3-D TV Buying Guide

So is 3-D TV just an empty fad or a worthwhile investment? She makes those glasses look good, but as you'll soon read, the glasses -- and the TVs -- have a ways to go before they're perfected.
Image courtesy LG Electronics

From huge, clunky cathode ray tube boxes to sleek, lightweight, high-definition marvels, our television sets have evolved in colorful, picturesque ways. In spite of these transformations, most TVs are similar in that they display only two-dimensional images. But these days, engineers and manufacturers are hard at work adding a third dimension that promises to change the image quality and power of TV images forever.

There's a reason companies are pushing 3-D, and the reasons are right there in front of your eyes. Although TV screens have two dimensions (height and width), they lack depth. But the human visual experience includes depth, too, and that last element is critical.

Close or cover one of your eyes and try to perform some of your daily activities and you'll quickly realize that without two eyes, you have very little depth perception. Depth is exactly what's missing from your television experience.

Imagine how a crisp, clear 3-D image from your television would affect your entertainment. Those action and horror movies would have scenes that wallop your retinas with amazingly lifelike effects. On game day, leaping wide receivers would seem as if they're about to land on your coffee table. In short, 3-D technology would be more dramatic, more realistic and, quite possibly, more fun than plain 2-D TV.

Believe it or not, that depth may come sooner than you thought. Yet this technology is still in its infancy; as with many evolving tech toys, there are few established standards for 3-D TVs, but for one -- these models are always priced higher than their 2-D brethren. That means you'll undoubtedly spend a lot of money to get one, and if you don't think carefully before you drop all that cash, you could very well wind up with a product that makes you wish you'd stuck with a more archaic 2-D version.

Fear not, we'll guide you through the basics of 3-D TV tech and point you toward the kind of technology that will give you the best and most realistic bang for your very much 3-D money. Keep reading and you'll see all about how the TV age is entering its new dimension.