We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
2,810 Tutorials

How to set up a 3D HDTV

How to present your 3D HDTV set in the best way possible

If you've forked out for a 3D HDTV , you're going to want to be able to show it off. Check out our guide which will take you from step one (setting up your screening room) all the way to the end (choosing what to watch).

Grab some glasses

To watch 3D TV programming, you'll need a pair of active-shutter 3D glasses. They're called shutter glasses because they 'shutter' in sync to the refresh rate of the TV screen. In other words, each lens alternately darkens over each eye very quickly. While that is happening, the 3D TV displays different perspectives for each eye at the same rate. So the left eye sees one perspective while the right eye's lens is dark, and then the right eye sees another perspective while the left eye's lens is dark.

Now that you know what you're buying, you can see why the glasses are not exactly cheap. Most pairs cost around £99. If you have children (or if you have a small face), you can purchase special kid-size glasses; some are a bit more expensive, but they come in fun colours. If you're a prescription-glasses wearer, you can get some contacts or suck it up - there are no special shutter glasses for you, though Panasonic's glasses (which feature a different design) are slightly more comfortable.

Most kinds of shutter glasses are tied to TVs - Samsung glasses work with Samsung TVs, Sony glasses work with Sony TVs, and so on. That is, of course, unfortunate, because it means that if you own a Samsung 3D TV and your friend owns a Panasonic 3D TV, your friend can't just bring his glasses over to watch 3D TV at your house - you need to have a Samsung pair handy for him.

We tried a pair of Sony glasses with a Samsung TV, and the result actually looked decently three-dimensional. The problem, though, is that the Sony glasses require a Sony 3D transmitter - which you can't plug into a Samsung TV. So the only way that mixing brands would work for you is if you had a setup like ours, with a Samsung TV sitting next to a Sony TV.

TV makers naturally have a reason for this incompatibility. A Samsung representative points out that Samsung TVs are pre-calibrated to accommodate Samsung glasses, and might require significant calibration for non-Samsung glasses.

Save on shutters
At £99 a pop, shutter glasses can quickly make 3D TV a pricey affair, adding up to about £400 for a four-person family. Some 3D TV makers have noted this, and are bundling glasses (usually only one or two pairs, though) with their 3D TVs.

Companies also offer 3D 'starter kits', which usually include two pairs of glasses, a transmitter (if the transmitter is not built in to the TV), and a 3D Blu-ray disc or two. Most of these kits cost around £200, and some even feature otherwise unattainable 3D Blu-ray movies that have yet to be released. If all of this seems like a lot to spend on glasses that will work with only one company's TVs, never fear: Xpand has just released the first 'universal' shutter glasses. The Xpand Universal X103 3D glasses, which support Mitsubishi, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba TVs, cost $129 but they're not yet available in the UK.

NEXT PAGE: Calibrate your TV

  1. Present your 3D HDTV in the best way possible
  2. Grab some glasses
  3. Calibrate your TV
  4. What to watch

IDG UK Sites

Motorola Moto G2 release date, price and specs: Best budget smartphone gets upgrades

IDG UK Sites

How to join Apple's OS X Beta Seed Program: Get OS X Yosemite on your Mac before public release

IDG UK Sites

Why the BBC iPlayer outage was caused by a DDoS attack: Topsy and Tim isn't *that* popular

IDG UK Sites

How to make an 'Apple iWatch' using an iPod nano and a 3D printer