The price of 3D televisions has crashed since their introduction 18 months ago, with name brands now selling 42 inch active models for a smidge under $1000. The sting in the tail is that four pairs of 3D glasses for the family will add around $500, but with Ohki’s passive 3D set you get the whole deal delivered to your door for a smidge under $650.
Worth a look? We thought so.
Features and specs
Korean electronics giant LG was the first to market with a passive 3D TV in mid-2011, and as the only maker of such panels in the world, its technology is the bedrock for the Ohki model under review here (Toshiba is also using LG’s passive 3D technology).
Ohki is the house brand of e-tailer, Ohki, and is available exclusively through its online store, which also sells cameras, GPS, appliances and other electronics equipment from mainstream brands.
In the box, you’ll find the LCD TV, a stand that needs to be assembled, HDMI cable, remote, a manual and four sets of passive 3D glasses. These are the same type you receive with your 3D cinema ticket, and are readily available elsewhere for around $10 each.
Ohki’s 42-inch (OHK42/LCD3D) supports 1080p Full HD, although only in 2D. Like all passive 3D sets currently available, the polarising technology used to alternate images to the left and right eyes effectively halves the resolution of the image, presenting a lower definition picture.
There’s plenty of connectivity options on the Ohki, with three HDMI sockets, one VGA, two component and two sets of composite RCA ports. You’ll also find two USB ports here, designed for both loading external content or recording programs to external USB drive using the set’s PVR feature.
The set provides a pair of 5 watt speakers.
The generic nature of the entry-level TV ‘animal’ is apparent in this Ohki 3D TV: it’s cosmetically unremarkable, the remote is standard, though nicely responsive, and the menu system is familiar, if a bit workman-like.
The picture, however, is what we’re here for, so what of just what kind of a 3D picture does $650 buy?
The answer is a surprisingly decent one, provided you’re prepared to muck about with the settings depending on the source material.
For example, the 3D Blu-ray versions of “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs” and “The Lion King” delivered nicely convincing 3D effects out of our PS3 with the Ohki 3D set to “Antitone” mode. “Monster House”, however, displayed little 3D in this mode, but switching the regular “Positive Order” setting added the depth that was missing.
There was nothing we could identify about the source material that indicated which setting would suit best, so we recommend you try all options when loading your movie or game.
In general viewing terms, the best 3D was enjoyed two to three metres back from the screen. Closer, and the perception of depth is diminished.
Although the native brightness of any 3D TV does suffer when watching in 3D, the Ohki was able to produce images with respectable contrast when viewed behind the eyewear. Its picture also offers a wide angle of view, meaning there’s 3D for everyone on the couch and on the floor.
Crosstalk – where the image intended for the left eye overlaps the image for the right eye – was frequently apparent, however, and visible as ghosting on the displayed images. This distracts considerably from the onscreen action as it dismantles the 3D effect, and appears more pronounced with complex material, like fast moving action sequences in movies and games such as “Batman: Arkham City” in 3D on PS3.
So it is then, that to bring a 3D TV to market for $650, certain costs have to be cut, and it’s here – in the electronics that handle the complex task of processing the video signal – that these savings appear to have been made.
In 2D, performance from the Ohki is on par with other models at this price point. Colours are good, but black performance doesn’t match the deep inky levels of the premium sets, with dark areas suffering from a loss of detail.
Like most flat panel TVs, audio performance is only adequate, with the 5 watt speakers suitable only for news and casual sit-com viewing. For a proper sound experience, put away the money you’ll save on this TV on an outboard home theatre system.
Ohki’s 42 inch full HD TV provides 2D performance on par with other sets at this price, and throws 3D in as a neat entertainment bonus. That it doesn’t deliver performance as good as 3D televisions selling for 50 percent and more than its $650 price shouldn’t surprise: for value-seeking shoppers looking to fill a space in the kids’ rumpus room, it’s probably going to be good enough.