3D TV is here. But do we want it? Is it practical? Will there be much to watch? Let’s start with the basics — does it work?

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A couple of years ago Hollywood decided to start producing a lot of 3D content. As with the move to widescreen and colour back in the 1950s, the impetus was to provide something in the cinema which wasn’t available to the public in the home, and thereby draw people back to the big screen.

But it didn’t last long, because 3D is now available in the home. Coming months will see at least three more brands releasing their products, but Samsung has become first on the Australian market with a range of 3D TVs and a 3D Blu-ray player. Here we look at that Blu-ray player (the BD-C6900), and the 140cm LCD TV (the UA55C7000WF).

EQUIPMENT

Perhaps surprisingly, 3D capability is a relatively minor upgrade in equipment capability. But that doesn’t mean it can be retrofitted. See the panel opposite for more about how 3D Blu-ray actually works. For our purposes here, the take-home message is that, 3D aside, there simply isn’t all that much difference between this Samsung TV and this Samsung Blu-ray player and the premium non-3D versions. Expect to see 3D proliferate through most of the premium product line-ups over the next year or so, and then gradually work its way down into everyday units.

But what we have here are Samsung’s premium LCD TV model, and its premium Blu-ray player, enhanced with 3D capability.

The TV has, well, very nearly everything. Perhaps it’s easiest to say that what it lacks is wireless networking, unless you wish to buy a Wi-Fidongle, which easily adds it. It is a super-slim panel, just 26.5mm thick, and with full high-definition resolution. It is an energy miser, thanks to its Edge LED backlight. This scores it a full six-star energy rating, and 526kWh per year of energy use.

The two USB ports can be used for multimedia playback, the Wi-Fi dongle, or to charge the 3D eyewear.

The 3D scheme for this TV works by flashing left, then right, then left, then right eye images, and so on, onto the screen. The eyewear uses liquid crystals to alternately blank the right, then left, then right, then left eye, and so on. Synchronisation is maintained by the TV using an IR transmitter at the bottom left of the screen. An IR receiver in the nose-rest of the eyewear receives its signal. For 3D to work, neither of these can be obscured.