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December 2, 2017

Ask Engadget: What is the best 4K, 3D-capable TV?

by John_A

The support shared between readers in the comments section is one of the things we love most about the Engadget community. Over the years, we’ve known you to offer sage advice on everything from Chromecasts and cameras to drones and smartphones. In fact, our community’s knowledge and insights are a reason why many of you participate in the comments.

We truly value the time and detail you all spend in responding to questions from your fellow tech-obsessed commenters, which is why we’ve decided to bring back the much-missed “Ask Engadget” column. This week’s question comes to us from a reader who is in the market for a TV with pretty specific features. Weigh in with your advice in the comments — and feel free to send your own questions along to ask@engadget.com!

I really enjoy watching 3D Blu-rays at home and have a good collection. Now that 3D capability seems to have been dropped from most, if not all, new TVs, what do I do? My current TV is a Samsung 55-inch and only 1080p. I really want to get a new 60-plus-inch 4K model with 3D capability (not a projector). What are my best options?

Devindra Hardawar

Devindra Hardawar
Senior Editor

Consider yourself a rare consumer. While 3D was something the movie industry and TV makers pushed hard a few years ago, it wasn’t widely adopted by many. Like most failed formats, the problem lay in its complexity. You needed to have a 3D Blu-ray-capable player, as well as a 3D TV.

Once you were set there, you had to figure out what sort of glasses you needed to use (and keep them charged, if they were “active” frames). And, of course, only a few films, like Avatar, Hugo and How to Train Your Dragon, were worth watching again in 3D. So, it’s not a huge surprise to see support for the format dwindling today, especially as we have more impressive technological leaps like 4K and HDR.

So where does that leave you? While you don’t have many 3D options in low-end and mid-range 4K TVs, there’s still support in some higher-end sets. In particular, LG’s 2016 OLED models (the C6, E6 and G6) all feature 3D. You might also see some older 4K sets from around 2014 with 3D, but I’d steer clear of those since they don’t offer HDR, which is the real visual upgrade in modern TVs. And I know you’re not interested in projectors, but honestly they’re worth considering since plenty of 1080p models have 3D, and it’s a format that really benefits from being viewed on a giant screen.

It’s worth noting that LG completely omitted 3D in its 2017 TVs, and you won’t find it on other popular LCD sets, like Sony’s X900E. While it’s likely not difficult for manufacturers to bundle in the technology now, the relatively low adoption among consumers and lack of content makes it an easy sacrifice. Why invest time and energy including something that most people have been ignoring? 3D is clearly on its way out. But luckily for you, now’s a good time to nab one of those LG OLED sets at a huge discount.

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