3D TVs hit the market, but do you need one?

Just when you thought you bought the perfect high-definition television, three-dimensional TV becomes the newest rage. Does 3D TV mean the highest level of home entertainment? It looks like electronics makers think so, with Sony, Samsung and Mitsubishi all launching their consumer line of 3D ready, flat-screen televisions. However, Panasonic, which sold its first unit last week at Best Buy -- has them beat. It's available and in stores for a hefty $2,899.99.

Panasonic's package includes a 50-inch Panasonic Viera VT20 3D HDTV, BDT 300 Blu-Ray disc player and one set of 3D eyewear.

All new 3D compatible TVs aren't cheap, although Samsung had the lowest price so far, with its 3D TVs ranging from a 46-inch LCD for $1,700 to $6,800 for a 63-inch, plasma 3D TV available starting in May. Sony's prices for 3D TV will begin around $3,875 for a 46-inch, LCD screen which comes with two pairs of 3D glasses. Sony's models will be available in June.

Although almost all the companies say the new TVs will be a necessity for hardcore gamers, the jury's still out on whether 3D and goofy eyewear is for everyday use. Some sensitive viewers cite feeling as if they are on a nauseating roller coaster ride or about to be punched in the face, which isn't a pleasant everyday type of experience. But the most vocal criticism is that there is so little 3D programming, it seems an awful lot of ducats to drop on an occasional movie. (Just an extra set of 3D glasses sets you back around $150.)

Wasn't the latest ideal television supposed to have the clearest, crispest, most detailed 2D experience? And isn't that what most people spent $1,000 to $5,000 on recently? So perhaps bounding after the newest technology, like 3D, isn't the wisest move.

Chances are most TVs will become 3D compatible in the next few years, so consumers can use them as much or as little as they want and at much lower prices.
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