Best 3D Television CES 2013

3D Technology focuses by Manufacturer at CES 2013

by and Jack Burden, senior editors

Though the Passive 3D manufacturers were out in force at CES 2013, their active 3D counterparts still take the quality awards in general. See our article on active 3D vs. passive 3D. TV Vizio and LG are trying hard to convince us that Passive 3D is better, while Sony, Panasonic, and Samsung have Active 3D technology down. Toshiba is on the fence and showing their glasses-free 3D Televisions in force and planning to ship them later this year. Sharp is not focusing on 3D at all though several of their TVs have active 3D capability. The company is more focused on the size of their LED Televisions offerings and related value. One new development in the active 3D world is that all BluTooth eyeware 3D glasses are universal – meaning you can now purchase 3D glasses from any of the active 3D manufacturers and use them with any 3D active TV.


The 55EM9600 boasts amazing black levels and color accuracy on this OLED TV

This model ships in early 2013 and LG displayed prominently the passive 3D quality on this TV. Colors look fantastic on OLED and the depth perception with those incredible black levels makes the 3D really pop.

Sony XBR-65X900A 4K UHD

Color and contrast are two of the high points in this image. The reds and greens are bright and realistic while the black is deep and detailed.

Has active 3D technology built in and the picture is truly incredible without and with 3D. The extra resolution gives 3D programming and even sharper edge even if it is being up-converted. The only drawback is the LED edge-lit backlighting. Also see the Sony XBR-55X900A.

Samsung OLED TV Multi-View 3D (Dual-View)

The color reproduction on this OLED TV from Samsung is just fantastic. The transition from pitch black to bright, colorful, and detailed is a good as it gets.

Two viewers can see different content on this OLED TV from Samsung. From my experience the feature worked well with the active 3D. The viewers are each positioned at about 25 degrees off center to the left or right at the same time and thus see their own content from the multi-parrallax display. It may not be a feature worth paying up for, but it worked well. I did not note any crosstalk or problems with the display even though it was just an animated movie.

Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 65 inch Plasma

This image highlights a few of the strengths found on plasma displays. You can see great depth, color rendition, and contrast.

This new Panasonic TV has the best of the black levels in a 1080p TV. The black levels help enhance color, and depth perception from the active 3D glasses. Also see Panasonic TCP55ZT60 for the 60 inch model.

Samsung PN64F8500 64 inch Plasma

This shot shows off the incredible contrast the F8500 is capable of producing.

Much the same as the above Panasonic, Samsung has increased black levels by 4-fold on this new model over their previous E8000 series plasma. The black depth and colors look great and Samsung has the most comfortable and lightest active 3D glasses on the market. Also Samsung PN60F8500.

Samsung UN55F8000 55 Inch LED

The F8000 is a sucker for detail and brightness. There is even a good bit of depth shown in this shot.

For many of the same reasons as the above Samsung, this model has sleek comfortable active 3D glasses and is the top of the line non-4K LED TV for Samsung for 2013. The 3D on-screen picture appears much darker than the non-3D image creating lots of depth perception. Also see Samsung UN60F8000 for the 60 inch size.

LG 60LA7400 LED TV 60 Inch

LG's passive 3D is easy to use and the glasses are cheap. This is not a super high end TV either so it will not hurt the budget too much. As far as 3D quality goes, it's getting harder to tell the difference between active and passive 3D quality. LG's super clear coat screens on these LEDs make viewing very enjoyable. Also see LG 55LA7400 for the 55 inch version.

Picks from CES 2012

1st Place

Samsung PN60E8000 Plasma Active 3D

Samsung 3D TV CES 2012Although there is not a lot of difference between the high end plasma 3D offerings and the high end LED 3D Televisions we prefer plasma for its better color. Those super bright LED lights are not as important either with 3D. Samsung's new light 3D glasses have no flicker or blurring and I did not even notice any reflection on the inside of the glasses from in-room light. This was one of the only faults we could find in 2011 with Samsung's active 3D TVs. The picture quality is excellent, deep, involving, and the best of what 3D has to offer.

Tie for 2nd

Panasonic TC-P60GT50 Plasma Active 3D

Panasonic 3D TV CES 2012The TC-P60GT50 plasma is Panasonic's 2nd tier plasma for 2012 but it has the best Infinite black Ultra panel for 2012. We could have listed the VT50 just as easily in this spot, but the GT50 has a better price point so we chose it. The 3D picture performance is just as good as the Samsung listed above in all regards, but we preferred the Samsung glasses over the Panasonic for their sleeker, lighter, sexier appearance. Colors are rich and vibrant, 3D picture depth is excellent and 3D viewing from all angles is exceptional.

Tie for 2nd

Sony KDL55HX850 LED backlit LCD Active 3D

Sony 3D TV CES 2012We spend a good deal of time viewing the HX850 and the HX929 series from Sony with 3D content. The picture is extremely fluid and smooth and there are just no hiccups. We viewed the upcoming Men in Black and Smurf 3D movie in the active shutter 3D and the glasses are super comfortable, the colors very true without being over-hyped and the depth is great. Sony is making great TVs again in their top end lines HX series.

Honorable Mention

LG 55LM9600 LED Television Passive 3D

LG 3D TV CES 2012We'll give LG some credit here for having produced a lot of very good looking Televisions with the Cinema Screen "window" effect. The super thin bezel is impressive and certainly makes anything on screen look impressive. The LED plus localized dimming works well and 3D looks great with a very smooth quality and with excellent color.

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