December is an excellent month to take advantage of sales on toys, electronics such as TVs, kitchen cookware and more.
3D TV Reviews
3D TVs Performance
It's clear from the 3D TV reviews we read that 3D technology still has room for improvement, even though experts agree that the current generation of 3D TVs is better than its predecessor. The video processing technology for 3D is complicated and continues to be a work in progress, and almost all 3D TVs have some weak spots when presenting 3D content; crosstalk, for example, is a common problem.
Samsung's D8000 series (51-inch set starting at $1,250) is one of the better TVs when it comes to playing 3D content. A 3D TV review by CNET describes the picture quality as superb, with a minimum of crosstalk, and Digital Trends gives a high-sign to the realistic 3D effect. The Samsung D8000 also wows experts with its outstanding 2D picture quality. It earned an Editor's Choice award from PC Mag in part due to its solid contrast ratio, a measure that testing by Television Info found to be 3014:1. (Television Info tests the static contrast ratio rather than the dynamic contrast ratio, which is the number TV manufacturers typically advertise. A TV's static contrast ratio is a more accurate measure of its ability to display black levels compared to its peak brightness.) Other 3D TV reviews extol the color accuracy of the 2D display, which Digital Trends says looks totally fine right out of the box (no need to fiddle with the settings very much). Experts did notice a few motion artifacts, but nothing too objectionable.
The Sony Bravia KDL NX720 (46-inch set starting at $1,080) dazzles reviewers with its 2D prowess (the primary reason for its appearance on our list) but engenders less love for its 3D capabilities. CNET's 3D TV review says the Bravia KDL NX720 series is among the best in its class with traditional 2D content but stuttering and significant crosstalk are clearly visible in 3D mode. The color is a tad warm (reddish hue), according to Television Info, which also reports some flickering but only minimal crosstalk. The 2D display, on the other hand, exhibits impressive black levels and higher-than-average peak brightness, two factors that combine to produce a contrast ratio that Television Info measured at a knock-out 4616:1. Although the color temperature is a tad off, says this 3D TV review, most viewers won't notice. In 3D TV reviews on Amazon, consumers echo the experts' praise, lauding the vivid images and noting that the Bravia KDL NX720 is especially good for video games.
Reviewers generally commend the 3D performance of the LG Infinia LW5600 (47-inch set starting at $1,000). The 3D TV review by Digital Trends cheers the bright, crisp picture and good image detail and says the 3D effect exceeds expectations despite the less immersive effect of the Infinia LW5600's passive 3D technology. The near absence of crosstalk wins a cheer from CNET, which nonetheless adds that some artifacts (e.g., small halos and clouds of light) make an occasional and unwelcome appearance. In 2D mode, says Engadget, picture quality is good and black levels are deeper than average for a model with an edge-lit LED screen. Reviews also praise color accuracy but note that some artifacts show up in motion tests.
The 3D experience with the Panasonic Viera TC-PST30 (42-inch set starting at $1,200) is solid but imperfect, assert 3D TV reviews. Black levels aren't as deep as the impressive blacks displayed with 2D content, says CNET, and some crosstalk is apparent. A 3D TV review by Television Info describes the color temperature as inconsistent (i.e., sometimes too warm and sometimes too cool) and grouses about crosstalk and motion artifacts (e.g., momentary blocks and/or light strips of color). Still, reviewers conclude that overall picture quality and color accuracy are better than good, and the contrast ratio with 2D content is superb.
Crosstalk problems dim the star of the LG Infinia PZ950 (50-inch set starting at $979). A review in Trusted Reviews says crosstalk is noticeable in darker scenes while CNET says the amount of crosstalk with this model is greater than what you see on most comparable models. Assessments of color accuracy are divided. CNET praises the excellent color and uniformity across the screen while Television Info groans about poor color accuracy, noting that reds and blues are particularly off; both agree that black levels are too light. Some 3D TV reviews contend that this model isn't suitable for video games owing to considerable lag between the game console and the TV -- a view confirmed in a consumer write-up on Amazon.
The cheapest 3D TV we researched, the Toshiba TL515U, delivers a decent 3D experience for a truly entry-level model with passive 3D technology. Crosstalk is kept to a minimum, according to 3D TV reviews, but CNET notes that artifacts, like jagged edges along lines, are clearly visible. Television Info says black levels aren't very deep, and the color temperature tends to run warm (too red); tests pegged the contrast ratio at 681:1 -- not nearly as good as the other cheap 3D TVs on our list. Some reviewers also carp about fluctuations in the backlight, which harms picture quality. Additionally, disappointment with the Toshiba TL515U reflects the glacial start-up time -- up to 30 seconds from the moment you press the power button until the TV gets going.
Sony XBR HX929 Review
LG PZ950 Review
Toshiba TL515U Review
LG LW5600 Review
Panasonic TC-PST30 Review
Samsung PND8000 Review
Sony KDL NX720 Review
LG Infinia 47LX9500 LCD 3D HDTV
Samsung UN46C8000 LCD 3D HDTV
Mitsubishi 738 series
Panasonic VIERA VT25 Plasma 3D HDTV
Good deals on electronics, tools, home goods, and leftover Halloween inventory about in November, but hold off on winter clothing and toys.
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