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3D TV Screen Size
3D TV Screen Size
Manufacturers usually release a 3D TV model as a series; that is, the 3D TV screen sizes differ but the technology and feature set are the same. For example, the 46-inch Sony Bravia KDL NX720 is equivalent to the larger 60-inch Bravia KDL NX720 in all respects but for 3D TV screen size and the price; the 46-inch model is well within the Cheapism price niche while the 60-inch version, which starts at nearly $2,400, is far beyond it.
It can be hard to judge exactly how large a set you should buy. Much depends on the room you're parking it in, although there are several rules of thumb. CNET suggests the following: a minimum 3D TV screen size of 32 inches for a bedroom TV and 40 inches or more for a living room. Some people use another guide that CNET mentions: viewing distance from the 3D TV should be 1.5 to 2 times the 3D TV screen size. For example, if you have a 60-inch TV, you'd sit about 7.5 feet (90 inches) to 10 feet (120 inches) away from the screen. If your TV room is a bit cozier, a 3D TV screen size of 46 inches might be a better fit (the recommended sitting distance would be 5.75 feet to 7.6 feet, or 69 to 92 inches).
3D TV Inputs/Outputs.No matter what kind of cheap 3D TV you buy, you want one with a variety of inputs and outputs to mesh with all your other electronics. The most important input on a discount 3D TV is the HDMI port. Most TV manufacturers recommend that you use version 1.4 HDMI cables, which provide the super-speedy connection necessary for transmitting 3D images.
All the budget 3D TVs we researched have more than one HDMI port, and most have four, which should be plenty. The models on our list also include high-speed USB 2.0 ports so you can attach a USB device to view photos on the TV, for example. Cheap 3D TVs feature a handful of other inputs, as well, such as component and composite inputs that are compatible with older electronics, including VCRs and basic DVD players. Whichever 3D TV screens size you choose, make sure it has enough inputs to support all your gear; e.g., game console, 3D Blu-ray player, DVD player, computer, VCR, or anything else you might dream of connecting to a TV.
As an aside, you'll need some sort of 3D player to watch 3D movies on a 3D TV. 3D Blu-ray players currently available include the Sony BDP-S570 (starting at $150, Amazon). Sony's PlayStation can also play 3D movies thanks to a recent software update (update v.3.50, to be specific) that you can download. Some networks, such as ESPN, are experimenting with 3D content, but regular 3D programming over satellite or cable is still relatively rare.
3D TVs Miscellaneous Features.We noticed that one feature TV manufacturers promote heavily is the refresh rate. This number is measured in Hertz (Hz) and refers to the number of times per second the image is redrawn on the 3D TV screen, regardless of size; of course, the faster the better. When high-def television first became popular, TV refresh rates tended to top out at about 60Hz to 120Hz. Now, 3D TV makers are using new techniques to push the refresh rate up to 600Hz. These faster refresh rates should allow for smoother, better picture quality from 3D sources. Refresh rates of 240Hz are fairly common among entry-level 3D TVs and should be sufficient for 3D and 2D content.
A new 3D TV means adding yet another remote to your already-full coffee table. If possible, check the remote first-hand for tactile feedback. You should be able to tell by touching the remote which button you're pushing so you can use it without taking your eyes off the screen.
One specification you can safely ignore when shopping for a budget 3D TV is the dynamic contrast ratio, or the difference between the darkest and lightest pixels the TV displays. There are no hard and fast rules or universally accepted guidelines for measuring a TV's contrast ratio, so manufacturers can (and do) exaggerate this number to a ridiculous degree. This specification simply isn't helpful when comparing 3D TVs. What matters is static contrast ratio, which we discuss above (see page 2 of this buying guide).
Don't Bother Cheap 3D TVs
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
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