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How it works: 3D HDTV

Whether you love it or hate it, get ready for 3D HDTV

3D HDTV looks set to be the next big thing in the consumer market. Here's our guide to what you need to know to enhance your viewing pleasure.

Your mileage may vary

Don't be surprised if you buy a 3D HDTV this year, take it home, turn it on, and get a blurry mess instead of eye-popping 3D.

Beyond glasses and a new TV, there are still some issues that will make the 3D transition just as frustrating and difficult as the move to HDTV. For starters, you're going to need new cables, HDMI spec 1.4 to be exact.

In addition to 3D, the new iteration of HDMI will support expanded colour spaces, 4K resolutions (4 times the standard 1080p resolution), and ethernet over HDMI (the ability to share an internet connection over the HDMI cable).

The extra features should make an upgrade ideal even for those who aren't planning to move towards 3D, but it is a requirement for those making 3D a home theatre option.

And how about 3D content? Many content developers such as Blu-ray and DirecTV have pledged support, but you may need to buy a new box that will support 3D output.

For those of you who use a PS3 as your Blu-ray player, you'll be pleased to know that Sony is making the PS3 forward compatible with 3D and will most likely utilise a firmware upgrade to support new 3D movies.

However, the fate of other 3D Blu-ray players has yet to be discussed and you may need to purchase new hardware.

And finally, even if you get all the cables and boxes figured out, an unlucky five to ten percent will be unable to watch 3D content at all.

Turns out some of you have eyes that aren't quite up to spec on 3D technology, and are unable to perceive depth on a 2D plane.

These stereoblind people can do exercises and buy eyewear to train their eyes into seeing 3D on a TV, but is the cost and effort really worth the privilege of buying more consumer electronics?

There are many questions left to be answered this year. Will 3D really be the revolution all the big manufacturers want you to think it is?

Are you sitting at your computer, credit-card in hand waiting to pre-order that first set?

In 2010 the big TV story is 3D HDTV; that's a fact, we just don't know yet if it's going to have a happy ending.

See also: Revealed: the truth about the future of 3D TV

  1. Whether you love it or hate it, get ready for 3D HDTV
  2. 3D glasses compared
  3. 3D without glasses
  4. Your mileage may vary
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