I will do my best to explain what this is, what is required in order to get this, and the obvious advantages as well as the disadvantages.

How it works:  3D is basically tricking your eyes which results with your brain thinking that there is something right in front of you when in fact there is not.  3D technologies works in many different ways, Wikipedia offers a pretty thorough explanation of each type available.  Now each manufacturer will embrace one of the different types of technology as each will believe one is better than the other.  Instead of offering my opinion, I would advise that you walk into a store and judge for yourself to see which you prefer.  Keep in mind at the end of the day it is you who will have to live with it.
Look for things like image shadowing, the effectiveness, and simply which picture you like best.  Majority of the big box retailers have numerous demos setup.

Now onto what you would need to purchase in order to get that 3D image!  First, be advised that right now you will need to purchase glasses, which you will need to wear in order to get that 3D image.  Just like when you go to see a 3D movie at the Cineplex.  Some TVs come with 1 or 2 pairs of 3D glasses but typically you would need more depending on the size of your family.

When shopping for a 3DTV, be aware of a trap involved.  Some TVs will say 3D and others will say 3D Ready.  “Ready” is somewhat problematic.  When a TV is full 3D, it would imply that it is capable of converting 2D (regular shows you are accustomed to) images to 3D.  Typically this also means that the TV is good to go right out of the box.  When its “ready” it means you get to spend more on an adapter or additional devices which would help it display a 3D picture.
Moving forward, a full 3DTV can covert anything you put on the screen to 3D, but it’s using mathematical algorithms to produce that picture; which may not be entirely accurate but effective.   So this is similar to “up converting” DVD players we had prior to Blu-Ray/HD DVD players to get a 1080p signal.  What I’m trying to explain is that these TVs do a pretty decent job of converting a basic show like Seinfeld to a 3D image.  The only way to get a real 3D picture is to watch a program or movie which has been recorded with a 3D camera.  When you want to watch a basic 2D show in 3D, then going with a 3DTV is your only solution and simply be satisfied with the quality it produces.

3D Blu-Ray Players can play these movies which were recorded with a 3D camera and would give you the best picture possible.  Also if you have a 3D ready television, then you can simply buy a 3D capable Blu-Ray player and see movies in 3D.  This would be the ideal solution for those who simply want to watch the occasional movies in 3D.  So that’s the difference between 3DTV and 3D Ready.  3DTV is capable of producing a 3D image of any signal it receives.  3D Ready is only capable of giving a 3D image if and only if it’s provided by an external source like 3D Blu-Ray or a 3D broadcast through your cable/satellite provider.

What’s the difference between Blu-Ray and 3D Blu-Ray you ask?

This is going to take some time to explain.  So remember certain movies like “Journey to the center of the earth” amongst others which were released in 3D.   You would have purchased and played it with your regular old DVD player.  The movie package came with the typical Red-Blue tinted paper glasses and you were good to go.  So here’s the problem: they won’t be releasing 3D movies like that anymore.  3D is now a movie disc format like a DVD or CD or a Blu-Ray disc.  This means you now need a Blu-Ray player which will play the 3D format. 
Ok so to recap: You can buy a 3DTV and you will get the following:

  1. Watch regular broadcasts in 3D (using the TV’s built-in internal processors )
  2. Use your regular DVD or Blu-ray player to watch movies in 3D (again by using the TV’s built-in internal processors)
  3. Also watch anything in 2D should you want, be advised with 3DTVs, you can turn off the 3D feature.
  4. TV will be ready to display a 3D picture when they start broadcasting through your cable or satellite provider.
  5. Next problem.  Let’s say you are really into the 3D technology, you don’t mind wearing the glasses and you need to see everything in 3d.  You want to watch Seinfeld.  I’m sure you’re aware Seinfeld wasn’t recorded with 3D cameras.  In this situation you will need a full 3DTV in order for it to be converted to 3D.  The picture would be pretty good, but don’t expect the same experience you had when you went to watch Avatar.

If you were to buy a 3D Ready TV:

  1. You can watch 3D provided that the signal is given to the TV in 3D format, i.e. via a 3D ready Blu-ray Player or other means.
  2. TV will be able to display a 3D picture when they start broadcasting through your cable or satellite provider.
  3. You will NOT be able to convert a basic 2D show to 3D right out of the box.

3D Blu-Ray players are recommended if you are into the whole 3D experience since you will get the true picture intended by the director.

Hopefully that explains what 3DTV or 3D Ready and in which situations you need a regular Blu-Ray or a 3d Blu-Ray player.  You should now be wondering what the difference is between a regular HDTV and the new 3D TV or 3D Ready TVs. The key difference is that the newer TVs will accept a 120 Hz signal input.  Which means it can display a different pictures for each eye with different wavelengths which work together with the 3D glasses to give you that 3D image.  Your older HDTVs may have the 120 or 240 Hz processor, but its internal, does not accept an external signal.

Advantages/Disadvantages:  Obvious advantage is you get a 3D picture! Disadvantage is that you have to wear the glasses.  Ask yourself the following questions. 

  1. How often do you plan on watching 3D shows or movies?
  2. Are you willing to wear the glasses to watch the movie/show?
  3. Did you start wearing contacts to avoid wearing glasses?
  4. Are you willing to spend upwards of 250 dollars on each pair of glasses which your dog or kids will chew or accidentally step on?  (Every manufacturer has different type of glasses you will need to get)

So the main concern is that you have expensive glasses that you will need to wear.  There are certain manufacturers developing TVs where you will see a 3D image without glasses but you are restricted to where you can sit with respect to the TV.  You are also restricted to the size of the TV which will be available in the near future.

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