For quite a while, I’ve been saying that if you want 3DTV with a flat panel display, you’re going to be stuck with active “shutter glasses” for the foreseeable future. Why not use the inexpensive passive glasses like you wear at the local cinema? Because it costs too much to add the required extra polarizing layers to the display panel, and this would raise the price too much to be competitive.
Clearly, I was wrong.
Yesterday, Vizio announced the XVT3D650SV, a new 65″ LED LCD HDTV with 3DTV support. It also has Vizio’s VIA (Vizio Internet Apps) for Internet connectivity and access to Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Facebook, Rhapsody, Pandora, and much, much more. It has wired and dual-band 802.11n WiFi support and a Bluetooth universal remote with a QWERTY keypad. It has localized dimming with the edge-lit LED backlight for increased dynamic contrast. And it is compatible with a wide range of 3DTV signal formats — including Blu-ray — which helps futureproof the purchase. And it comes bundled with four pairs of passive 3D glasses which are just like the ones that you wear at the local cinema. In fact, the same glasses will work in both places.
Not only does it use passive glasses, but the price is not sky high. Packed with top-of-the-line features, it will sell at Costco and Sam’s Club (in store and online) for $3,500. That’s much less than the price for other 65″ LCD 3DTVs that use active glasses, and even less than the street price for Panasonic’s 65″ 3D plasma model that uses active glasses. So not only does this not cost more than the other approaches, Vizio is able to sell it for less!
In short, this new 3DTV is a game changer. While Vizio has rolled it out as a flagship model, presumably there is no reason why this technology can’t filter down to smaller models and sets without the premium bells and whistles found in this one. I still am holding to my prediction that 3D will be a standard feature in all flat panel HDTVs within two or three years, but now I’m not so sure that they will be using active shutter glasses.
I’ll get a chance to see this new set up close and personal at CES 2011 next month in Las Vegas, and you can be sure that you’ll hear more about it right here. Stay tuned!