VIDEO: How Consumer Reports Tests 3D TVs

Since 3D TVs are still a new and developing consumer technology, the testers at Consumer Reports have had to develop new ways to put the figure out which of these sets — if any — are worth recommending.

The CR engineers have put 3D TVs from LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony through the tests and they are finding big differences in performance.

Check out the below video for a behind-the-scenes look at how Consumer Reports is putting 3D TVs to the test.


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  1. hypochondriac says:

    3D TV work by polarization right? So wouldn’t tilting your head change the appearance on every TV?

    • Limewater says:

      As I understand it, some 3D TVs use a shutter system. These would not be affected by head tilt. But yes, any polarized setup will be affected.

    • kc2idf says:

      Incorrect. The 3D TVs work by temporal interlacing, i.e. a frame for the left eye, then a frame for the right, lather, rinse, repeat. The glasses have shutter lenses on them.

      In the cinema, they use polarization and temporal interlacing together (using a shutter panel that flips the polarity based on which eye should see the image) only because then the glasses themselves can be made inexpensively and still server adequately. For this, IMAX 3D is linearly-poliarized, and does exhibit the behaviour you describe. RealD, on the other hand, uses circular polarization and does not exhibit this behaviour.

      • Rachacha says:

        It depends on the type of 3D system your TV uses.
        There are TVs with active shutter lenses that do as you describe left-right-left-right etc that are synced with the television so that the TV is displaying the left and right image at the appropriate time. The possible concern here is what happens if/when the glasses lose sync with the TV set (you run to the bathroom, turn your head to look behind you, or grab a snack from the kitchen).

        The second type of 3D system use passive lenses, typically polarized in some way, but I have heard whisperings of other passive glasses, in which both left and right images are displayed at the same time and the glasses seperate that information and give it to each of your individual eyes.

    • crazymatt1 says:

      This is demonstrated at 1:53 of the video

    • Razor512 says:

      3d glasses use shutters but the technology behind the shutters is simular to that of an LCD

      For example, if you have a old broken device with a LCD screen (preferrably a modern one that is colored. then you take the lcd and remove all of the silver backing so the screen becomes see through, if you look through the glass at a LCD TV, you can see if just find with the LCD glass you are holding, held horizontally, but if you rotate the glass vertically, the picture on the screen disappears but you can still see any dirt or dust on the screen, I use this to check if my screens are clean when using the PC and I have the bedroom lights off.

      Anyway, the polarization of the glass is due to the LCD technology and it is not intentional.

  2. Nick says:

    I’ve been entirely unimpressed by every 3D TV I’ve tried out. I’ll be interested to see what CR makes of all of them.

  3. Big Mama Pain says:

    So…if you sit perfectly still, try to ignore that the 3D doesn’t really work, accept the dim screens, wear stupid glasses, get headaches, and pay out the ass for one, it will be great!

  4. photoguy622 says:

    The nice thing about the 3D sets, is that in order for them to produce a good 3D picture with no cross talk, the displays need to be of higher quality with faster response times. Therefore, even if you don’t want to watch TV in 3D, the 2D picture quality improves as well.

    • ShinGetterPoPo says:

      While this is true, I am not sure that the steep price difference between it and a fairly comparable 2D television merits a purchase. Perhaps when they start going down some that might happen, but not yet.

  5. Starfury says:

    Still won’t buy one.

  6. jpdanzig says:

    And while you’re at it, CR, how about factoring long-term reliability into your ratings? From all the complaints about their TV’s conking right after the warranties expire (about two years average), Samsung should receive a “not recommended” until they straighten up and do better by their customers.

  7. ninjatoddler says:

    3D tvs are going to evolve to such an art where you can watch 2 different shows on the same tv at the same time. Save energy, save the porn industry, and save your marriage.