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Best 3D TVs of 2011

John Archer


Panasonic TX-P42GT30
Panasonic TX-P42GT30

More films are coming out in it. More games are being made in it. More channels and TV programmes are being created with it. And judging by the amount of money TV manufacturers are spending on it, more TVs are going to be offering it at likely ever cheaper prices.

We're talking, of course, about 3D: the potentially revolutionary new TV format that's so far been more than a little hamstrung by technical issues, expensive glasses and latterly that guaranteed technology killer, a (sort of) format war.

Given the seemingly growing amount of confusion and issues surrounding 3D, we thought it would be helpful to try and make your life a bit easier by picking out our six favourite 3D TVs to date. So, in no particular order, here they are...

Panasonic TX-P50GT30

Price: £1315.02

Retailer: www.amazon.co.uk

Full review: Panasonic TX-P50GT30

Panasonic TX-P42GT30

This one is probably about as surprising as a Jose Mourinho whinge. Regular readers will know that we've long championed Panasonic's plasma technology for its active 3D capabilities, and in the P50GT30 the brand has given us easily its best 3D TV yet. There's even less crosstalk ghosting with 3D than there was on last year's GT20 and VT20 models, while a more dynamic and efficient panel design means brightness and colour performance with 3D are both radically improved.

As usual, the improvements introduced to boost 3D also boost 2D, making the P50GT30 a really spectacular option for the serious movie fan. The only catch is that you don't get any active shutter glasses included for free, so you'll need to add £100 for each pair you need.

If you're wondering why we didn't go for the recently reviewed P42VT30, it's because we felt the slight loss of brightness introduced by the latter model's extra high-contrast filter reduced its potential as a living room option - though of course, it's a supremely excellent option if you can use it in a generally quite dark room.

Samsung UE55D8000

Price: £2490

Retailer: www.1staudiovisual.co.uk

Full review: Samsung UE55D8000

Samsung UE55D8000

Samsung's introduction to its 2011 TV range couldn't have been more spectacular. With its 55in screen encased within an improbably narrow bezel, it's the sort of year-defining statement product that's become the Korean brand's forte in recent years.

Crucially, though, the UE55D8000 is much more than just a (hugely) pretty face. For as well as sporting Samsung's swanky new Smart TV interface and online content, it also delivers much improved 3D pictures from Samsung's 2010 models. This finds it producing probably the most vibrant 3D pictures yet seen from an active shutter 3D TV, while crosstalk problems are, thankfully, massively reduced versus Samsung's 2010 3D models. They're still more obvious during bright scenes than they are on the Panasonic plasma set, but overall, especially with the active 3D's full HD resolution so well portrayed on such a large screen, it's a truly superior 3D experience. Especially given that with 3D, more than anything else, size matters.

Again our only major complaint would be the inclusion of just one pair of free 3D glasses.

Philips 46PFL9705H

Price: £1467.58

Retailer: www.inmyshop.com

Full review: Philips 46PFL9705H

Philips 46PFL9705H

This is the only 2010 model to make our list of 3D options - not least because it's still widely available while we continue to wait for anything new from the Dutch brand.

To be honest, Philips was caught slightly napping by the popularity of 3D and Freeview HD last year, so initially the TV wasn't designed with either feature included as standard. But thankfully, while it wasn't possible to include a Freeview HD tuner in this gorgeously luxurious 46in TV, Philips did at least start bundling an active 3D kit with the sets comprising an external 3D transmitter and two pairs of active shutter glasses.

And we're glad it did, for doing so unlocked what for our money was 2010's finest 3D performance from an LCD TV, complete with blistering colours, high brightness levels, extremely clear detailing from full HD 3D Blu-rays, and impressively well suppressed levels of crosstalk noise.

The set's also an imperious 2D performer with some of the best sound quality heard from a flat TV to date, with its only problems being that it's complex to use and a little expensive. Though there may be deals to be done given the TV's relative age.

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