3-D popping up in more than just movies

August 3, 2010 5:32:46 PM PDT
You've probably noticed how many movies are coming out in 3-D these days. It's a lot and it's a phenomenon not just limited to film.

There are lots of products hitting the market now from TV's for your home, to computers to hand-held devices. 3-D costs more. Is it worth it?

Watching 3-D TV isn't just about sports or movies. More and more 3-D video games are coming out. At Consumer Reports' labs, the games are creating quite a buzz. Video games are just one of many 3-D products now on the market. There are also 3-D laptops. But, Consumer Reports tests on an Acer laptop showed that the 3-D effects aren't very exciting and the viewing angle is limited.

But, Consumer Reports' Terry Sullivan says that one 3-D point-and-shoot camera is more promising. The Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W1 camera is pricey at $600, but it shoots 3-D photos and videos.

"It's really cool that you can watch 3-D video on this camera without needing to wear special glasses, but you have to shoot it horizontally, not vertically," he says.

However, take a pass on the camera's $500 3-D digital frame. Tester Rich Fisco saw double images and experienced eyestrain. And, what about those latest 3-D TVs being tested at Consumer Reports? They include a 63-inch plasma from Samsung and a 40-inch Sony LCD. Testers are still finding BIG differences in performance.

"So far, we're finding that plasma is a better technology for 3D and when it comes to screen size, bigger is definitely better for 3-D's immersive experience with movies and video games," Jim Willcox says.

If you're looking to buy a high-end TV right now, go ahead and get one that's 3-D. Top-rated are the Panasonic VT-20 and VT-25 series, which start at about $2,500. But, there are other expenses like additional glasses, which cost more than $100 each and you'll need a 3-D Blu-Ray player for movies. Those run $200 to $400.

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2010. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)


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