3D TV appealing to more consumers

FRESNO, Calif.

The newest 3D TVs use what's called "passive" technology, like the LCD set from Vizio.

The big advantage - the 3D glasses are lighter, more comfortable, and much less expensive.

But Consumer Reports finds some drawbacks with the new technology.

"In the 3D mode, passive TVs can only show half the vertical resolution of a standard 1080p TV. Because there are fewer pixels creating the image, our testers saw jagged lines where there should be smooth ones," Jim Willcox said.

In contrast, on one 3D set, looking through the glasses, the lines are smooth.

Another issue with the Vizio, moiré interference creates a shimmery effect in certain scenes.

But overall, testers were fairly impressed with the Vizio's performance. It's the brightest 3D set they've ever seen and has minimal ghosting, so you won't see double images through the glasses.

"And the ability to wear lightweight, inexpensive glasses is sure to be a plus for a lot of families," Willcox said.

More comfortable, cheaper 3D glasses are a step in the right direction, but will there ever be 3D TVs that don't require glasses at all? For now, Consumer Reports testers say that glasses-free 3D is still a few years away.

When it comes to active 3D sets that use more expensive, bulkier glasses, testers find big differences between plasmas and LCDs.

To evaluate them, engineers create 3D patterns and view the patterns through glasses.

"In general, our testers have found that plasma 3D TVs provide the best overall 3D picture quality, primarily because they have less ghosting," Willcox said.

In the end, Consumer Reports top-rated the Panasonic Viera for $4,300. It delivers a crisp 3D image. But you have to pay for extra glasses - $150 a pair.

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