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Panasonic Wins 3DTV Shoot-out

YONKERS, N.Y.: Consumer Reports has done its first-ever evaluation of 3DTV sets. The venerable product reviewer compared 14 models of 3DTVS and found that plasmas did a better job than LCD sets, “primarily because they exhibit less ghosting, or double images that appear even when wearing 3D glasses.” CR said three Panasonic plasmas placed best over all.

“It remains to be seen whether 3DTV is just a novelty or a new product category in the consumer electronics space,” said Paul Reynolds, electronics editor for Consumer Reports. “But, our tests show that there are some fine 3D TV sets out there for those consumers eager for a new experience.”

CR said it used “exclusive 3D test patterns developed in-house, as well as 3D Blu-ray movies and recorded 3D sports broadcasts,” in testing. The organization’s engineers found that all 14 models created “impressive” 3D depth, but overall quality varied. Factors that affected 3D picture quality were similar for those affecting 2D images--black levels, brightness, detail and viewing angle. Ghosting, or cross talk between the left- and right-eye images, is a problem exclusive to 3D.

Panasonic plasmas had the least ghosting, followed by those made by LG and Samsung. CR said Sony’s LCDs had “minimal” ghosting when viewing angle was strictly observed.

“Ghosting became severe when the viewer's head was titled even slightly,” CR said.

Ghosting on the LG and Samsung LCDs was said to be “significant in a wide variety of content.” All models save one performed will with 2D content.

CR further noted that some, but not all, of the 3DTVs it tested came with active shutter glasses. Some of the Sony models required an additional sync transmitter for the glasses. “Universal glasses,” which are intended to work with all types of 3DTVs, were reviewed as well. CR said it found “varying levels of comfort among different 3D glasses.”

The full report will be published in CR’s December issue, due out tomorrow. -- Deborah D. McAdams