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The Gadgets NOT to Buy This Christmas - 3D Televisions

3D Televisions

This year the proliferation of 3D-capable televisions saw us create specific Awards categories for the best 2D and 3D televisions and it suggests 3D, despite its critics, is here to stay. Furthermore our 3D 2011 television award winner, the Panasonic TX-P55VT30 (pictured) was truly exceptional. So why would we issue a warning here?


A prime reason comes in our praise for this television having found it to be "unbesmirched by the dreaded active 3D phenomenon of crosstalk" and "the first 3D TV we’ve seen that’s able to do full justice" to 3D showcase moments. The price of P55VT30? The cheapest we can find right now: £2149.99. As such our first caveat is price. 3D as a feature is increasingly integrated into affordable televisions, but it is only in the most expensive where it is done well. By contrast our 2D television of the year, the Samsung UE40D5520 retails for just £500 and second place went to the UE32D5000 UE32D5000 which sells for just £345.

Aside from price is content. Except for a few Blu-ray discs and Sky 3D (the only dedicated 3D channel), 3D content is extremely thin on the ground and no broadcaster has made great noise about this increasing markedly next year. The quality of 3D, particularly in the premium sector, may be hitting impressive levels but substantial further outlay is required to get just one channel and you have to ask what proportion of your time will be spent enjoying this extra dimension.


That said even if you have the means to afford the television and the Sky subscription, there is yet another reason to hold off: compliance. At roughtly £100 per pair, 3D glasses are expensive in their own right (particularly if bought for a large family), but as it stands all manufacturer brands are incompatible with one another. This means you are stuck to a specific company for future television purchases unless you want to buy your glasses again and should you be heading to a friend's house for some mutual 3D enjoyment your glasses will need to be the same make as theirs or you are out of luck.

This will soon change with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) having already started the process for standardising 3D glasses allowing third parties to make pricing more competitive and your own glasses to be useful long after your 3D TV has bitten the dust. With televisions having a much longer shelf life than the majority of your devices we'd suggest patience this Christmas will be rewarded.


December 20, 2011, 12:03 am

"If you must go down the tablet route the safest bet is the exceptional Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime." Well first it's not available yet and subject to delays - more Amazon and Best-Buy pre-orders were cancelled in the US today. No one knows for sure it if it'll be on sale in the UK in January. Second, just today Eric Schmidt (Google's chairman) talked about "an improved Google tablet coming within six months" ( http://www.theverge.com/2011/12/19/2646684/eric-schmidt-says ) With this plus the rumoured high resolution tablets from Samsung and Apple coming sometime around February/March, the excitement over this Asus will be very short lived.


December 20, 2011, 9:02 pm

Thanks Gk.pm they are some interesting points, but a little misplaced. First the Prime has a confirmed UK launch date: 12 January and major stores are taking pre-orders. Second I mention the Prime is not out for Christmas in the article. Third there has to be a reasonable timeframe when we're talking about Christmas. In that regard I'd say holding back on an iPad 2 with the iPad 3 due in a few months is reasonable, waiting six months is something else entirely. As for excitement over the Prime, with ICS coming to it soon it may have more shelf life than you think. Certainly Ardjuna was very excited when he reviewed it: http://www.trustedreviews.com/asus-eee-pad-transformer-prime_Laptop_review


December 21, 2011, 12:06 am

@Gordon394 I haven't had any confirmation that the launch date is actually 12 January. It's just an expected launch date, not set in stone. You might want to check your sources. Meanwhile just yesterday it was announced that pre-orders for the 64GB Transformer Prime were being cancelled in the UK as that model was pushed back to Q2 2012 (i.e. April-June) It may have some shelf life, but you can same of all existing tablets. The iPad 2 will surely still get a good year more of updates and even the somewhat lacklustre Motorola Xoom is looking better with ICS. However the Transformer and these will look pretty pale compared to alternatives coming right from February next year. The wise recommendation would be to hold off on any tablet purchases until then.


December 21, 2011, 4:34 pm

Interesting article, Gordon. I'd personally draw a distinction between products whose current iterations have serious shortcomings that future iterations will fix (e.g. 3D TVs)


December 21, 2011, 4:35 pm

and products whose current iterations are actually quite good, but just have future iterations that will be better (e.g. tablets). Is the fact that we know the product will only get better really a reason to hold off on buying it? I'm not sure it is. Anyway, this is probably just a difference of opinion. A good article!


December 21, 2011, 8:10 pm

confirmed to me by Dixons. Either way, my point remains the same. It's post Christmas, but only a little post.


December 21, 2011, 8:12 pm

Thanks. That's a good point and I think you're right but there are no certainties all Android tablets will get ICS, for example. And if so how well optimised will they be, how will the inevitable manufacturer skins affect it, etc. They could be great, but definitely a risk for Christmas.

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