Which 3-D TV is
right for you?
By Marc Saltzman
Q: I’m in the market for a new 3-D TV. Can
you explain the differences between active
3-D and passive 3-D?
A: Great question—and a very timely one.
As you walk around a Costco electronics
department, you’ll likely see several 3-D TVs displayed. Entertainment fans are looking to replicate
that eye-popping movie theater experience in their
homes. And finally, there is a lot more content available to justify the purchase, including 3-D movies,
television shows, sports, video games and 3-D-ready
cameras and camcorders.
There are two main kinds of 3-D TV technology to consider: active and passive 3-D. Both require
you to wear glasses.
Without getting too technical, some 3-D TVs
require “active shutter” glasses, which are battery
powered and wirelessly communicate with an emitter built into the TV. Passive 3-D TVs, on the other
hand, work with less expensive polarized 3-D
glasses—ones that don’t require any power—like the
pair you’d get at your local movie theater. Active
shutter glasses won’t work with passive 3-D TVs and
passive glasses can’t be used with active 3-D TVs.
Which one works better? It’s in the eye of the
beholder, as the expression goes. While it is pricier,
some tech experts believe active shutter delivers a
more convincing 3-D effect, resulting in more depth
and jump-off-the-screen visuals. That said, some
people see “cross-talk” (ghosting) or slight flicker
with some active 3-D TVs.
Passive 3-D TVs, on the flip side, use less expensive glasses, plus the glasses don’t require batteries or
recharging and are generally smaller and lighter.
They’re a great option for many people.
The best solution? Before you buy a 3-D TV—
active or passive—be sure to watch it in the store
before you bring it home.
Q: I’ve heard about getting access to the
Internet on my HDTV. How does this work
and what equipment is needed?
A: One of the most exciting trends is the fusion
between your television and the Internet. Most new
More in archives
On Costco.com, enter “Connection.”
At Online Edition, search
HDTVs allow you to access online content from the comfort of your favorite chair or sofa, be it social networking sites (such as Facebook or Twitter), video streaming services (such as You Tube or Netflix) or on-demand news, weather, sports scores, stock quotes and other personalized in- formation. Conventional satellite and cable TV services aren’t going anywhere yet, but this marriage between your television and the Internet gives you more options, control and interactivity. After all, you’ve got this 50-odd-inch television on your wall, so why not use it as a giant window to the Internet, too? Sometimes referred to as “smart TVs” or “IPTVs” (Internet protocol televisions), Internet-connected TVs might give you a full Web browser,
too, so you can use a search engine or visit and
bookmark any website you can on a computer,
smartphone or tablet.
Increasingly, you can choose which widgets or
apps you want to see on your screen—such as
Flickr, Picasa, Hulu Plus, Pandora Internet Radio,
MLB.tv and so on—but keep in mind that not all
television makers offer the same apps.
So how do you connect to the Internet? Some
TVs have integrated Wi-Fi connectivity so they can
join your home wireless network, while others offer
the option to upgrade via a wireless USB adapter.
Most TVs also offer a wired (Ethernet) option.
If you’re perfectly happy with your existing television, however, you can add Internet connectivity
with a small and relatively affordable box—such as
Roku, Boxee Box, LG Smart TV Upgrader or some
Internet-enabled Blu-ray players. But the models
with built-in Internet access are truly the wave of
the future. C
electronics or computers
you purchased at
Costco? Email them to:
Or send them to:
The Costco Connection
P.O. Box 34088
Seattle, WA 98124-1088
or fax to (425) 313-6718.
in the subject line. Marc
will answer selected ques-
tions in this column. We
regret that unpublished
questions cannot be
The Costco Connection
Costco sells a variety of 3-D TVs from leading
manufacturers in the warehouses and online at
Costco.com. Also available are Internet-enabled
Blu-ray players. All TV purchases come with free
technical support from Costco Concierge Services.
a leading high-tech
to more than three
on radio and TV, and is
the author of 14 books.
AUGUST 2011 ;e Costco Connection 15