Chinese astrologers may have 2010 pinned as the year of the tiger, but after attending this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, we’re pretty sure it will be the year of the 3D TV. With all the major TV companies pulling veils off of brand new 3D sets at CES 2010, you can rest assured the market for stereoscopic viewing will be huge by the fall. What’s on the horizon? Take a look.
Panasonic pledged it would make 3D a reality at CES 2009, and this time around, it hasn’t failed to deliver. The company’s Viera VT25 displays are the only plasmas on our list, boasting a 5,000,000:1 native contrast ratio and new phosphor technology that allegedly allows for quicker image switching – a necessity for 3D. Panasonic should be one of the first to market with 3D tech, launching five sets between 50 and 65 inches this spring. As usual, prices haven’t yet been announced.
Toshiba’s new flagship line is loaded to the gills with features, of which 3D capability is just another bullet point. The main attraction is a built-in Cell processor, which allows it to performed much more advanced image processing – including converting 2D content to 3D. It will also offer a built-in hard drive, Zira2 localized dimming (which looks even better than last year’s SV670 in head-to-head comparisons) and Net TV for access to streaming services like Vudu and Netflix. The sets will come in either 55 or 65 inches later this year.
All of the TVs on our list have slimmed down significantly thanks to LED edge lighting, but Samsung’s LED 9000 sets a stunning new standard in thin. At just 9mm deep, it’s about as thick as a number two pencil. As a result, all the inputs have moved to a separate box which connects wirelessly to the actual display. Even the remote has gone extreme: it’s has a touch-screen that can double as a separate, portable TV when you don’t want to miss your show on the trip to the kitchen. Besides playing 3D content, Samsung also claims it will be able to convert 2D to 3D like Toshiba’s Cell-equipped models. Pricing and availability are still up in the air, but you can expect to spend a mint on these beauties.
Sony’s latest top-tier XBR eschews LED backlighting with localized dimming for a slimmer edge-lit profile, and will be the first Sony line to support 3D. (The company will also launch the XBR-HX900 line, which gets fatter but adds localized dimming.) It sports Sony’s new “monolithic design,” which means edge-edge-edge glass with an incorporated gloss black bezel. The LX900 line will launch in the fall in sizes between 40 and 60 inches in the summer, with prices to be announced.
Technically, LG advertises the LE9500 as merely “3D-ready,” meaning you’ll probably have to shell out for 3D glasses and download a firmware update to make it work when LG finally sorts everything out. In the meantime, it offers a slender chassis less than an inch thick and a bezel only a third of an inch thick, offering the illusion of nearly edge-to-edge picture. It will sell in 47- and 55-inch sizes later this year, but LG hasn’t detailed prices or launch dates just yet.