What to get for the tech geek on your list

A 3D TV viewer adorns a special pair of 3D goggles.

AVADirect Clevo 3D gaming laptop.

A 52" BRAVIA XBR HX909 Series 3D.

XPAND Universal 3D Glasses

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Kai Ryssdal: This is the segment for you if you've got a hard-to-please technophile to shop for this year. We visit every so often with Kevin Pereira, the host of G4 television's "Attack of the Show," to see what's what in the gadget world. Usually Kevin comes to us, but this time the toys were just too big to drag around. It's entertainment in three dimensions today: 3D TV, 3D glasses and 3D gaming.

If you've heard me chatting with Kevin before, you know we wasted no time getting to the fun part.

Kevin Pereira: 3D gaming to start.

Ryssdal: Alright, first of all, why?

Pereira: Some would say it's a gimmick, others would say it's an added dimension of playability, that it really sucks you into the game world.

Ryssdal: All right, we're going to go play with this thing. So let's come on over here. We're going to what looks, for all intents and purposes, like a regular old laptop. Is this a special laptop?

Pereira: Yeah, the laptop is 3D ready. You would have no idea this laptop supported 3D unless you popped on the glasses. But this is by AVA Direct. This is the Clevo 3D gaming notebook. And it's a beefy laptop, four gigs of RAM, it's about $1,700. It's bundled with NVidia's 3D Vision kit, which allows you to throw on the 3D glasses you're wearing right now. And once they sync up with the monitor, you can actually adjust the depth.

Ryssdal: Ooooooh.

Pereira: If you want to have a migraine, you can go to that level. If you want to induce a seizure, you go all the way.

Ryssdal: Ach! No, no don't do that.

Pereira: Too much?

Ryssdal: A little bit. So load me up with something here. Let's play.

Pereira: Um, we're playing some "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II."

Sounds from "Call of Duty" game

Ryssdal: Oooh wait. Was that me that just died?

Pereira: That was a 12-year-old who just slaughtered you. You get to watch the replay of you going down.

Ryssdal: Ooooh, that was me going down. All right, let's proceed here. Hold on, we've gotta get this first.

Sound of shooting from video game

Pereira: How did it look in 3D?

Ryssdal: Gory.

Pereira: Yeah, but that's the sort of beauty of the whole lack of content argument is that these games, there's hundreds of them, they all work in 3D and you can play them over and over again.

Ryssdal: How far are we from gaming becoming all 3D, all the time?

Pereira: I think certain developers would like it. It's gonna push bigger hardware, you need slightly beefier hardware to run the games. It's gonna push sales of these fancy glasses. But I think it really comes down to the consumer: Do they want 3D in their games? We'll know within the next two, three years.

Ryssdal: So we'll keep an eye out. We're going to go over to the other larger electronic component over here. It is a Sony... Looks like what, 40-inch flat screen television?

Pereira: It's a 52-inch.

Ryssdal: So gimme the pricing on this one.

Pereira: Fifty-two-inch Bravia 3D set that will cost you about $3,600.

Ryssdal: Which is pretty steep, considering you can get a 40-inch for $800.

Pereira: Right. You can go to Costco and get a 60-inch for $300. But it won't have the contrast, the clarity and, of course, it won't have the 3D.

Ryssdal: I'm going to get to the content thing again: How much 3D content is out there? Not necessarily on videos and stuff, which is easier to do, but on broadcast television, which is what most people go on TV.

Pereira: That's a tricky question. There's only a handful of satellite providers, really one, that is offering a couple test markets with 3D available. But we saw that when high-def happened.

Ryssdal: Yeah, that's true.

Pereira: When high-def came about, there was maybe one channel that was mostly flamingos migrating or volcanoes.

Ryssdal: But boy, it was good!

Pereira: But it was amazing. I watched that sunrise every morning in 720p. It was awesome.

Ryssdal: Let's talk about the glasses themselves. I have in my hand what I guess is just a stock set of Sony glasses, right?

Pereira: Correct.

Ryssdal: And they only work with this television.

Pereira: They only work with this television and it's really frustrating. Some of the manufacturers have flipped what the lens needs to be on the left versus what the lens needs to be on the right. So, a Panasonic pair might not work with a Sony, etc.

Ryssdal: But you have an answer for that.

Pereira: Someone has an answer for that. These are the XPAND X103 Universal 3D glasses. They run about $100 a pair. But once you turn it on with these XPANDs, you can cycle through the different TV presets, and once it locks into the TV network you're watching, it'll go.

Ryssdal: Oh yeah, so you can see this in 3D. But it's interesting, when you look around the other computer monitors in the room, and you can see the lenticular effect. You can see those things going up and down, which is kind of cool.

Pereira: If it sounds like 3D is amazing from this...

Ryssdal: So here's the thing, 3D is really cool. But it's cumbersome in that you need the glasses and there's not all that content out there.

Pereira: Once it is all set up and working, it's an enjoyable experience.

Ryssdal: And expensive.

Pereira: Could be pricey, yeah. This will all drop down. By this time next year...

Ryssdal: All you tech guys say that. You all say, "Oh yeah, it'll get cheaper."

Pereira: 'Cause it does! This will all be cheaper.

Ryssdal: But I want it now.

Pereira: Well, you can get it now.

Ryssdal: But it's expensive!

Pereira: You're a radio personality! This is no problem. Your 3D glasses are gold plated.

Ryssdal: That's right. That's how it works in public radio, that's exactly the way it works. Kevin Pereira, G4 television, "Attack of the Show" is his program. Kevin, thanks a lot.

Pereira: Thank you sir.

Ryssdal: If you liked that check our website. We've got Kevin's top ten gadget picks for the holidays.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

AVADirect Clevo 3D gaming laptop.

A 52" BRAVIA XBR HX909 Series 3D.

XPAND Universal 3D Glasses

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