We’ve also recently noted impassioned arguments for active 3D technology from other makers, including Sony, Samsung and Panasonic. It isn’t unreasonable to assume that the market can easily support both active and passive 3D technologies, although the first crop of passive 3D sets do suffer from obvious picture artifacts including noticeably reduced resolution and very tight vertical viewing angles.
Time will tell if those issues can be ameliorated or even eliminated. For now though, the best 3D viewing experience is with active shutter 3D technology. Glasses-free 3D is also on the horizon, but prototype demos at trade shows have been far from impressive.
While last year’s 3D models carried a not insignificant price premium relative to their 2D siblings, the price differential with this year’s sets is definitely shrinking, and industry spokespeople often refer to 3D as a feature, not as a category. Certainly the range of 3DTV models and sizes has greatly expanded this year, giving consumers a broader assortment of 3DTV options.
In the front projection segment (which is but a very tiny slice of the total HDTV market), 3D-capable projectors are only slowly trickling in to the market. Look for our next issue for a full review of the Mitsubishi HC9000D 3D-capable projector. Other projector makers are beginning to hint at additional new 3D projectors, and it’s highly likely that at the CEDIA show to be held in Indianapolis in September, additional 3D projectors may be formally introduced.
Some years back I was asked by a pal which was better – plasma or LCD. I simply said “Yes”. While LCD had the definite advantage of a brighter picture, which can be an important consideration for a lot of HDTV buyers, there was also no question back then that in terms of ultimate picture quality, plasma was the hands-down winner, an opinion that still seems to be shared by all of the relatively small pool of legitimate HDTV reviewers out there.
With the emergence of LED backlit and edgelit LCD-based TVs, the paradigm started to shift, and we’ve been highly impressed as to how some of this year’s crop of LED models are delivering really good picture quality, some of which are now nipping at the heels of top-rated plasma sets. Consider the Sony Bravia XBR HX929 LED set reviewed in this issue.
While not cheap, the Sony provides superb contrast with inky deep blacks, excellent shadow detail, very accurate colorimetry (color gamut accuracy), no discernable haloing artifacts (a problem with many local dimming LED backlit displays in years past), and it provides a very wide viewing angle that’s equivalent to a good plasma set—all impressive achievements to be sure.
Still, plasma stalwarts LG, Panasonic and Samsung continue to churn out great performing plasma sets, in both 3D and 2D flavors (it’s basically a three-way plasma party at this point, with numerous other makers abandoning the technology or even exiting the market entirely over the last decade or so).