Projector Reviews

DLP 3D Projection Technology – Part 2

This blog continues the discussion of DLP 3D projection technology.  In my previous blog I provided a brief history of DLP projectors and an overview of the DLP technology.  This 2nd blog on the subject continues with a summary of the current and soon-to-be-released DLP 3D projectors.  I also provide some preliminary news about a upcoming 3D projector using a laser light engine.

 

Before continuing with the discussion of DLP 3D projectors, I would like to mention a new 3D projection technology that appears to be coming to market next year.  Be warned that this information is unofficial and incomplete, but the professional digital cinema camera manufacturer RED appears to planning to introduce laser-based 3D projectors with 4K resolution models for both the commercial digital cinema and home theater markets.  James Jannard, founder of RED, has made a number of posts on the Red User Forum that provides tantalizing clues about this new RED 3D projector.  Below is a summary of what information can be gleaned from these posts:

    • – The official announcement of the Red Projector has been speculated by some on the Red User Forum to be coming as soon as at an already scheduled event being hosted by Red on November 3th to make an announcement about the new Red Scarlet camera, but it has not been confirmed by Jim Jannard that the Red Projector will also be announced at that event. However Jim Jannard has responded to the question “I’m assuming this projector is a good 1 to 2 years away?” by saying “sooner rather than later”.   Therefore, the official announcement may be coming soon.
    • – There will be both a Digital Cinema version and a home version of the Red Projector
    • – The Red Projector will have 4K resolution
    • – The Red Projector will support passive 3D
    • – The Red Projector will use a laser-based light engine.  It is unknown if the laser(s) will be used instead of a lamp as the light source for an existing imaging technology, such as DLP, or if the laser beam(s) is being scanned across the screen to directly form the image (see next point below)
    • – To the question on the Red User Forum “I guess RED is using a 2k DLP chip now and waiting for Texas instruments 4k chips to become more readily available and options. maybe in the CES 2012“, Jim Jannard responded “Not“.  It’s not clear if he was disagreeing with the “CES 2012” date, the evolution from a 2K to a 4K chips, or to the use of DLP technology.

The bottom line is this is something to keep an eye on, but I would expect the consumer version of the Red Projector to be priced for the high-end consumer market.

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Moving on to the continuation of the discussion of specific DLP 3D projectors.  This is intended to provide a sampling of current and upcoming low-to-moderate priced 1080p DLP 3D projectors.  Note that 3D projectors from Optoma were already discussed in my previous blog.

 

Mitsubishi plans to begin shipping their new HC7800D projector later this year.  This is a 1080p DLP projector using a single DMD chip and a color wheel with an effective 6X rate (to minimize the “rainbow effect”).  The HC7800D offers frame interpolation in both 2D and 3D modes.  Mitsubishi is also releasing a new generation of 3D active shutter glasses to go along with the HD7800D that use a new technology that is said to provide much faster switching times between the glasses opaque and transparent states.  This allows the glasses lens to remain transparent for an longer interval which results in more light reaching the viewer’s eyes (thus producing a brighter 3D image).  Initial information indicates the 3D image brightest (accounting for both the light output from the projector and the light loss thru the glasses) will be about twice as much as with many of the first generation 1080p 3D projectors.  While the HC7800D has a lens shift adjustment, it is of limited range and this projector (like many other DLP models) has a large vertical image offset.  As a specific example (based on preliminary information) of what this means, when using a 100 inch diagonal 16×9 screen and for when the projector is ceiling mounted, the projector (lens center) must be located at least approx. 9.5 inches above the top of the screen and at most approx. 22.8 inches.  So although this projector does have lens shift, it still provides limited flexibility in mounting location and also means it will not be well suited for use with screens using retro-reflective screen fabrics (e.g., Da-Lite High Power).

Mitsubishi HC7800D DLP 3D Projector

Sharp was the first consumer projector manufacturer to offer a 1080p DLP 3D projector.  The Sharp XV-Z17000 (click HERE for the review).  While this model was initially introduced with a list price of just under $5,000 the price had now dropped such that street price now competes with other current and upcoming mid-priced 3D models (click HERE for more info).  The XV-Z17000, as with other DLP 3D projectors, generally produces a 3D image free of crosstalk (ghosting).  This projector has a limited zoom range of only 1:1.15 and has no lens shift and as a result this projector has a very limited flexibility in the mounting location.  This really limits the number of potential owners and is a real limitation for a projector, especially one in this price range.  As with most first generation consumer 1080p 3D projectors the XV-Z17000 produces a fairly dim 3D image when accounting for the light loss through the 3D active shutter glasses.

Sharp XV-Z17000 DLP 3D Projector

BenQ plans to introduce their first 1080p 3D projector, model W7000, later this year.  This model appears to be a 3D enabled successor to the popular, and now 2 years old, W6000.  While BenQ has released very little information about this new model, it is expected carry over several features found on the W6000, such a zoom lens with a decent zoom range, lens shift, and producing a relatively bright image.  Preliminary information is the W7000 will be spec’ed for 2000 ANSI lumens and a 50,000:1 contrast ratio (with use of a dynamic iris).  Also the W7000 is expected to offer frame interpolation, for smooth motion.  There is no official pricing information on the W7000 but it will probably compete with the other mid-priced 3D models from Sony, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, etc.

Higher-End DLP 3D Projectors are available from such manufacturers as Digital Projection, Sim2 and Runco.  Links are provided below to the manufacturer’s web sites for more information.

Digital Projection introduced their very high-end Titan projector last year and is now introducing their less expensive M-Vision Cine 3D series for high-end home theaters.

Sim2 offers a very broad line of DLP based projectors, both single chip and 3-chip models, including their recently announced Lumis 3D and Nero series of 3D enabled projectors.

Sim2 Nero DLP Projector

Runco demonstrated a ultra-high-end (i.e., $200,000+) dual projector 3D setup (model D-113d) at the Cedia Expo in September.  Runco also offers less expensive, but still very high-end dual projector 3D systems,  models SC-50d, SC-60d,  that were introduced in 2010 at retail prices in the $80K to $100K price range.  These Runco projection systems use dual 3 chip DLP projectors and provide passive 3D projection.

Runco D-113d Dual Projector 3D System

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For my next Blog I will move on to 3D projectors using LCD technology.