The early adopter’s guide to 3D TV, cameras, camcorders, and editing

Will your 3D camera work on your 3D TV? We ask some questions

Sports fans can check out ESPN 3D, which currently shows scheduled sports events in 3D (consult the ESPN 3D schedule) and aims to begin showing nonstop 3D video content on February 11. The channel is available on most large cable/satellite TV providers, including AT&T Uverse, Comcast, and DirecTV.

Elsewhere, the 3D TV offerings are underwhelming. Comcast's 3D Events channel, available in some areas, is reserved for broadcasting special 3D events, and DirecTV has a channel devoted to its paid 3D video-on-demand service. 3D TV owners hoping for more programming options may benefit from a joint venture between Sony, IMax, and the Discovery Channel called 3Net, which aims to launch in early 2011. Until it arrives, though, there's not much beyond ESPN 3D and whatever you can find on Blu-ray.

The state of the 3D union

At this stage, making a major 3D hardware purchase looks safer for anyone who is interested primarily in shooting 3D still images and viewing them with minimal fuss on a 3D TV. The .MPO format is well on its way toward becoming the standard 3D still-image file type, and more and more 3D TVs will offer native support for .MPO files. If you want to buy a 3D-capable still camera right away, you can probably do so without incurring major buyer's remorse down the road, as long as the camera shoots .MPO-format 3D stills. The most impressive still-image output we've seen to date came from the Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3.

Material from 3D Blu-ray discs or content providers' channels aside, video is much harder to play back if you don't directly connect the capture device to the TV. The presence of too many disparate file types and too little native video file support makes recommending one camcorder over another extremely dicey. If you're willing to connect your camera or camcorder to your 3D TV via HDMI each time you want to watch high-quality 3D video, it will work--but the process is cumbersome, and the "3Dness" of the images may vary.

Beyond shooting your own 3D photos and video, a handful of 3D Blu-ray discs are available for at-home viewing, and more broadcast 3D content is coming later this year. The launch of around-the-clock 3D content on ESPN 3D and of the 3Net channel should provide an interesting test of 3D's mainstream in-home appeal. If the content is good enough to support repeat, everyday 3D viewing, those big-name offerings may sway buyers to invest in a 3D set.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

PC World Staff

PC World (US online)

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?