Update June 29, 2011: Samsung has a new offer with more caveats that applies to people who purchased TVs June 28th and later.
Update May 11, 2011: Since this blog post published we have received reader mail and comments from customers who said that, despite purchasing a qualifying TV after the date(s) below, they did not receive 3D glasses. We brought these complaints to Samsung, and today were told the following by a Samsung representative:
"Samsung will be issuing an official statement on this matter soon. We're aware consumers have been frustrated by the lack of clarity on how they can get their 2 pairs of 3D glasses with the purchase of a 2011 Samsung TV, as stated in our promotional announcement. We'd like to reassure you and your readers that they will get their glasses and will be sharing information shortly."
We'll update this post when we receive the statement or more information.
Today Samsung announced that starting April 24, two pairs of its base 2011 3D glasses, model SSG-3100GB, would be included with every Samsung 2011 3D TV free of charge.
The company has also reduced the price of additional sets of 3100GB glasses from $129 list to $50 each, effective May 1.
Samsung's glasses are powered, active-shutter models, which use Bluetooth to synch with the TV as opposed to the Infrared synching used by the 2010 versions. These new glasses are incompatible with Samsung's 2010 3D TVs.
In our tests the Bluetooth sync works well, and overall 3D performance has improved compared to last year on the model we tested (see the upcoming UND6400 review for more). In our previous early tests we prefer the picture quality of active 3D to passive overall.
Passive 3D vs. active 3D: Hands-on TV comparison
Six 3D TVs compared
CNET's 3D TV FAQ
Samsung's move is a pretty obvious response to the inclusion of four pairs of passive, unpowered 3D glasses with models like the Vizio XVT3D650SV and LG LW5600 series--the latter just started shipping in conjunction with a major advertising campaign. Additional pairs of passive polarized glasses cost as little as $5 or less online, and work with any passive 3D TV.
We expect similar pricing moves by companies like Panasonic and Sony, which like Samsung focus exclusively on active 3D. It's worth noting that no TV maker's active 3D glasses are compatible with any other's, so you can't use those cheap(er) Samsung glasses with your Panasonic plasma.
The least-expensive Samsung TV to include the glasses will be the 43-inch PN43D490 plasma ($799). According to the press release:
"Customers purchasing the D7000 and above 3Dor the D6500 and above 3D Plasma TVs will continue to receive Samsung's 3D Starter Kit (SSG-3100M). The kit includes two pairs of 3D active glasses, promotional versions of...[the] complete Shrek collection on 3D Blu-ray and a voucher for Megamind 3D on Blu-ray. Customers already receiving this starter kit with a step-up TV model will not be eligible for the new promotion."