3D TV On The Cheap: Samsung PN50C490

Absolutely need a 3D TV, but absolutely can't spend three months' rent on one? Check out Samsung's new sub-$1,000 PN50C490 3D-ready TV.
By , Last updated on: 12/3/2014

Ready for the third dimension, but only have three figures to spend on it? Lucky for you, Samsung just released the world’s first sub-$1,000 3D TV, the PN50C490.

How did Samsung do it? They took an otherwise unimpressive 720p, 50-inch plasma set with unimpressive black levels, and slapped 3D capability in there. Aside from the stereoscoping magic, it’s nearly identical to the PN50C450, a big-screen TV on a low budget.

In general, 3D TV looks best on a plasma display because they can churn out a smoother, more cinematic picture than an LCD-based display. The 3D illusion works on active-shutter systems (such as a 3D TV) because each eye sees a slightly different image in alternating succession. The faster that succession, the more realistic the effect. So the PN50C490 has that going for it. But 720p is a low resolution for such a large screen by today’s standards.

So is this a good deal? Maybe. If you’re dying to get into the 3D trend (there aren’t that many of you out there), this is the least-wallet-busting option out there. Don’t forget that you’ll need a few pairs of active shutter glasses and a 3D Blu-ray player (the Samsung starter kit, which includes two pairs of glasses and Monsters Vs. Aliens on 3D Blu-ray goes for a smooth $349...ouch).

Update 9/15/2010: Engadget reports that the PN50C490 now ships with two pairs of shutter glasses for free. The deal has been spotted at Amazon, Best Buy, Vanns, and Samsung's own web store. If you were on the fence before, this is as good a reason as any to pick one of these up right now. There's no word on how long this deal will last.

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