Do You Really Want to Watch a 3-D Television?

The GERD knows all about seeing in 3-D. He’s been peering through the 3-D lens for almost 30 years (don’t ask. Really, don’t ask. OK, if you must know, it’s a military thing!). Seeing in 3-D is really cool and useful for lots of things. I’ve also watched my share of 3-D movies and while they are cool, I find that it’s not really a comfortable experience. Certainly not something I’d want to do every day. So what about 3-D televisions?

3-D televisions are everywhere – and they’re all on sale! Why not just rush right out and buy one of these new toys and install it in your living room! Imagine how much better everything will look, from movies to TV shows to live sporting events – yes! Let’s buy one today!

Wait a minute! The old GERD hates to be the bearer of realistic news, especially when it comes to buying new toys (the GERD loves new toys!), but there are a few facts to consider before buying a 3-D television.


A quick perusal of relevant web sites (Amazon, Best Buy & Wal-Mart) shows that while the costs of 3-D televisions are coming down, they are still a pricy option. The cost for one of these lovelies ranges according to size: an average of $300-$500 for 32”- 42” models, $650-$1,000 for 47”-55” models, and for the really serious three dimensional people out there, from $3000-$9999 for 55”-75” monsters; almost all of these are “Smart” 3-D TV’s (capable of direct internet connections to provide Netflix, YouTube, Facebook etc.) For the purpose of this comparison, I only considered systems capable of 1080P and at least 120Hz, don’t waste your time on systems with less than this.

Cost – Part Two:

What about those terrific 3-D movies you’ll want to watch? To do that you will need a 3-D capable DVD player. How much do these cost? Quick Batman, back to the web! Let’s save time and just go for the average priced system. Panasonic has a 3-D, WiFi, built in Blu-Ray, 1080p player for just $249.98. What am I waiting for?

Cost – Part Three:

You’ll need more! The Movies themselves! A quick survey shows $34.99-$89.00 for recently released 3-D movies; older movies (Megamind, for example) can be found for $29.99. A bit more expensive than the $8.99-$14.99 for current Blu-ray movies.

Cost – Part Four :

What about a Sound System? Although not required, who wants to splash out this much money just to listen through the TV speakers? Let’s add between $350-$750 for a good theater sound system; more if you’re so inclined.

Cost – Part Five:

Glasses – you gotta have glasses. There are two types depending on the type of 3-D TV you have. Active glasses (most common) have a rechargeable battery and run from $19.99 to $79.99; Passive, (no battery, which makes them lighter and less expensive) which go for $12.99-$29.99 apiece, although you can go as high as $149.99 for the image conscious.


The key to seeing stereo is the glasses. Whether an active or passive system, glasses are required (at least for now). Wearing 3-D glasses for any length of time can actually be a problem. In my own experience, looking at 3-D for more than a few hours gives me a headache. The web site states, “While watching three-dimensional television has not been shown to produce permanent adverse health effects, multiple reports in the media indicate that watching 3D TV can cause minor health problems such as dizziness, headaches and eyestrain. Some doctors say more serious health problems such as epileptic seizure and psychological problems are also possible. Teenagers, children, and people with certain types of health problems are more likely to experience problems while watching 3D TV.”

Wearers beware!


Besides expensive 3-D movies, what else is there to watch? 3-D broadcast TV actually exists, and the availability of 3-D TV is growing. Direct TV and Comcast both offer 3-D television, and live 3-D sports broadcasting is growing. However, in comparison to HD content, 3-D has a very small selection. Perhaps in time this selection will grow, but recording and/or broadcasting is 3-D is expensive for the networks and only time will tell if it grows significantly.


Let’s add it all up. I’m using “middle of the road” costs for this summary.

3-D Television Cost = $700 for a 47” model
3-D DVD player = $250
3-D movies = 10 movies at $29.99 each – $299.99
Glasses = $24.99 for 2 pair

Total = $ 1,274.98 for a basic 3-D starter kit. This price could be more like $4,000 if you wanted to upscale a few items. If you want to go nuts, $10,000+ is not out of reach.

By the way, if you have the “go nuts” kind of money to spend on a TV, contact me – I have some land I want you to invest in!

Next Time: Did You Hear That?