We reviewed Philips' 21:9 TV last year, and despite our initial scepticism, we were very impressed with it. For movie buffs, it's a superb choice of TV, with its ultra-wide ratio and impressive picture and sound quality. Now it appears Philips might be about to make it even more attractive for home-cinema fiends by adding 3D.
The company demoed a prototype of this TV with support for 3D at the trade show IFA last year, but wouldn't be drawn on a release date. Philips today announced that the 3D version of the 21:9 TV will be available from late summer 2010, along with 3D versions of its 8000 and 9000 series. Philips won't be charging a 'premium' for 3D, although the 21:9 is already far from cheap at around £4,000. No 3D glasses will be supplied with the TVs, with customers having to purchase these separately.
Philips is using active-shutter technology to deliver 3D. This is the same system Panasonic uses on its TVs, and relies on a transmitter to sync a pair of glasses, which in turn produce the 3D effect by shutting off one eye at a time. This differs from the more passive polarisation system used in cinemas and means that the main expense is in the 3D glasses, which explains how Philips isn't adding a premium to an already expensive TV.
Instead you'll buy a 3D upgrade pack, which consists of two pairs of glasses and a wireless transmitter, with extra glasses available separately. Prices are yet to be announced.
Philips' 56-inch 21:9 TV is the natural platform for 3D -- its large screen size will make for a more immersive experience. It's also a TV aimed at people who want to enjoy movies in a format that most closely matches their local cinema -- imagine seeing Avatar in 3D and the 21:9 ratio, just like your local Odeon, only without some moron sitting next to you jabbering on the phone.
Philips is holding its yearly product launch this week and Crave is in attendance, so we'll hopefully spend some quality hands-on time with these TVs, and take some glorious photos for you to salivate over, albeit in two dimensions.
Update: This piece was originally written as speculation based on a post on flatpanelshd.com, which got the 21:9 part right, but didn't mention the other ranges. Philips has now officially announced the ranges.