HDTV Buyer’s Kit: 3DTV Bonus

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HDTV Buyer’s Kit: 3DTV Bonus
In this special edition of the HDTV Buyer's Kit, you’ll get the latest scoop on 3DTVs, including package deals that come with Blu-ray players and 3D glasses and what’s available to watch. In case you missed our first installment, HDTV Features That Matter, you can still view it here.
Inside 3DTVs
Buying a 3D-capable TV is a good way to future-proof your HDTV purchase. If you haven’t already been to Best Buy or Costco and tried on the 3D glasses to watch their 3DTV demo, trust us, it’s impressive. It’s like a live-action version of the View-Master. Although 3D content has been slow coming, with only four 3D movies for rent on Netflix (one is a Pilates video), and around 11 Blu-ray 3D DVDs for sale, it seems that satellite and cable providers are picking up the slack. DIRECTTV is the first to offer On-Demand 3D programming, an all-3D channel, and ESPN in 3D. In fact, they partnered up with Panasonic to broadcast the 2010 MLB All-Star Game in 3D on DIRECTV’s new 3D channel, n3D (Channel 103). We can’t help but wonder how many people dodged the baseball being thrown down home plate into their living room. Comcast, Cox, and Time Warner are jumping onboard as well, so expect 3D content to thrive in the next year.

3DTVs have remained in the $2000 to $5000 range since they hit the market, but we suspect prices will begin to dip soon, thanks to Black Friday, the holidays, and Samsung. Here’s what’s happening now.

Hot 3DTVs
Panasonic Packs Value
The initial 3DTV offering from Panasonic is available exclusively at Best Buy and consists of a Blu-ray 3D player, the DMP-BDT300 ($399.99), and their 50-inch TC-P50VT20 3D-enabled 1080p plasma HDTV ($2499.99). You get one pair of active shutter 3D glasses with the TV, and you can buy additional glasses for $149.99. Panasonic also offers a VT25 series of 50 to 65-inch 3DTVs. The TC-P50VT20 was recently tested by HDGuru.com, and they called it an “excellent HDTV,” giving it 4 out of 5 “hearts”.

Their 3DTV package includes Panasonic's VIERACast platform, available on its 3D Blu-ray players that stream services like Netflix, Amazon, Pandora and YouTube. They feature BD-Live support and a Wi-Fi adapter. The new DMP-BDT350 Blu-ray player adds DLNA for easy home media sharing and costs around $400.

Panasonic is now offering complimentary 3D DVD vouchers with your TV purchase.

Samsung Offers a Smoking Deal
Samsung’s first of many 3DTVs have started appearing at retailers like Sears and Amazon. Samsung’s 46-inch UN46C7000 LCD 3DTV is 1080p and LED backlit with a 240Hz refresh rate, internet connectivity, Samsung Apps, and “AllShare” DLNA home networking. You can find it for $2199.99. A larger, 55-inch UN55C7000 is now available for $2699.

Hot August Deal Alert: Samsung is positioned to launch a 50’ Plasma PN50C490 3DTV for under $1000 in August. If you’re okay with the max HD resolution being 720p, this is a solid deal to look out for.

Sony Gives Away Glasses
Sony just launched the LX900 series 3DTVs. They’re Internet-ready with built-in Wi-Fi and feature LED-Edge-lit backlighting on an LCD screen with a 240Hz refresh rate in 1080p. Available in a 52-inch for $4000 and a 60-inch for $5000, the LX900 series include two pairs of 3D glasses and the all-important 3D emitter.

Sony also sells HX800 and HX900 3DTVs, but they require you to buy a $50 external infrared emitter to run the active shutter glasses. Extra glasses cost around $130 a pair.

Sony is now offering complimentary 3D DVD vouchers with your TV purchase.

LG Bundles High Refresh Rates With THX
LG just released their LX9500 and LX6500 available in a 47-inch and a 55-inch. They’re Internet-ready, display 1080p with wireless connectivity, and feature LED backlighting. They connect to LG Netcast for streaming content from Netflix, YouTube, and Yahoo. The LX9500 comes with THX certification and delivers a 480Hz refresh rate. The LX6500 has a 240 Hz refresh rate but is not THX certified.

LG’s new 3D Blu-ray player, the BX580 offers features including HDMI 1.4, Wi-Fi connectivity, and DLNA.

LG just announced a sweet package deal that includes an LG LX9500 or LX6500 will come with an LG 3D Blu-ray player and two pairs of 3D active shutter glasses. When you check out, you’ll get a $100 instant rebate and a complimentary voucher for the IMAX Edition of Under the Sea in Blu-ray 3D.

Third-Party 3D Glasses That Work
With Most 3DTVs

XpanD has been providing Panasonic with their active shutter glasses and recently announced that they were going to be offering their glasses on sale for around $150 a pair. XpanD claims their glasses will work with most manufacturers using active shutter type glasses. We’ll believe it when we see it, although we are aware of efforts to “standardize” glasses, and we suspect the signals to turn the “shutters” on and off shouldn’t be all that hard to interpret.

More HDTV Buying Info Here
HDTV Buying Guide
These are some of the top features to consider, but there are more features to learn about like backlight technology, HDMI 1.4, and internet connectivity? Check out our complete HDTV Buying Guide.

Coming up in your next newsletter:
How to Spot a Solid Deal
We'll go over some of the latest trends and list some hand-picked deals to get you the most HDTV for your money.

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The Retrevo Gang

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