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MTBS Visits Best Buy in Wilmington, DE

By Neil Schneider

One of the challenges of living in Canada is it takes a bit longer for the latest and greatest models to make it north of the border.  My last trip to the local retail store only featured the Samsung LED 3D HDTV, and the Sony Bravia just recently started to make an appearance.

The MTBS team took some much needed vacation time and drove down to Wilmington, Delaware on the tail end of our trip.  For fun, we decided to scope out the local Best Buy, and according to their staff, it's arguably the biggest Best Buy in the United States!  Maybe it's because Wilmington, Delaware has no sales tax?  A definite plus for those shopping for pricier gadgets!

We got the go ahead to take several pictures of the 3D HDTVs on display including models by Panasonic, Sony, LG, and Samsung.  We don't do hardware reviews on MTBS because it's not our place to give competitive advantages to one solution over another.  However, we will share some opinions that the retailer shared with us.

Panasonic Viera 3D HDTV

This is the Panasonic 50" 3D HDTV.  According to the Best Buy representative, the image quality ranked highest between the units.  When asked about the longevity of plasma versus LCD displays, he explained that plasma is much better than it used to be, and estimated the lifespan of this unit to be about 85,000 hours.

Do you like what you see?  Participate with The U-Decide Initiative, and you might actually win a Panasonic Viera 3D HDTV like this for free!  It only takes about ten minutes to finish the survey.

Sony Bravia 3D HDTV

The Sony Bravia 3D HDTV ranked second for display quality according to the staff.  Sony boasts the highest number of emitters among the televisions (fifteen) compared to the others (three to six).  According to the sales rep, more emitters mean you will have a wider field of placement for the glasses.  I recommend visiting a retailer in person to see where the glasses physicially work and don't work in relation to the TV, and find out how many glasses you can use simultaneously.  This may or may not be an advantage for you.

By the way, the above picture was taken through Sony's glasses with a 3D camera.  If you are viewing with an S-3D monitor, you will see how Motor Storm looks on PS3!

Samsung 3D HDTV

LG Electronics' 3D HDTV

The Samsung units were also on display, as was LG's.  For whatever reason, the Samsung and LG 3D modes were not active when the pictures were taken - sorry about that.  I never saw LG's shutter glasses solution until now, so that was a learning experience.  Our earlier demonstrations with LG were all based on their polarized solution - it would have been good to see that at a Best Buy too!

A bit of analysis I can share is that content is king, and display manufacturerss need to get in the game - literally.  According to the helpful sales reps, customers are asking about 3D gaming above all else.  The problem is that out of all the TVs we saw on display, only Sony had 3D gaming content to show, and that was a major handicap for the other display makers.

It's understandable that Sony was able to do this because their internal game developers can easily pump out content and license it out for display on Sony Bravias.  The other manufacturers didn't do nearly enough in the gaming arena, and only had generic sports and movies to show.  What is a customer going to buy?  The 3D HDTV that shows the content they want, or the manufacturer that says they can play the content they want?  This is a serious problem for our otherwise diverse industry.

Fortunately, video games and the companies that make them are very diverse, and gaming can be properly represented if it is chased!  The industry just needs to do some catching up on a non-proprietary basis.

We are heading back soon, and hope to have more news to share!