You might not be particularly fussed about 3D TVs, but manufacturers are desperately pushing the technology. LG is taking a different tack to most by using passive technology on all its 2011 TVs. That means they use cheaper glasses, but provide lower resolution 3D images than active 3D TVs, which use expensive glasses, but deliver Full HD 3D pictures.
The 55-inch LG 55LW650T is currently the highest-end set in this new passive 3D range, and costs around £2,000, but comes bundled with seven pairs of 3D glasses -- enough for most families and a few guests. But how does the TV stack up against the active 3D competition?
Despite the hefty price tag, this isn't the sexiest looking telly we've seen from LG. It lacks the seamless one-sheet-of-glass design used on some older LG sets. Instead, like most other manufacturers' TVs, there's a small 3mm or so step between the surface of the display and the screen surround.
Nevertheless, it does have an attractive transparent outer edge that blends beautifully with the rest of the bezel and we're fans of the new, more angular looking pedestal stand.
At 30mm, the screen is very slim for such a large TV. This does mean you have to use small adaptor cables to connect to some of the ports, such as the Scart socket and component inputs. Most people are now likely to hook up their gear via HDMI, however, and LG provides four of these inputs on the left-hand side of the TV.
As with most of today's sets, the 650T has a Freeview HD tuner onboard and LG has also kitted it out with a pair of USB ports. These can be used to play back music, pictures and videos from USB keys or hard drives. We tried it out with a few different formats, including DivX and MKV HD files, and it had no problems playing them back.
You can also stream these formats over a network thanks to the LAN port and the set includes LG's new smart TV platform too. The service offers a pretty broad range of content, including BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Picasa and the AceTrax movie on-demand service. There's even a full Web browser, so you can visit pretty much any site on the Net (although Flash sadly isn't supported).
Using passive rather than active 3D sets this TV apart from most of its rivals. The main advantage is passive glasses are much cheaper to produce than active glasses -- they're the ones you usually get at the cinema. The set comes with seven pairs, but you can buy more for around £2 each, compared to the £100 or so you'll pay for a pair of active specs. The glasses are lighter and more comfortable to wear, too, and works with all currently available 3D services, including.
Whereas active sets produce two distinct Full HD 3D images for each eye and then use the active glasses to shutter between them, passive sets instead produce the 3D effect by creating a single image that contains the information for the left and right side pictures. This cuts the real resolution to half that of active sets.