Your TV, in 3-D

I'll be the first to say that I don't like to do 3-D in theaters. Sometimes it makes me nauseated. It doesn't yet add enough to my movie experience, and the only reason I put up with it is because if I want to see a flick like Up or Avatar in a New York City movie theater, those are generally the only tickets left. So when Samsung unveiled its new line of 3-D flat-screens at the Time Warner Center this week, I was on the fence. Well, my stomach was. And my question was simple: Is 3-D really worth watching on a home system? It turns out the answer is yes ... and no.

At its most basic, the quality of Samsung's product is state of the art. I actually flinched when the character on the screen took a nice whack of his paddle ball and it looked like I was about to be hit in the nose. The screens also have a nifty little feature that can render 2-D content into 3-D content in real time.

From a hardware standpoint, Samsung has certainly made every effort to turn the 3-D experience into something that makes a viewer feel immersed in the film. BK Yoon, president of visual display at Samsung, who attended the Time Warner event, tells me that the development of their panel technology as well as system on chip engines is what has greatly improved the picture quality of 3-D.

On the content side, Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, who has partnered with Samsung and will create 3-D content for the electronics giant, says new digital tools allow filmmakers to author images with such a level of precision that there are virtually no flaws. According to both men, these innovations greatly help resolve the issue of 3-D fatigue, particularly eye soreness and that pesky nausea issue of mine.

But even if I know for a fact that 3-D looks better on the little screen, and it will likely be less prone to make me feel like I'm on an unintended roller-coaster ride, there's the issue of price in a still very cost-conscious economy.

Samsung's LED-based 3-D sets will start at $1,999.99 and run up to $7,000 for the 55-inch. The 3-D plasmas will range from $1,799.99 to $3,799.99. And don't forget the 6900 3-D Blu-ray player you'll need. It will cost you $399.99. Or you can opt for the 3-D-compatible Blu-ray home-theater system, which will set you back $900. But before you get hung up on those price tags, keep in mind that you'll need the glasses too. That's why Samsung created a starter kit that includes two pairs of 3-D glasses and a copy of For a limited time, customers can receive the kit for free with the purchase of a 3-D TV and 3D Blu-ray package. Otherwise, it'll cost you $350. Additional glasses run from $149.99 to $179.99.

Prices don't seem to bother Samsung's competitors. Panasonic and Sony have both jumped on the 3-D bandwagon, too. So there are high hopes that this is the year to leave 2-D behind.

Naturally, there are some who don't think the small screen is ready. News Corp. COO Chase Carey said the company has no plans to release its 3-D hit Avatar in 3-D DVD. "The market is not there in the short-term," he told Dow Jones.

The truth is, even with really pretty screens—and Samsung's screens are pretty—some experts agree it will take about two years before the market finds its place in the third dimension. Nausea aside, I tend to agree.

Your TV, in 3-D | Tech & Science