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Will a 3D Blu-ray Player Play 3D On Any TV?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (February 9, 2011) -- I get dozens of e-mails every week from readers asking questions about everything from when their TV provider will add a new HD channel to how to install a wireless Blu-ray player.

So, I thought I would publish some of the best questions here in this new (reprised, that is) column called, "Ask Swanni."

Q.  Will a 3D Blu-ray player play 3D images on my regular HDTV? -- Wayne C.
The answer is no, but don't be embarrassed by asking the question. I've been asked by several readers whether you need a 3D HDTV if get a 3D Blu-ray player. It's not surprising that some people would think so. The industry, which rarely communicates clearly, simply says the player is a 3D player. Why wouldn't some people think it could display 3D images regardless of what television you have? In fact, I suspect many 3D Blu-ray buyers are making the purchase because they think it's an inexpensive way to bring 3D to the home.

But, again, the answer is no.

Q. When will DIRECTV add more HD channels? I'm getting very frustrated! -- George B.
I tried to warned everyone a year ago that DIRECTV wasn't likely to add many HD channels in the next few years. The satcaster is trying to trim spending and buying the rights to carry new channels is a major expense.

I know DIRECTV made a big deal out of having a '200 HD channel capacity,' but it was just a marketing ploy to make you think it would actually carry 200 HD channels. Right now, DIRECTV has roughly 130-140 real HD channels and I don't think it will add more than 10 in the next 12 months. If that.

Q. I'm thinking of buying a Blu-ray player that has Netflix and video streaming. But how is the picture quality on the streaming videos? -- MaryLynn C.
It depends on your Internet Service Provider. If your ISP offers a relatively fast Broadband service, the picture quality on HD videos from Netflix and other Net TV services is very good. However, it still falls short of the picture quality on a Blu-ray high-def disc. By the way, if you want to test your ISP's Internet speed, go to Toast.net where you can measure it. The test will tell you how your ISP compares to other Internet services.

Q. Don't you think you're being unfair to 3D? Won't it grow like HDTV over time? -- Norm V.

Q. What's better? Plasma or LCD? Or LED? I'm looking to buy a new TV for my father. -- Anna C.
I get this question all the time. If you are going to place your TV in a relatively dark room, buy a Plasma set. The Plasma HDTV is better at displaying blacks, and making all colors and details seem more realistic. But both LCD and LED sets will likely look better in well-lit rooms.

That said, it's a matter of preference. Many LCD owners will swear by their sets, which explains why the category is still #1 in overall sales. But most industry insiders will choose Plasma.

Q. What's the best show in HDTV today? Best as in picture quality, in your opinion? -- Sandy C.
That's a great question. I think any football game on CBS and NBC looks great (Fox, not so much; too inconsistent.) NESN, MASN and the MLB Network all do a great job with baseball. As for non-sports shows, I'm really impressed with the detail and vivid colors displayed during the live broadcasts of the awards shows (Oscars, Golden Globes, etc.). As for the primetime shows, I would single out Showtime's Dexter, HBO's Boardwalk Empire, Fox's House, CBS' CSI, Fox's American Idol and Fox's Fringe as shows that generally offer top-quality HD picture quality.

Q. Could you recommend one Blu-ray disc that would really show off the great quality of the Blu-ray player? -- Aaron T.
There are many, many movies that look awesome on Blu-ray. But I would pick The Dark Knight, the last in the Batman series. Not only is the movie one of the decade's best (2000-2010), the picture is flawless whether the scene is dark (as it often is) or well-lit. Watching The Dark Knight on Blu-ray is a great cinematic experience.

If you have questions for Swanni, send them to: swann@tvpredictions.com

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TVPredictions.com to see today's Swanni Sez.


Phillip Swann is president and publisher of TVPredictions.com. He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at swann@tvpredictions.com or at 703-505-3064.

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