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DepthQ Modulator: Special Features

Posted on October 5, 2013 by Art Feierman

Supports multiple 3D frame rate

First and foremost, the DepthQ Modulator allows virtually any projector capable of double the standard frame rate (say 48fps for 24fps movies, although officially they start at 120fps), or 120fps from 60fps content). By supporting speeds of up to 400hz, the modulator can work with faster frame rates than any existing projectors we're aware of as of this writing.

Two Polarization Modulators To Choose From:

The DepthQ Modulator comes in two sizes, the smaller one is suitable for most portable and home theater projectors, while the larger one is likely to be used in larger, commercial venues, with much more powerful projectors, such as the bigger Christie, Digital Projection, projectiondesign, and other medium and large venue projector models. The smaller unit has an opening a bit larger than 2.75" x 2.75" while the larger one, used with projectors sporting much larger lenses, supports an opening of over 7.1 inches. That will fit in front of all but the most huge lenses on the largest known projectors. In other words, between the two sizes, they fit just about all projectors.

No Long Distance Run-Around:

With the Depth Q Modulator and passive glasses, there's no inherent maximum distance from the screen. With active glasses, the syncing signal is either embedded into the picture - in which case range is very limited. In my experimenting, most active shutter glasses lose the sync when back much more than 30 feet. That can be a problem in a larger classroom, large training rooms, and certainly larger venues. Essentially those glasses can also work with an IR booster, but, that complicates the installation, and if the room is wide, several might be needed. The DepthQ, by comparison, makes things simple.

3D Compatibility

Right now, almost every brand of display using active shutter glasses, has it’s own glasses scheme. Buy glasses for a Sony LCDTV, and they won’t work with a Samsung LCDTV, Panasonic plasma, or your favorite 3D projector’s choice of glasses. In other words, if you want to have a Super-bowl party, with an active glasses system, plan on buying a lot of glasses, since the ones your friends already own won’t work on your screen (unless, of course, they are the same brand).

Fear not, companies like XPanD (major manufacturer of 3D glasses, now makes “universal” ones that support most brands, but those aren’t (yet, at any rate), what you’ll get when you first buy your 3D display.

Persistence of 3D Image

Active glasses lose sync, when you look away from the screen. Turn to your buddy to comment on how good that last football play looked in 3D, and bingo, the glasses are out of sync when you look back and it can take a second or 3 to regain the sync – and 3D image. Again, companies like XPanD have announced glasses that can hold sync for a number of seconds – upward of 10, a great improvement as well, but, again, another issue that you don’t deal with, when using the DepthQ Modulator, and passive glasses.

3D Polarization Options

When using passive glasses two polarization schemes are widely used – Linear, or Circular. Lightspeed offers DepthQ Modulators for either type, but you need to know which you want, as you have to specify circular or linear, one Modulator cannot do both.

Depth Q Modulator Operation

Setting up the DepthQ Modulator, and getting it to work proved to be a straightforward project. (Much easier than finding good 3D content, that's for sure.)

A small control unit syncs with either the computer's graphics card or the projector. The Control unit adjusts the signal to match the requirements of the Modulator (and plugs into the Modulator:

The Depth Q Modulator itself sits in front of the projector's lens. The distance itself is not critical nor is the alignment, or tilt. Just get all the light to pass through the Modulator's glass, and you are in business. The Modulator can be secured to a platform or mount of sorts to keep it in front of the projector.

The Modulator itself works at near "blinding" speeds, in terms of switching from one polarized state to another. Sporting a maximum time of 0.5 milliseconds, that's much faster than, say, the normal panel reponse of an LCD projector, so no worries there.

The smaller Modulator is rated for working with projectors of up to 4000 lumens, the larger one, up to 8500 lumens. If working with high brightness projectors, (higher than 8500), we recommend consulting Lightspeed for compatibility.

In working with the DepthQ modulator, I ran various movies, and other content provided by Lightspeed, and other sources. Lightspeed provided a small server loaded with 3D players, and content. It worked. In addition I was successful in using the Modulator with two non-Lightspeed projectors. (Both offered 120hz speed and claimed 3D with active glasses.

Lightspeed HDs3D-1 3D Projector

For the review, Lightspeed not only sent the Modulator, but one of their projectors. Their projectors are a joint venture with partner InFocus. We had anticipated their HDs3D-1 projector, but it wasn't ready in time, so they sent the equivalent (for 3D purposes) using a slightly older InFocus projector as the engine. The HDs3D-1 is also an InFocus OEM'd projector. Since we really didn't look at a finishedHDs3D-1 projector as a 2D projector, but just considered it's 3D abilities, that proved just fine for our (and hopefully your) purposes.

Unlike the Modulator, the HDs3D-1 Projector is designed to work with active shutter glasses. That said, it did also work with the Modulator and passive glasses, as would almost any single chip DLP projector with at least 120hz abilities.

Click for our "review" with more details and information on our experience with the Lightspeed / InFocus HDs3D-1 projector.

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