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3D at Home: The Pros and Cons

June 18, 2012 | Comments

One of the biggest developments at the commercial cinema in recent years is the resurgence of 3D. Since James Cameron took the 3D world by storm with his billion-dollar blockbuster hit, Avatar, it wasn't long before studios started rolling out more and more content filmed in or converted to 3D.

Since the home theater market closely follows the commercial cinema, 3D is also one of the biggest trends to hit home theaters in the past few years. Digital display technologies like Plasma, LCD and DLP, along with the large storage capability of Blu-ray disc, allow viewers to experience the same in-your-face 3D content at home as in the theater.

Manufacturers use different technologies - either active or passive 3D glasses - to accomplish the effect, and some viewers tend to prefer one over the other. Been thinking about making the switch to 3D? Here are some pros and cons.


  • 3D is the latest trend in Hollywood and allows the experience at home to most closely replicate the experience found in the commercial cinema.
  • It adds a new level of depth and excitement to films.
  • 3D can add an incredible level of realism when watching sports on TV. For example, you can see and "read" the breaks on the greens at Augusta National when watching The Masters.
  • HDTVs that are 3D-capable are usually among the better performing sets from a manufacturer's lineup. This means that a 3D set will also typically deliver a terrific 2D high-definition picture.
  • Video gaming in 3D adds a new layer of involvement and immersion. Some experts believe gaming is the real future of 3D.


  • The selection of 3D content is currently limited. While thousands of Blu-ray discs are available, the number of available 3D titles is closer to 50, and many of these titles are animated films or IMAX documentaries.
  •  3D viewing requires wearing glasses. Every viewer must wear the glasses, which can add a significant cost if you entertain large groups. Some glasses are bulky and uncomfortable, and they are typically not compatible between different manufacturers. The glasses also make it more difficult to multi-task while viewing. Additionally, wearing glasses cuts the light output significantly, making for a dimmer image.
  • The 3D experience can cause eye fatigue, discomfort and even nausea in some viewers.
  • Viewing 3D may require upgrading your current Blu-ray player and audio/video receiver.
  • 3D via cable/satellite delivers a picture with only one-half the vertical resolution of the 2D, high-definition content.

Thinking about upgrading your current home theater system to incorporate 3D? Learn more about having a system professionally installed in your home by searching for a local qualified CEDIA home technology professional near you.