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Generally, you would need a 3D television set, a 3D content source and 3D glasses to make 3D TV viewing a reality.
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3D Television Set
At the moment, the two types of 3D television technologies available are the active-shutter 3D and passive (polarized) 3D.
Chances are you would be buying an active-shutter type television set. This 3D TV is one that would be well within the budget of most consumers.
The passive type 3D television adopts the 3D technology employed in cinemas, also known as polarized 3D. The cost of producing a passive or polarized 3D TV set is pretty steep. A special panel would need to be fitted in front of the 3D TV set to make 3D viewing possible.
At the moment polarized 3D TV sets are produced to be used in pubs. For instance, in January 2010, LG launched its 47-inch LD920 3D television in pubs across the United Kingdom to view 3D sports content from Sky TV.
The advantage of a polarized 3D TV set is you don’t need expensive glasses to watch 3D content. You can use cheap take-home 3D glasses like the ones they supply you at cinemas.
If you don’t fancy using 3D glasses, then you would have to wait for the arrival of lenticular 3D TV. Toshiba has announced that it will release the glasses-less 3D REGZA GL1 models in December 2010. However, you can only expect 12-inch and 20-inch sets owing to the complexity of the lenticular 3D TV technology.
So, at the moment, you would have to be content with active-shutter 3D television sets.
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With an active 3D TV set, you would need active-shutter glasses to view 3D content. A major drawback of active-shutter glasses is the cost. They are much more expensive than the 3D glasses you used to watch Avatar in the cinema. Some TV sets come bundled with 3D glasses. If they don’t, you would have to fork out about $100 for a pair.
The other quarrel you would have with active-shutter 3D glasses are that they can only be used for a particular model. You can’t use a pair of Sony 3D glasses to view 3D content on a Panasonic 3D TV.
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You can obtain 3D content for television through two main methods. The first is by signing up for a 3D broadcast service. The second is via 3D Blu-ray discs.
3D Broadcast Services
Not many TV broadcast stations are prepared to jump onto the 3D bandwagon yet. They are waiting to study the public reception of 3D TV viewing and the sale of 3D TV sets.
Still, you could check out DirecTV and ESPN’s 3D (sports) programs. Depending on the television station, you may need to upgrade your set top box for a fee to view 3D content on television.
3D Blu-ray Movies
If you plan to watch 3D movies via discs, you’ll need a 3D Blu-ray player. Prices start from $150 upwards.
If you planning to connect the Blu-ray player to your home theater system, make sure it supports HDMI 1.4. Chances are your home theater system supports only HDMI 1.3. Unless you’re planning to get a new system with HDMI 1.4 connectivity, you would want to get a 3D Blu-ray player which supports both HDMI versions.
At the moment there is a limited number of 3D Blu-ray movies available on the market. You would have to fork out anything from $15 to $35 for a 3D Blu-ray movie disc. Chances are your favorite movies may not be available in 3D yet.