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Should you buy a 3-D TV?

The latest type of TV to hit the market is 3-D TVs for your home. While one type of 3-D technology has been around since 1844, it wasnt until early 2010 that the major electronics companies began offering 3-D TVs to consumers.
The verdict from Sharp Canadas Bill Friend, assistant VP, consumer products division? The 3-D TVs out today arent perfected.
But this hasn’t stopped the world’s biggest TV manufacturers from rushing their products to market. Should you go buy one? Lets ponder the debate.
Samsung was the first company to release its 3-D TVs, which can be either plasma, LCD or LED-lit. Prices range from $2,000 for a 40 to $7,000 for a 55 LED-lit 3-D TV. High-end Toronto electronics retailer Bay Bloor Radiosays it will sell Panasonic 3-D TVs when they launch next week.
The 3-D TVs currently on store shelves are equipped with what’s called alternate-frame sequencing technology, which requires viewers to watch with shutter glasses that create illusions on the screen.
Sharps line of LCD 3-D TVs will launch this fall and will also be equipped with alternate-frame sequencing technology, but Friend says theyll be better because theyll add yellow to the standard red, green and blue colour filter.
Electronics critics, however, usually favour plasma TVs over LCDs. Plasma TVs, the older technology, are also less expensive.
If you buy a 3-D TV now, there wont be anything worth replacing it with until about 2015, says David Berman, director of training and public relations at Home Technology Specialists of America.
While an even newer technology, autostereoscopic (AS) 3-D already exists a kind that doesnt require viewers to wear shutter glasses there are still a lot of bumps and bruises that need to be worked out, he says.
Because the economy is still struggling, Berman who travels throughout the U.S. educating consumers on how not to be fooled by clever marketing says we can expect to see aggressive pricing with 3-D TVs. He’s betting on a 15% price drop by the end of 2010, just in time for the holiday season.
In another year, the prices will settle, he says, because the new AS 3-D wont be out until 2015, so retailers wont be desperate to push todays 3-D TVs off the shelves. Once AS 3-D comes out in 2015, the price of todays 3-D TVs will significantly drop for the second time, Berman says.
There are only two reasons why a manufacturer lowers the price: One, its a holiday and second, if a newer technology comes out. Berman says its unlikely that AS 3-D will have any challengers before 2020 or 2021.
Before buying a 3-D TV, consider that there are only two films youll be able to watch: Monsters vs. Aliensand Up. Director James Camerons hit Avatarlikely wont come out in 3-D until the holiday season.
Older 3-D movies, such as those you may have seen at an iMax theatre, were created using a different technology that is not compatible with the 3-D TVs on todays market.
Friend estimates there will be a dozen 3-D films available for home use by the end of 2010 and Berman says well see between 35 and 40 films hitting the market in a year from now.
Thats why Cameron shot Avatarwith the new technology. Films have a long shelf-life. He wanted it to be around for awhile, Berman says, suggesting that by 2015, everybody will either buy or consider buying 3-D.
Friend estimates that by the year 2013, 3-D TVs will represent one-third of all TVs globally.
Bay Bloor Radio’s director of sales Richard Bowden , who has worked in the electronics industry for nearly 30 years, says, The popularity of 3-D TVs will increase as quickly as Rogers and Bell step up to carry 3-D programming Shaw and Bell both did tests at the Masters golf tournament. They can do it, but they have to figure out how to make money off it.”
Berman says well see the launch of at least four 3-D TV channels in about a years time.