think about the 3D feature as you navigate the market.

Read the full 2011 3D TV Buying Guide.

About the author

Section Editor David Katzmaier has reviewed TVs and home entertainment gear at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and He is known to two people on Twitter as "The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics."


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