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Best 3D TVs of 2011

LG 42LW550T

Price: £859
Retailer: www.prcdirect.co.uk
Full review: In the next few days!

LG 42LW550T

While we haven't had chance to write a full assessment of this LG 'Cinema 3D' TV yet, we've spent enough time with it to be able to say without question that it's the first truly persuasive passive 3D TV we've seen.

There are numerous reasons why this is so. For a start, its 42in screen size seems to be a much more comfortable fit for LG's passive 'film patterned retarder' (FPR) technology than the previous 55in models we've seen, for the simple reason that it's much harder to see and thus be distracted by such FPR shortcomings as a reduced 3D resolution, horizontal line structure and jagged contours. In fact, the latter two problems aren't really visible at all from any normal sitting distance, and the loss of resolution doesn't feel nearly as disturbing relative to 42in active shutter TVs.

Add to this FPR's strengths - comfortable long-term viewing, lightweight and cheap glasses (seven are included with the TV!), no flicker when watching in bright rooms, and minimal crosstalk - and it's easy to see why LG seems to have some of the active 3D camp apparently so concerned.

The 42LW550T also avoids the backlight consistency woes of the 55LW650T, leaving as its only significant flaws a surprisingly poor input lag time of more than 100ms (bad for gamers) and a very limited horizontal viewing angle that could be a real issue for anyone wanting to hang the set high on a wall.
 

Panasonic TX-L32DT30

Price: £830
Retailer: www.totaldigital.biz
Full review: Panasonic TX-L32DT30B

Panasonic Viera TX-L32DT30B

Panasonic's second entry on this list isn't here because it makes a great 'main living room' TV. At 32in it's just too small for that, especially when you're thinking about 3D. But it justifies its place on this top six list for two good reasons. First and most importantly, it's the first active shutter 3D TV to suggest that LCD technology - in this case, edge-lit LED LCD technology - really can do alternate frame 3D without suffering with crosstalk. Its 3D pictures are also bright and colourful, and as detailed as they probably could ever look on a 32in TV. All in all, the L32DT30's 3D pictures are the best yet seen on an LCD TV.

That said, the 32in screen really isn't big enough to make 3D movies work effectively. The 3D effect just isn't overwhelming enough.

What the L32DT30 certainly can do, though, is deliver 3D gaming thrills more than efficiently, especially as the excellent 3D performance is joined by a very low level of input lag. The set's a bit expensive to get just for games use, of course, especially as it doesn't ship with any 3D glasses as standad. But it also happens to be a feature-laden and high-performance TV, ideal for a second room somewhere.
 

JVC DLA-X3

Price: £3,500
Retailer: www.thehomecinemacentre.co.uk
Full review: JVC DLA-X3

JVC DLA-X3

Alright, yes: the X3 isn't actually a TV. It is, of course, a projector. It is, however, a 3D display of startling quality that delivers on 3D's big size requirement like no TV ever could. In fact, with its maximum image size of 200in, it makes even Panasonic's spectacular TX 80 look puny.

First impressions of the X3 aren't actually all that promising so far as 3D is concerned, since the 3D transmitter is an external device that has to plug into the projector's rear, and you only get one set of glasses included for free. But this inconvenience is soon forgiven as, thanks to the superb JVC DLA technology at its heart. It produces 3D and 2D images of such stunning size and quality that they have no right to be coming from a projector costing just £3,500.

If you really want to understand what all the fuss is about where the new full HD 3D format is concerned, sort yourself out with a demo of Avatar in 3D on the X3 - or any of JVC's new X Series come to that. Your jaw will hit the floor faster than you can say 'unobtainium'.

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