3D Ready vs 3D TV

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Updated January 23, 2023

For a while, 3D TVs were expected to usurp HD technology as the next titleholder of consumer tech’s best TVs. The movement’s fizzle now makes sense when looking back without the rose-tinted 3D glasses. Still, there are many exciting stages of the 3D experience that are worth reflection.


  • You can use a 3D TV right out of the box; you just plug it in and watch — some models will include the 3D glasses.
  • 3D ready TVs require purchasing a separate transmitter and special 3D glasses; they also require setup before they’re functional.
  • Both types of 3D transmission TVs are no longer manufactured, but can be found for sale as used and refurbished models.

Let’s look at 3D Ready vs 3D TVs and how these seemingly kindred display types stack up against each other. And given that 3D projector technology is still being manufactured, you can check out our article here where we compare a 3D projector vs 3D TV.

Comparing a 3D Ready TV vs a Full 3D TV

Once, 3D-ready TVs were a brave new step toward introducing 3D content to the market. To better understand what a 3D-ready TV entails, it might be helpful to revise the name to 3D-almost-ready. The term “3D-ready” means that the device can display 3D images, but not yet. It requires additional pieces and setup before it can show 3D movies, such as a 3D transmitter kit and at least one pair of 3D glasses.

Insider Tip

The 3D glasses required for an active 3D television are much more expensive than those for a passive one.

Traditional 3D TVs, on the other hand, come ready out of the box, with 3D active glasses and shutter control that comes built into the TV. If you’re looking for more knowledge on 3D TVs, we have a great article outlining the difference between 3D TVs being active vs passive.

Setting Up Shop

The 2D-to-3D conversion process of the 3D-ready TV requires more setup time than simply taking the TV from the box and sporting the 3D glasses. Unlike the 3D TV that has everything built-in, you still have to connect it to a 3D transmitter.

Image Quality

When it comes to 3D technology, screen size is essential to produce the full effect. There’s little difference in overall image quality between either 3D viewing experience, but 3D-ready TVs may have a slight edge with 2D content.


One significant pitfall of the 3D trend was that the prices were just too high. A 3D-ready TV is often much cheaper than a full 3D TV, but you have to factor in the cost of the 3D glasses and transmitter. You should also know that if you don’t need a large screen TV, you can look at computer monitors as well, as they are very similar to TVs now. You can learn more about the similarities in our article on TV vs monitors. And if your TV is outside, you may want to look at a comparison of aluminum vs plastic TV boxes for its enclosure. While it won’t affect the image quality, it will help with durability and protection.


If you plan on having a 3D setup anywhere outside, make sure to buy 3D polarized glasses.


Is it possible to play 3D movies on a projector?

Many projectors come with settings that allow viewers to choose 3D. However, not all do, and you’ll still need the special 3D glasses to view.

Do 3D TVs allow you to watch regular TVs as well?

You can watch anything on a 3D TV without a pair of glasses, as you would a regular TV. It will only be blurry when the TV detects 3D content.

Why were 3D TVs discontinued?

Manufacturers found many consumers didn’t care for the 3D feature or the extra costs that came with it.

STAT: The Power of Love was the first-ever public release of a 3D movie. It was shown in 1922 at Astor Theatre in New York City. (source)

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