Well if you are in the market now, things are pretty good. You can get a really nice TV for well less than $500. 3DTV Buying Guide and wirecutter.com seems like a pretty good resource for this. But basically, if you are buying a new screen, given the small premiums, it makes sense to get something that is also 3D capable at least in the mid range. The screens these days do look remarkable, but as in all cases, it makes sense to do some shopping:
These are for basic screens that deliver good results. They are pretty reasonably priced, but I’d have to say, given the small premiums and the fact most folks will have their televisions for years (as opposed to PCs), it makes sense to buy up a little. In fact, it might make more sense to get a good computer monitor in the 27″ range than to get one of these, but that’s up to you. Most of the panels are LCD with LED backlighting and made by LG. The LCD ones from Samsung tend to be very high quality. But actually, going a step back and using Plasma at a smaller screen size and a lower resolution (since you can’t really see 1080p at 43″ from 8 feet away).
- Samsung PN43E450. This is $420 from Amazon and a basic but high quality 720p 2D choice. it is 43″ so if you want really immersive (eg 40 degree field of view, you should be 4.3 feet away, or if you just want more traditional TV viewing of 20 degree, then you can be 8 feet).
Given 3D is coming and that passive seems like a good choice, looking at a good LG or Vizio makes some sense given the cost of active shutter 3D glasses, going passive makes much sense.
- Panasonic TC-P42UT50. This is a 43″ Plasma with active 3D but doesn’t seem to be in production anymore
- LG 42LM6200. Although some say that LG has a high failure rate. This is passive 3D, so more practical. $784. $830 from Best Buy
- Vizio M3D420SR. The performance leader for passive 3D. It is $890 from Amazon
And not mentioned but one that gets good reviews is a lower quality 3D which uses CCFL backlight (so not LED)
- LG 47CM565 is also top rated at 47″ at $600 on Amazon. We actually got this panel and it is pretty amazing to see how good the quality is for $600. Outfit it with the Panasonic 220 Blu Ray player for $120 (on sale at Best Buy) and you’ve got a terrific system. Sound isn’t too bad either. The main tradeoff is that it is only 60Hz vs the 120Hz of the models above, but that makes it quite a bit cheaper and for most users with passive where the field is split into 540 lines per cycle anyway, 60Hz is plenty. Having tried it, I have to agree, it is quite flicker free. The main issue is viewing angle to get the 3D effect.