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ConsumerReports.org Unveils First Ratings of 3D TVs; Panasonic 3D Sets Among Best HD Models Ever Tested

New Ratings of 20 3D-models and over 120 Plasma & LCD TVs

YONKERS, N.Y., Jan. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In its first-ever Ratings of 3D TVs, ConsumerReports.org has found that the some of the best performing 3D-capable TVs were among the best overall HD performers. The Panasonic VT20 and VT25 plasma models were among the best HD sets that ConsumerReports.org has ever tested. In addition to excellent HD performance, they displayed the least ghosting with 3D programming, and achieved the highest overall scores in Consumer Reports 3D TV Ratings.

The full report, which features Ratings of twenty 3D-capable TVs and more than 120 LCD and plasma HDTVs, is available online at www.ConsumerReports.org.

"TV prices continue to drop even on models with a 3D mode," said Paul Reynolds, Electronics Editor of Consumer Reports. "Some of the models we tested performed exceptionally well in 2D mode so consumers may consider paying the premium for 3D-capability even if they do not plan on using the feature right now."

Overall, most 3D sets were excellent or very good for HD. The 3D-capable LCD models displayed realistic, three-dimensional depth but visible ghosting detracted from the 3D effect. The Sony 3D TVs were best among the LCD models, but only when the viewer's head was perfectly level. In general, plasma sets exhibit less ghosting, which is when double images are visible even when wearing the special 3D glasses needed to see 3D images.

In addition to scores for HD and SD picture quality, viewing angle, and sound quality, the 3D TV Ratings chart includes a score for 3D effect, and identifies how many pairs of glasses that come with each model.

Other things to consider with 3D TV

  • 3D glasses are required. Current 3D TVs require active-shutter glasses, which can be both uncomfortable and pricey, generally costing about $130 to $150 a pair. Some 3D TVs come with one or two pairs but others don't come with any. ConsumerReports.org is beginning to test the first passive 3D TVs, which use lightweight, inexpensive, polarized 3D glasses, similar to those available at movie theaters.
  • 3D content is still limited. But more content, both 3D Blu-rays and 3D broadcasts, is on the way. Dozens of new 3D Blu-ray titles are expected in coming months and current 3D channels such as ESPN 3D and DirecTVs n3D will soon be joined by 3Net, a 24/7 3D channel from Discovery, IMAX and Sony. HBO and Vudu also recently added 3D content.
  • When to buy. 3D TVs make the most sense for early adopters or those who don't mind paying more for a new technology, or for those who are already in the market for a TV and who want to future-proof their purchase. Those looking for the absolute best HD performance should also consider a 3D model, even if they don't plan to use 3D immediately. A 3D TV is also an option for photo and video enthusiasts who expect to purchase a 3D camera or camcorder, and who'd like to look at these images on a larger screen. But those who don't need a new TV or who aren't dying for the 3D experience should bide their time, as they'll likely be rewarded with lower prices, more 3D content, and perhaps less-expensive, more comfortable glasses. Whether buying now or buying later, it's important for consumers to try-out 3D before buying a TV to make sure they are comfortable with the viewing experience.

The complete feature report, "What's new in TVs," is currently available online at www.ConsumerReports.org and will be featured in the March 2011 issue of Consumer Reports available wherever magazines are sold on Tuesday, February 8th. It includes buying advice and Ratings of twenty 3D and more than 120 LCD and plasma TVs; an overview of different TV technologies and features such as LED backlights, 1080p resolution and 120HZ/240Hz; a listing of the most- and least-reliable TV brands; four unexpected ways to use a flat-panel TV; and an update on 3D glasses.

MARCH 2011

The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for advertising or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports® is published by Consumers Union, an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. We accept no advertising and pay for all the products we test. We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports,® ConsumerReports.org ® and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants. Our Ratings and reports are intended solely for the use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our permission. Consumers Union will take all steps open to it to prevent commercial use of its materials, its name, or the name of Consumer Reports.®

SOURCE ConsumerReports.org

Posted by Shane Sturgeon, January 25, 2011 6:26 PM

About Shane Sturgeon

Shane Sturgeon is the Co-Publisher and Chief Technologist of HDTV Magazine, an industry publication with HDTV roots going back to 1984, when Dale Cripps founded The HDTV Newsletter. Today, HDTV Magazine is a leading online resource for HDTV news and information and captures the eyes and imaginations of over 3 million visitors annually. Mr. Sturgeon has a background in information technology and has served in various consulting capacities for Fortune 500 companies such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Verizon Communications, Proctor & Gamble and Nationwide Insurance. He has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Wright State University.