The new 3D televisions do not work like the 3D movies of the 1980s. Yes both require you to wear glasses (more on that later) but you are not going to feel like objects are constantly jumping out at you - instead it feels more like an extra dimension has been added to the screen.
When I told Larry Harrison, the manager of the Sony Style store in the Houston Galleria, that watching the TV was like looking through a window - he said that was a good way to put it.
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The demo I was watching was playing from a Sony PlayStation 3. Not surprising that the video game part of the demonstration was one of the best looking parts in my opinion. PS3 users will reportedly receive a firmware update this summer to start the 3D game play (3D TV required). And much like standard HDTV, sports really jumped out too. That extra dimension was definitely present in the soccer game footage. I had to laugh when 3D demo footage of Wheel of Fortune appeared on screen. Finally Vanna White could be separated from the wall of letters thanks to 3D technology (there could be riots at nursing homes).
When I walked up to set, which was a BRAVIA XBR-52LX900 for those keeping score, you can tell it's a 3D signal immediately because the screen does look slightly distorted. I put on the glasses and asked if it mattered if I was standing or sitting in front of the set. Harrison said either way works with this set. I sat down and looked up at the TV for the demonstration. He said that the TV will seamlessly switch between 3D and non-3D.
The 3D glasses do not look like the standard cardboard set with a red and blue lens that we are used to. The modern version is sleeker and black. Harrison says the sets will most likely come with a pair of glasses. Additional glasses will probably cost around $50. They will have a lithium ion battery inside that lasts for 120 hours of viewing and then will need to be charged. I am one of the few people in the world that has not seen Avatar (I like to think of myself as a counter culture hero), but I imagine these are the same type of shades.
If you are still reading this far, then you will probably want to know that the Sony BRAVIA XBR-52LX900 is 52 inches, 1080p, has Motion Flow technology with a 240 hertz refresh rate. According to the press release I received, the TV has Sony's Edge LED backlight which is designed to deliver "deep blacks and brilliant whites." I totally did not notice! Guess the 3D had my total attention.
If 3D isn't enough for you, the set also comes with Wi-Fi so you can watch shows over the Internet and add new functions with online widgets.
The 52 inch Sony BRAVIA XBR-52LX900 will reportedly come out in late June/early July of 2010 and could cost anywhere from $3,500 to $4,000. There will be two other models that are 3D capable. The HX900 and HX800-series will be able to become 3D capable using Sony 3D active shutter glasses and 3D transmitter (each sold separately).
You don't have to take my word for it. Each Sony Style store across the US supposedly has a model you can go view for yourself. Just don't get too excited when Vanna shows up on screen in total 3D glory.
(Thanks to Petri Darby)