When Were 3D TVs Introduced?
In 2010, shortly after the release of the 3D Hollywood blockbuster Avatar, Korean company, Samsung, released the first 3D TV. Many of the leading tech companies at the time believed 3D viewing in the home was the future of television. This, however, was not to be, and a few years later in 2017 the manufacture of 3D TVs ceased.
Most of the major TV manufacturers are now concentrating on 4k and HDR technology. Virtual reality is growing in popularity and Samsung have even made TV pilots for VR headsets.
For those still wanting the full 3D cinema experience at home there are still a number of reputable online retailers that can supply new and used 3D TVs. You’re now able to buy a high specification 3D TV for a fraction of the original retail price.
Why Did 3D TV Fail?
Many things contributed to the demise of 3D TV and here are 5 of the main reasons the technology died out.
One of the reasons that in home 3D viewing didn’t take off was the need to wear a pair of special glasses. In order to see a 3D picture on the screen you have to use them or the picture is blurry and not 3D.
Most 3D TVs are supplied with one pair of viewing glasses so that you can watch the TV as soon as it arrives. However, a family of four would need to buy three extra pairs of glasses to share the 3D experience. Furthermore, if you already wear prescription eyeglasses when watching TV, using the 3D glasses can be tricky and uncomfortable.
The additional kit required to get the best viewing experience was another reason that 3D TVs were not a success. To view movies in 3D, consumers needed to buy a Blu-ray DVD player that supports 3D. To get 5.1 surround sound, a home cinema system was needed for the true cinema effect.
All of these extra items needed to create a 3D home cinema are costly and not an option for many consumers.
The angle of viewing makes watching 3D TV more difficult than watching 2D images on a screen. To get the best experience viewers have to keep their head upright so that the image is not distorted. Laying on the sofa whilst watching your movies is not an option with 3D TV.
Lack of Content
Another reason that 3D TV was not as successful as the manufacturers had hoped was a lack of content. To make a TV show or movie in 3D requires more equipment and a lot more work, which costs production companies more money. If the movie or TV show is expensive to make, then the costs of filming are going to be passed on to consumers.
Viewing 3D images on a screen can cause dizziness, nausea and motion sickness and this may be another reason why 3D TV failed. Clinical studies have been carried out that concluded viewing in 3D caused motion sickness. Some viewers also complained of headaches after watching a 3D TV for a period of time.
How Does 3D TV Work?
3D TVs produce display 2 different images and one gets sent to the right eye and one to the left. One image is polarized horizontally and the other is polarized vertically.
In the early days of 3D viewing, getting the images to the eyes meant wearing a pair of glasses with one red lens and one cayan lens. Red light passes through the red lens and blue and green passes through the cayan lens. The 2 images then combine to form the 3D picture.
As technology improved the 3D TV manufacturers developed active glasses which are battery powered and connected to the TV via Bluetooth. These glasses have high speed shutters which control what the viewer sees in either eye. This technology is known as alternate-frame sequencing and it delivers a high quality 3D image.
How to Choose a 3D TV
3D TVs are not cheap and when you’re spending a substantial amount of money on one it’s important to make the correct purchase. The first thing to look at is the size of the screen. 3D TVs are available in various sizes and some of them are huge.
Choose a TV that’s going to be large enough to view but one that doesn’t dominate the room. An 85 inch TV in a tiny apartment is going to take over and not give the viewing experience you’re looking for.
You need to make sure you have got enough room to watch 3D TV and distance from the screen is important. For a 50 inch screen you need to be at least 8 feet away for the best viewing results. For larger screens you’ll need to be further away and taking some measurements before buying a TV is useful.
Check the features on the TV so that it’s going to do all the things you need it to. If you need to plug devices into the TV, ensure there are adequate USB and HDMI ports. If you plan to use the TV for gaming then it’s useful to check that the TV has a gaming mode before buying.
Before buying a 3D TV check what accessories are included in the purchase price. Some of the TVs are supplied with 3D glasses and the cables needed to connect everything. If the TV you plan to buy does not include glasses and cables, you’ll have to factor the price of these into your overall budget.
You should also check your cable or satellite box for compatibility with your potential purchase. You may have to upgrade your receiver if you plan to receive 3D content. Your service provider will be able to advise you on which receiver to use with your Samsung 3D TV.
The Top 3 Samsung 3D TVs
To determine which Samsung 3D TV is the best we’ve looked at three of the top selling models and looked at some of the features and the picture quality.
The Samsung JS900 is available in 55 and 65 inch sizes and the screen is curved. This 4k SUHD smart LED TV has 3D capability and it converts 2D to near 3D quality. The TV surround is brushed silver with a matching base.
The JS9500 comes with Samsung’s One Connect box which enables users to plug devices such as Blu-ray DVD players into it. This means only one cable runs to the TV which keeps things neat and tidy. The TV is supplied with a single pair of Samsung Active 3D glasses and a remote control unit.
The remote control is not the usual type with rows of buttons and instead uses an on screen navigation similar to a computer mouse. The remote is also equipped with a built-in microphone and can be voice activated. Turning off the voice command feature however, is tricky, and some serious searching within the menus is required.
The JS9500 has 4 HDMI ports, 3 USB 2.0 ports and built-in Wi-Fi. Using Samsung’s Smart View 2.0 you can also share content wirelessly with devices including tablets and smartphones.
Picture quality on the curved screen of the JS9500 is good and the black levels are excellent. Colors are clear and sharp and the curved screen is effective in reflecting ambient light. The screen performs well in the brightest of rooms.
The TV has excellent 3D capabilities and the picture remains sharp and realistic. There’s minimal lag or judder in game mode making the JS9500 a good choice for gamers. The Samsung Active glasses supplied perform well and they’re not cumbersome or bulky to wear.
The Samsung JU7100 is a flat screen TV available in 40, 50, 55, 60 and 75 inch screen sizes. The 4K ultra HD smart TV has 3D capability as well as displaying standard 2D pictures. The slimline frame that surrounds the screen and the pedestal style stand are brushed silver.
The JU7100 is supplied with the Samsung One Connect Mini box which is equipped with 3 USB 2.0 and 4 HDMI ports. 3D glasses will have to be purchased separately as there are none supplied with this model. The TV is supplied with a remote control unit which like the JS9500 remote has voice command.
The remote is used to navigate a menu on the screen which is fairly easy to operate. A great feature with this TV is that you can customize some of the menu layouts to suit your preferences. One minor criticism is that the remote does not have backlit keys unlike other Samsung remote control units.
The TV has built-in Wi-Fi and supports Samsung’s Anynet+ which enables the TV to communicate with other Samsung devices. Users can take advantage of Smart View 2.0 for quick and easy streaming.
The JU7100 features precision black technology making the black levels on this TV good. The picture is crystal clear with vivid colors thanks to Samsung’s color enhancement feature. It’s worth noting that when viewing this TV from some angles there is a loss of color saturation.
The JU7100 produces a good 3D image with accurate colors and good contrast. The 3D picture quality is good when converting 2D images with no loss of definition. The TV is a good choice for gamers and there is no noticeable lag when in gaming mode.
The Samsung HU8550 is available in 50, 55, 60, 65, 75 and 85 inch screen sizes. The screen is flat and the 4K ultra HD TV is capable of showing 3D images as well as converting 2D pictures. The TV has brushed metal surround and an attractive low-profile base.
One of the great things about the HU8550 is that it comes with 4 pairs of Samsung Active 3D glasses. The extra 3 pairs make this model a good choice for families that want the 3D viewing experience. The TV comes with 2 remote control units and there’s a standard remote and a touchpad alternative.
The standard remote control is easy to operate which is useful for viewers that prefer a traditionals style remote. The touchpad remote is used to navigate the various menus on the TV screen. There is also a built-in microphone on the touchpad remote allowing for voice activation.
The HU8550 is supplied with the Samsung One Connect Mini box which connects to the TV with a 6 foot cable. The One Connect Mini box feature 4 HDMI ports and 2 USB 2.0 ports. The TV supports Samsung Anynet+ and the back of the TV features a USB 3.0 port and an ethernet port for internet connectivity.
The Samsung HU8550 delivers excellent picture quality and the black levels are good. Color accuracy is excellent and the colors are clear, natural and uniform across the screen. The high quality picture remains sharp even in a brightly lit room.
The 3D mode delivers a good image whilst keeping accurate color and contrast. The Samsung Active 3D glasses are lightweight and comfortable and suitable for watching long movies. There is no lag or picture judder in 3D mode unlike some other models on the market.
Price & Rating
1632 x 961 x 230 mm
66.5" x 38.2" x 2.5"
57.1 x 11.6 x 34.4 in
If you’re a fan of 3D viewing or gaming then choosing one the Samsung 3D TVs is a good choice. They’re well built, include a host of useful features and they can now be found at affordable prices.
It’s not clear whether 3D will make a return in the future and now may be the best time to pick up a 3D TV. You’re still able to watch regular 2D movies and TV shows but having the 3D option is useful.
Featured Image via Amazon
In 2010 there was a revolution in TV manufacture when the first 3D TV’s hit the market. It was hailed as the future of broadcasting with all the major brands battling for a slice of this seemingly profitable boom.
However, it was to be short-lived. Just a few years later and virtually all manufacture of 3D TVs has ceased.
But this does not mean that 3D TV should be dismissed. With retail outlets carrying the substantial stock of these sets, and the active pre-loved market, it’s an opportunistic time to obtain a 3D TV at an extremely reasonable price.
This article will provide some background on 3D TV, the issues it faced and why you should still consider owning one. Furthermore, I will give you a rundown of the top 8 3D TV brands you should look at when searching for a 3D TV.
Why Did 3D TV Brands Cease Production?
In short, as with most business decisions, it came down to demand.
Back in 2009, the director James Cameron released the 3D movie ‘Avatar’ in theaters. A great storyline with incredible 3D effects led many people to claim it would be the future of cinema viewing.
TV brands believed that this appetite for 3D would be mirrored in-home viewing, especially when ‘Avatar’ was promised to be released on 3D Blu-ray. So production of 3D TV sets began with the first releases coming from Samsung.
All the major brands followed suit, rushing to get their products on the market. This was continued with 3rd party content providers such as Vudu, Sky, Netflix and the Blu-ray industry all producing titles. However, the demand never reached the heights that the 3D TV brands anticipated.
Here are 3 possible reasons that 3D TV failed:
To view 3D TV, specialized glasses had to be worn.
3D TV brands could not agree on what format these glasses should take. This meant that many glasses were not interchangeable between TV sets. They might work fine on your main TV, but move to another room or your friend’s house and they could be rendered unusable.
In 2009, both the UK and USA ceased analog TV transmissions and moved to digital. This meant many customers purchased a digital TV in time for this transition. Having so recently invested in new technology, they were reluctant to then buy a 3D TV in addition.
More New Technology
To view in 3D you required a new 3D Blu-ray player and cable or satellite box which involved more expense.
Although there was some initial interest in this new medium, it soon dwindled. By the beginning of 2017, all the major 3D TV brands ceased production.
Why Buy A 3D TV?
3D TV sets are still available. Companies still hold stock and they can still provide a unique and enjoyable experience.
Here’s why purchasing a 3D TV is still a consideration:
What Are the Top 8 3D TV Brands?
There are still many new 3D TVs available, despite new production virtually stopped.
Here are the top brands that lead the market in the best 3D TVs.
This South Korean brand has led the world in technology advancement since its inception. Currently, they own more US patents than any other company.
This attention to innovation has meant that their 3D TVs are considered some of the best available today.
Samsung’s dominance in the TV world has been through their industry changing LED technology. They created the world's first edge-lit LED TV in 2009, which was followed in 2010 by the only 3D LED TV.
Today, their JU7100 series could be considered the best 3D TVs available.
These TVs are primarily 4K Ultra HD, however, can still provide impressive 3D performance and have the important quality of being able to convert 2D to 3D.
In addition, Samsung’s background in smartphone technology is carried through to their 3D TV lines. A ‘mirroring’ option is available in many of their 3D TVs, enabling the user to broadcast to their TV from their smartphone.
Furthermore, many of their 3D TVs have a smart touch remote meaning the TV can be voice activated and controlled.
Another South Korean brand. Originally, it was formed in 1995 by the merger of Lucky Chemical and the electronics firm Goldstar.
The ethos behind LG is bringing innovative technology to the market but at a price cheaper than their main rivals - and with a humanitarian spin.
This was most noticeable in 2016 when they produced a TV for Indian consumers which repelled mosquitoes through ultrasonic waves.
LG's 3D TVs are distinctive through 4K OLED displays and their proprietary LG Cinema 3D technology. This avoids the ‘dim’ appearance of many 3D TVs.
They include 2 pairs of glasses with their sets, which use the ‘passive polarized’ method. This adheres to the LGs mindset of value, as they are significantly cheaper than the ‘active shutter’ standard.
Probably the best of their lines is the LG C6 which offers 2D-3D conversion, 65” screen and split screen for video gaming.
Starting with a department store electronics shop in 1946, the Sony brand has become one of the world's leading TV manufacturers.
Their TV product lines, Trinitron, WEGA, and BRAVIA have all become household names and this quality continues in their 3D TV models.
Using their bespoke Triluminos Display, Sony 3D TVs claim to provide improved contrast, incredible clarity and most importantly enhanced the depth of field.
The Sony brand has also emphasized interactivity in their 3D TVs. Most come with built-in Wi-Fi and access to Google’s Android TV.
For the dedicated gamer, as long as you have a controller, PlayStation Now is available for online game streaming.
Probably the only negative is that their 3D TVs glasses use the ‘active shutter’ standard, which can only be obtained as an additional purchase - they are not included.
Products to look out for are the X930 series.
From humble beginnings in 1918 as a light bulb manufacturer, this Japanese company has become one of the largest electronics suppliers in the world.
All of Panasonic's most recent 3D TVs are edge-lit LCD. These TVs are used by Hollywood for post-production which emphasizes their quality.
An interesting angle on these TVs is that they come with a ‘swivel and lift’ feature. This enables the user to adjust the height and angle of the 3D TV screen - which is unusual.
Using a Studio Color HCX2 processor, the 3D TVs offer bold colors and clear, crisp brightness levels.
Prices are on the more expensive side. In addition, Panasonic, like Sony, use the costly ‘active shutter’ glasses which are not included.
For an older model, the best choice is the DT60 series, and for newer models, the EX750.
One of the newest 3D TV brands available. Vizio was formed in the US in 2012. Just 5 years later, they became the largest LCD TV seller in North America.
Their name has become synonymous with low pricing compared to their rivals.
However, low cost does not mean low quality. Their 3D TVs come with super thin borders, crisp Razor LED displays and a 60 Hz refresh rate.
The Vizio brand also includes an impressive amount of user tech within their 3D TVs. The M-series has built-in Wi-Fi and access to the most commonly used apps such as Amazon, YouTube, and Netflix.
If you are able to obtain a ‘new’ boxed version of the M Series (as, like many, it has been discontinued) it comes with 8 pairs of glasses included. When you consider some ‘active shutter’ glasses cost up to $100, that’s a worthwhile saving.
On the downside, in 2015 Vizio was found to be collecting customers information and reselling to advertisers - which concluded in a $2 million payout.
A state-owned Chinese brand emerging from the 1969 company Qingdao No.2 Radio Factory.
Like Vizio, it is a budget brand aiming to offer no-frills products but performs visually as well as their competitors.
Although their 3D TV manufacturer has ceased, I have been able to find many new TVs still available online. The best Hisense branded 3D TVs to look out for are the 55K680UWD-DT and 65XT910.
With screen sizes over 55”, LED backlighting and Ultra 4K HD they provide clear and sharp imaging.
The 3D TVs use ‘active shutter’ technology with one pair of glasses is included. However, many users have complained that these glasses are somewhat on the small side. This may be an issue if you need to wear prescription glasses underneath.
Founded in 1939, this electronics brand really has tried to push the boundaries of 3D TV.
Back in 2010, Toshiba proudly displayed to the world their new product, the Regza GL1. The unique aspect about this 3D TV was that it could be viewed without wearing glasses.
It was initially hailed as a revolution. But sadly, it failed.
The issue with this model and their subsequent attempts was that it was not user-friendly. For the best 3D effect, it had to be viewed no more than a meter away, in dim lighting and with the viewer-centered directly in front of the TV.
Happily, after this failure, Toshiba continued in 3D TV production (with glasses) and made some impressive sets.
Using ‘active shutter’ technology (and with 2 glasses included with most TVs) their best product was probably the Toshiba 58L7365. Many customer reviews claim that the depth of field created within their 3D TVs remains to this day one of the best on the market.
One minor issue is that Toshiba 3D TVs are not very sleek and look a little ‘clunky’. For users who like the appearance of 21st-century aesthetics, they may appear somewhat dated.
However, for incredible 3D imaging and at a reasonable price, Toshiba is worth considering.
Taking its name from their first invention, the ‘ever sharp’ mechanical pencil, this Japanese brand now produces electronic products from TVs through to cell phones.
This brand has a mixed reputation for its 3D TVs. Their first models back in 2010 and 2011 were very well received. Sold under the AQUOS banner, their 3D TVs were praised for vivid colors, impressive 2D to 3D conversion and crisp contrasts.
However, their later models, such as the LC-60UD20 were a disappointment. Customers complained of frequent ‘ghosting’ in the image, humans looking like cardboard cutouts and ‘active standard’ glasses working like sunglasses. Everything appeared dark and dull.
The Sharp brand is included in this list as their original and best 3D TVs can be purchased very cheaply. If you are looking for powerful 3D TV at a fraction of the price of a ‘new’ TV, then the Sharp Aquos Quattron is worthy of consideration.
With the demise of 3D TV production, it’s easy to confine this technology to the vaults. But that would be a shame.
With impressive visuals, a wide range of games and Blu-rays available, and the possibility of converting 2D to 3D they still have their place.
The attraction of cheap pricing compared to other TVs on the market make them a very credible proposition.
For budget 3D TVs with remarkable quality, look at the later Vizio or the early Sharp products. But for the most up to date 4K 3D TV’s, Samsung may prove the sensible choice.