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Consumers Union: It's Early, but Panasonic Has Better 3D

Like the man in that purple-pill commercial a few years ago use to say, "When somebody says something is 'better,' it's usually just their opinion." A sound reputation at comparing products notwithstanding, so far it's mostly the opinion of testers at the Consumers Union lab in Yonkers, N.Y., that Panasonic has the better 3D quality among the first sets coming to market.

The non-profit lab which will later publish its findings in Consumer Reports when it has more product to test, said its independent findings of 3D HD units from Panasonic and Samsung found impressive results from both set makers. CU tested a trio of 3D HD sets: the 46-inch 7000 and 8000 series Samsung models, as well as the 58-inch plasma VT-20 from Panasonic. All three models are 1080p.

Although all three models boasted eye-popping video, CU said the Panasonic plasma unit (which was 12 inches larger than the two Samsung LCD models tested) "offered crisp, fluid 3D scenes, showing no signs of double-imagery" while wearing the mandatory 3D glasses. But lab tests found the two Samsung models had nuances of slight double-imaging while wearing the glasses, according to a free-to-access CU online video.

And if you've been known to recline in your chair or sofa while watching a late-night movie, CU warns the Samsung shutter-glasses turn darker — and eventually black — when situated at a 90-degree angle vertically. Such was not the case, however, with Panasonic's glasses.

The lab tests also found Panasonic's plasma model had better true-black reproduction than both Samsung models, although CU emphasized it has not tested nearly enough 3D sets to adequately judge whether plasma or LCD provides better 3D viewing quality.