Quality of 3D TVs put to test

HOUSTON The labs at Consumer Reports are filled with 14 of the latest 3D TVs, both plasma and LCD.

The pictures on all the TVs are compelling, but Consumer Reports has found differences.

"Our tests showed that plasma TVs handle 3D better than the LCD TVs, primarily because there's less ghosting," Consumer Reports' Jim Willcox said.

Ghosting refers to a double image that you can see even when you're wearing 3D glasses. Here the ghosted image of the character hovers over his shoulder.

To test for ghosting, Consumer Reports engineers designed special test patterns. This pattern shows bars and triangles on the right, and just bars on the left. Testers switched the TV into 3D mode to look for ghosting.

On this set, you can see the triangles through the right eye of the glasses, as you should. But you can also see their ghosted image on the left, where you should only see bars.

"Ghosting is particularly noticeable on the LCD TVs that we tested from Samsung and LG," Willcox said.

Another LCD TV -- this one from Sony -- seems OK when you look straight on. But if you tip your head, the ghosting is severe.

For realistic 3D pictures with the least ghosting, Consumer Reports says the plasma TVs from Panasonic are a good choice, the VT20 and VT25 series. A 50-inch screen, including a pair of glasses, starts at about $2,500.

Unfortunately, Consumer Reports found that the 3D glasses that come with the Panasonic TVs aren't very comfortable. But universal glasses that work on any 3D TV should be available soon.

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