Learn about 3D technology and how to build a full HD 3D experience in your own home!
If you love the immersive, captivating world of 3D in the movie theater, get ready to bring that amazing experience home with full HD 3D TVs, Blu-ray players and gaming consoles.
By purchasing a 3D product, you'll be ready to ride both the exciting initial wave and future waves of 3D movies, gaming and cable/satellite TV content. Plus, you'll own a superb HDTV, Blu-ray player or gaming console that can deliver all the 2D content you currently enjoy. Step into a brave new world of 3D for the home.
Why 3D HDTV?
Remember the first time you watched TV in high definition? The clarity was amazing, even breathtaking. You probably still say "Wow" when you turn on a football game or movie in HD. Well, now you can add an even more breathtaking and immersive entertainment experience into your home with the stunning beauty of 3D TV.
Millions have been thrilled by 3D in the movie theaters, whether exploring Earth and outer space in IMAX documentaries or staring open-mouthed at the latest 3D Hollywood blockbuster. Now, 3D TV can bring that so-real-you-can-almost-touch-it experience into your home theater, for a lot less than you'd probably guess.
For content, you can already choose from dozens of 3D Blu-ray movie titles, a growing list of 3D video games, and 3D TV channels like ESPN 3D plus the list of 3D content will expand even more rapidly in the coming year.
Overall, 3D TVs provide an amazingly immersive 3D experience, and they are also the best HDTVs available. So you'll not only get all the benefits of watching 2D content (the content as you watch it today) on a superb HDTV, but you'll also be set up for what promises to be a remarkable future of 3D entertainment.
What can I experience in 3D?
There are already more than 25 3D movie titles, several 3D broadcast channels and a growing number of 3D video games. Overall, the amount of 3D content is expected to increase significantly this year.
3D Blu-ray Disc Releases
There are currently over 25 movies on 3D Blu-ray Disc, including Alice in Wonderland, Despicable Me, The Last Airbender and Resident Evil: Afterlife, plus the number of 3D movies available is expected to more than double this year.
3D Video Games
Currently, Sony's PS3 features a growing list of 3D games like Gran Tourisimo 5 and Call of Duty: Black Ops, plus they plan a strong release of 3D titles in 2011, including Killzone 3 and Uncharted 3. The XBox 360 offers titles on 3D such as Call of Duty: Black Ops, Crysis 2 and Batman: Arkham Asylum. The Nintendo 3DS presents handheld 3D gaming without the need for glasses, and features top titles like Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D and LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars.
3D TV Channels
ESPN 3D: ESPN's dedicated 3D channel is now available on DIRECTV, Comcast, DISH Network and other carriers. It features 24/7 3D programming, including top NBA and college basketball games, major golf tournaments, boxing matches and more. Check with your local cable or satellite TV provider for availability, or visit our DIRECTV page to learn more.
DIRECTV: DIRECTV offers more 3D programming than any other television provider in the U.S. DIRECTV CINEMA delivers Hollywood blockbusters, documentaries and more in 3D. n3D powered by Panasonic offers the best in 3D sports, music, nature and arts. 3net features one-hour native 3D documentaries, while ESPN 3D serves up sports around the clock.
Comcast: Comcast has a "3D Events Channel," which is dedicated to broadcasting special events in high-definition 3D. ESPN 3D is also available in many markets. Check with Comcast for availability and future events in 3D.
Time Warner Cable: Time Warner Cable now offers ESPN 3D, it broadcasts special events in 3D, and delivers movies through their 3D Movies On Demand service. Check with Time Warner Cable for availability and future events in 3D.
Discovery, Sony and IMAX: The three are partnering to launch a 3D channel in 2011 that will focus on topics like nature, space, science, exploration and adventure.
Note: Depending on your cable or satellite provider, you may need a firmware update or new equipment from them to view 3D programming.
Will 3D TVs work with all 3D formats?
Yes, while there are different methods of producing the 3D effect for Blu-ray movies, games and TV programming, it won't be an issue for any new 3D TV (although you may have to manually select the 3D format you need to display). Also, any 3D Blu-ray movie that is advertised as "exclusive" to a TV manufacturer will actually work with any new 3D Blu-ray player and 3D TV.
Can I turn off the 3D on a 3D TV?
Absolutely. You can enjoy any content you currently watch in 2D, your picture quality should be excellent and you won't need to wear 3D glasses. Also, when you purchase 3D Blu-ray movies, 2D versions will always be included and should work with any current 2D Blu-ray player.
Can I watch 2D movies and TV shows in 3D?
It depends on which manufacturer you choose. Some have announced that their 3D HDTVs can convert 2D content into 3D, and a small number of Blu-ray players this year are expected to offer a simulated 3D picture from 2D discs. However, the best 3D experience by far is with content that is produced in 3D.
What do I need to buy to get full HD 3D in my home?
3D screen: To see images in 3D, you'll need a 3D HDTV (basically a TV with a fast enough refresh rate and an emitter or polarizer built-in or available) or a 3D-compatible projector.
3D glasses: All 3D TVs require 3D glasses to see an image in 3D. Therefore, you'll need 3D glasses designed to work with your TV. Glasses are sometimes included with your HDTV purchase, but even if they are, you'll want to purchase additional pairs for everyone who wants to watch. For more on the technology, read the section "How do the 3D glasses work?" found below.
3D source: To watch 3D movies, you'll need to add a 3D-ready Blu-ray player or PS3, as well as 3D Blu-ray Discs (these discs can also be played in HD on your non-3D Blu-ray players). To play 3D games, you'll need a PS3 or Xbox 360 with compatible 3D games. To watch 3D broadcast channels, you'll need a compatible cable or satellite set-top box and a subscription to a package that includes 3D channels.
HDMI cables: HDMI cables are the only way to get an HD picture to your HDTV, and they are also the only way to pass 3D images from your source to your TV. To connect your 3D HDTV to your Blu-ray player, gaming system or other components, you'll need to use high-speed HDMI cable (10.2 Gbps or higher). Most HDMI cables these days are high-speed.
Compatible components: To connect to a home theater receiver, it is highly recommended that you use one with HDMI 3D pass-through technology to ensure a seamless experience. Not sure if your receiver will work with your 3D experience? Stop into a Best Buy store and talk with a sales associate.
If you buy new equipment in line with these guidelines, your 3D experience should be outstanding. Things get a bit confusing, however, if you hope to use your current A/V equipment. Read the section "Will my existing equipment support 3D?" found below for more information.
Will my existing equipment support 3D?
The newer your equipment is, the more likely it is to work seamlessly with your 3D experience. However, it can be confusing to figure out which components will be compatible, so it's best if you come into a Best Buy store and talk to a sales associate (remember to write down model numbers of the equipment in question).
In order to watch 3D Blu-ray movies, you will need to have a 3D or 3D-upgradeable Blu-ray player; older Blu-ray players will not be compatible with full HD 3D, except for the PS3 (make sure your firmware is updated for 3D).
If you currently have an A/V receiver, it may not have HDMI 3D pass-through technology (receivers with this technology began selling in 2010). So if you want to connect your 3D Blu-ray player or set-top box to an older receiver, the Blu-ray player will need to have multiple HDMI outputs, or have the ability for simultaneous HDMI and optical/coaxial outputs.
Why? You need to have HDMI 3D pass-through to get a full HD 3D picture, but the sound has no such requirement. So with multiple outputs, you can connect the Blu-ray player directly to the 3D HDTV (HDMI 3D pass-through for the picture) and connect the Blu-ray player to your older A/V receiver (any HDMI/optical/coaxial output for the sound).
There is still a possibility for compatibility issues with this approach, as the picture and sound may not sync properly. There are manual adjustments you can make to your receiver to help reduce this issue, but you may not be able to find an acceptable adjustment.
Not only is HDMI the only way to get high-definition content from your source to your TV, it's also the only way to get 3D content to your TV. You will need high-speed HDMI cables (10.2 Gbps or higher) to connect your 3D-ready HDTVs to other components like Blu-ray players in order for the 3D signal to pass through. Most existing HDMI cables are high-speed, but make sure to confirm that your cable is high-speed if you're having any issues.
Previous "3D" DVDs
If you own older DVD titles that are "3D," they were not designed to display properly with 3D Blu-ray players or the new generation of 3D active shutter glasses. You'll need to get 3D Blu-ray Discs in order to watch movies in 3D (3D Blu-ray Discs also allow you to view the HD version on any non-3D Blu-ray player).
How do 3D glasses work?
Many 3D HDTVs use active shutter glasses, and they will only work with the HDTVs they are intended for. For example, a pair of Panasonic 3D glasses will only work with a Panasonic 3D HDTV.
The glasses run on batteries and sync up with the HDTV through either an infrared or Bluetooth signal. After a certain number of hours, the glasses for some HDTVs can be recharged through a USB connection, while others will need to have their batteries replaced.
As a 3D movie is playing, one frame on the screen will display content only for your left eye, and alternately one frame will display content only for your right eye. Your brain will then combine these two images into one, forming the depth we associate with 3D. Amazingly, within one second, the screen will produce 120 or 240 alternating frames, depending on the HDTV (60 or 120 for your left eye and 60 or 120 for your right).
But why doesn't your right eye see the left-eye content? As each frame speeds by, the shutters on the 3D glasses rapidly open and close in alternating fashion, blocking your right eye while the left eye views the screen (and vice versa). Pretty amazing stuff.
Recently, some TV manufacturers are selling passive 3D TVs that use passive circular polarized glasses, the type usually used in movie theaters. For passive glasses, the left and right-eye images on the screen are combined on a single frame (which creates a blurry effect when you look at an image without glasses). The lenses on the glasses have no shutters or electronics and are manufactured in a way that the left eye sees only the left image within the frame, and the right eye sees only the right image.
These glasses do not use batteries or need to be recharged. They are generally less heavy and bulky than active shutter glasses and are also much less expensive.
What's the difference between active and passive 3D?
Until recently, new 3D TVs were almost all active 3D TVs and used active shutter glasses (see previous section on "How do 3D glasses work?"). Active 3D TVs use either a built-in or add-on emitter to convert images to 3D, and provide full HD 1080p resolution in both eyes.
Recently, however, some manufacturers have begun to sell 3D TVs that use passive polarized glasses (similar to what you use at the movie theater). These glasses are less bulky and expensive than active shutter glasses, and do not use batteries or need to be recharged. Passive 3D operates by separating images for each eye and then converging them to deliver the 3D images without depending on any electronics in the glasses.
So when choosing a 3D TV, you will have to weigh the costs vs. benefits associated with both active and passive 3D technologies. You can check out a 3D demo of both technologies at your local Best Buy store today.
Can I watch in 3D without special glasses?
Autostereoscopic (or "glasses free") 3D technology does allow you to watch 3D content without the use of glasses, although large TVs with this technology are likely years away from the mainstream marketplace. These TVs are currently very expensive and require viewers to sit in very specific locations to perceive the 3D effect.
Will 3D glasses work with any 3D TV?
For 3D TVs that require active 3D glasses, the answer is basically no. Each manufacturer of active 3D TVs makes glasses that are proprietary to their brand. So if you buy a Samsung active 3D TV, you're going to need Samsung active 3D glasses. However, some 2010 3D glasses will not work with some 2011 3D TVs, even if they are made by the same manufacturer. Please refer to this chart to find compatible glasses for your 3D TV.
Another option is to purchase third-party universal 3D glasses that should work with most active 3D TVs.
By contrast, most circular polarized 3D glasses should work just fine with any passive 3D TV. You may encounter some performance differences between brands of glasses, including slightly different tinting.
Can I wear 3D glasses on top of my regular glasses?
Yes, 3D glasses are designed to fit over your prescription glasses. It may initially feel a little unusual to wear two pairs of glasses, but that should quickly become more comfortable and your experience of the 3D imagery will not be affected at all.
Can everyone see 3D?
Nearly one million people in the U.S. suffer from stereo blindness, according to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (www.covd.org). This prevents them from perceiving the intended depth of 3D entertainment experiences. Some of these people will see 3D programming in 2D with no physical problems, while others may experience headaches, eye fatigue or other conditions.
If you have any doubts about your ability to correctly perceive 3D entertainment, visit one of our in-store 3D experiences.
Overall, some people who watch 3D programming may experience initial feelings of motion sickness as they adjust to the picture. Others may experience headaches, eye fatigue or continued motion sickness.
Are 3D products more expensive?
Actually, you'll probably be surprised how little the prices of HDTVs and Blu-ray players are impacted by the addition of full HD 3D technology. This is not like the introduction of HDTV, where the fundamental design of the TV was changed. 3D is basically an add-on capability, so you can expect a relatively small increase in the price of a 3D HDTV or Blu-ray player.
Can I try out a full HD experience in a Best Buy store?
All Best Buy stores have unique 3D TV demonstrations for you to try. As each manufacturer's 3D experience will vary to some extent, it's a good idea to view several demonstrations before making your decision. Come into a Best Buy store and talk to a sales associate about experiencing 3D for yourself.
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