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3-D TV

CES attendees wear 3-D glasses as they watch a 3-D television in the Panasonic booth at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Hilton January 7, 2010 in Las Vegas.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Many of us were blown away by the 3-D visual effects of "Avatar" when we saw it in theaters. Now, that same experience is headed to your home theater. Three-D is considered by many to be the "next big thing" in visual entertainment, so a 3-D-capable television is a great gift idea this season.

Three-D TVs can come with either special glasses like you get in the theaters, known as "passive 3-D," or they can include battery-powered liquid crystal shutters that generate the 3-D effect -- this is called "active 3-D." Active 3-D was the most common type when these TVs launched last year, but lately passive 3-D TVs are more common. Passive glasses are less expensive as well, but the quality isn't quite as a good [source: CNET].

It's important to note that 3-D hasn't become mainstream quite yet. Three-D Blu-Ray DVDs are rare and 3-D TV channels are even rarer. However, 3-D video games are catching on quickly, so a TV that can handle those effects might be great for gamers. Right now, it's best to think of 3-D as just one of the many features offered on a modern TV, not as the main reason to purchase a new set. Still, having a 3-D TV means you'll be ready for the exciting new features that might be available in the near future.

Next up, we'll look at one of the most revolutionary cameras ever developed.

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