Vizio Bucks Trend and Ships a Passive 3D HDTV

Michael Brown

Passive 3D has never impressed us, but Vizio’s new Theater 3D HDTVs have managed to reopen our minds about the technology.

Passive 3D offers numerous advantages: Passive glasses don’t reduce brightness nearly as much as active-shutter glasses do, they’ll never give you a headache, they don’t rely on batteries, they’re lighter, and they’re a whole lot cheaper. And Vizio’s technology is RealD compatible, so you use the same glasses at the theater that you do at home.

But none of that matters if you don’t get a great 3D experience, and what we saw at Vizio’s booth yesterday really impressed us. We checked out Vizio’s XVT3D650SV, a 65-inch edge-lit LED LCD HDTV with local dimming (the screen is divided into 32 zones and the LEDs in each of those can be dimmed independently of each other to deliver strong black levels).

Where companies like Panasonic deliver just one set of active-shutter glasses, Vizio provides four pair of Marchon’s passive glasses. Marchon is a large manufacturer of eyeglass frames, and their lenses have a coating that blocks 100 percent of UVA ad UVB light, so you can wear them outdoors as sunglasses. You can even get prescription lenses so you don’t need to wear two pair of glasses when watching 3D movies.

The Vizio XVT3D650SV has an integrated 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter for Internet connectivity, and it supports a wide range of online services including Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and Vudu. The Bluetooth remote control boasts a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and you can pair Bluetooth headphones to the TV as well.

Vizio is selling the TV at Costco and Sam’s Club at an MSRP of $3,499. We’re looking forward to getting a sample into the Lab so we can compare it to plasma and LCD models that use active-shutter glasses.

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