3DTVs: Key Buying Tips

3D Active Shutter

While all of the 3D TVs on the current market today the viewer to wear 3D glasses, there are several key differences that you should keep in mind when picking your 3D TV.

By far, the most common form of 3D glasses are called active shutter. If you've stood in in an electronics store and tried out a 3D TV with a pair of glasses that resembled heavy sunglasses, then you've experienced active shutter. These glasses are battery powered and have a bit of weight to them, especially when compared to the light, plastic RealD 3D glasses used in theaters. They require battery power because the actual 3D effect is produced within the glasses themselves rather than on the screen. The lenses sync with the television and flicker on and off, switching the image from eye to eye faster than you can detect, creating a 3D image.

If you decide to go with an active shutter 3D TV, there are some things you should note. First, since the glasses are battery powered, they will either have to be recharged regularly or have the batteries replaced from time to time. The replaceable battery is typically a CR2025 “coin” battery, identical to those found in wrist watches, so there will be a small added cost in the future, albeit a minimal one.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember, especially if you decide to pick up a few extra pairs of active shutter glasses with your TV, is that not all glasses are created equal. They all use the same technology to display 3D, but the way they communicate with the television can vary between manufacturers. The sync type comes in the form of radio frequency (RF), DLP Link, infrared (IR), or Bluetooth. These different types are not interchangeable.

Before you buy extra glasses, especially if you are trying to save some money by purchasing glasses made by a third-party manufacturer, it's vital to be sure the sync technology matches your new TV.

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October 27, 2011
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