Special Report: Holiday Shopping in Three Dimensions

Special Report: Holiday Shopping in Three Dimensions

Nov 26, 2010

Many of you are working off your Thanksgiving food comas by running around making your Black Friday Blu. Yes, Blu-ray has broken into the mainstream at last and lots of people have a new player on their wish lists.

Some of you who have 3-D-ready TVs or are buying them might want to take your home experience to the third dimension with a Blu-ray 3D player. Prices on the players have come down drastically in the past few months. For example, you can get a wireless Sony BDP-S570 Blu-ray 3D player with a slew of Internet services (Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, etc.) and PC streaming like Blu-ray Bob has for under $150. Samsung, LG and a few other manufacturers have other 3-D models with similar features in the same price range. Just a few months ago, a Blu-ray 3D player would have set you back $400 or more, so $150 seems to be the new sweet spot. It's also worth mentioning that if you have a PS3, it can easily be upgraded to 3-D capability via a firmware update for free.

Next you'll need 3-D glasses and, for the most part, you are restricted to buying the same brand as your TV. Blu-ray Bob took advantage of Mitsubishi's offer for two free pairs of glasses and an adapter with the purchase of a big-screen Mitsubishi TV and other manufacturers have similar bundle offers. No matter what 3-D TV you own, another option is to buy XpanD Universal 3D Glasses. The advantage here is that other 3-D glasses will only work with the same brand of TV whereas the Xpand glasses, which retail for about $129, can be used with almost any 3-D TV with a click of a button.

So what Blu-ray 3D content is available right now? A lot of big titles are bundled exclusively with specific TV purchases for the holidays: Panasonic has Avatar, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Coraline; Samsung has Shrek: The Whole Story, Monsters vs. Aliens, IMAX: Galapagos 3-D and How to Train Your Dragon; Sony has Alice in Wonderland and Bolt. Eventually all of these titles will be available for individual sale but, right now, the only way to visit the glowing blue world of Pandora or go down the rabbit hole with Alice in 3-D is by buying a specific television.

There is still plenty of Blu-ray 3D content available for individual sale to take your home theater to the next dimension. Available now or before the end of the year are animated films like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Despicable Me, The Polar Express, A Christmas Carol, Open Season, Monster House and Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Not everything is family-friendly fare, so check out Clash of the Titans (which looks better in 3-D at home than in theaters), Resident Evil: Afterlife, Step Up 3D, Piranha 3D and My Bloody Valentine 3D (a Best Buy exclusive) if you want to take the action up a notch. There are also a bunch of specialty Blu-ray 3D IMAX titles like Into the Deep, Deep Sea, Dinosaurs Alive! and more as well as The Official FIFA World Cup Film, which takes immersion to a whole new level for sports fans by making you feel that you are on the soccer field with the pros.

If you're on the fence about the amount of 3-D content out there, remember that you'll be able to access your TV provider's 3-D channels (many already have ESPN 3D and various On Demand titles) with the same glasses you use for your favorite Blu-ray 3D titles. You can also pretty much expect any movie that gets a 3-D release in theaters to also get a Blu-ray 3D release a few months after, so there will be plenty more titles ready to pop out of your television next year.

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