Projector Reviews

From Infocomm: 3D Projectors and 3D Challenges

3D Projectors were in abundance at Infocomm.  Most of these were small “business” projectors aimed, first at the K-12 Classroom market. Although most of the new 3D projectors announced were XGA or WXGA or  (including 720p) there was plenty of talk about higher resolution projectors coming, including 1080p home theater projectors, even if specifics were almost non-existent.

I did attend a few seminars, in an effort to get a handle on all the 3D related issues.  I finally feel like I’m starting to at least get an idea of some of the limitations, and issues that have to be worked out.

I’ll be doing a piece for the main website, shortly, but I thought I’d mention a few of the things that have come to light.  Some of you may know most of this, but I might have something to surprise you guys too.  Almost all of these issues should work out, but there are some challenges along the way. Consider:

1. HDMI 1.4 – It’s been known a while, but HDMI 1.4 is the standard for the new blu-ray movies that will come out.  That’s right, time for a new, HDMI equipped blu-ray player.  If you are running a blu-ray player through your computer, I imagine there are ways to get those blu-ray movies out, but your 2009 blu-ray player hooked up to your AV receiver, or right into your projector isn’t going to cut it.

The only 3D projector I’ve seen so far with HDMI 1.4 is the LG CF3D, which I’m working with right now, and it works fine with a Panasonic 3D blu-ray player (with 1.4), on the LG demo disc.  However, to give you an idea of the headaches involved, the Panasonic provided demo disc won’t work with either primary 3D methodology used by projectors. I tried it with the LG, and also with a BenQ W600, a typical 720p type DLP, 3D ready projector.

Apparently Panasonic only put on the disc, the content that plays only on Panasonic 3D LCDTVs and Plasmas.

Talking to DirecTV today, after I came to quickly realize that the first ESPN HDTV 3D broadcast (World Soccer, last Friday), wasn’t going to work on any projectors.  In fact according to them, there were only about 16 total 3D LCDTVs and Plasmas, that could work in 3D (with glasses of course).

Those consisted only of models from Mitsubishi, Samsung, and Panasonic.

Ultimately, all the drivers, etc. will be in place and broadcasts will end up encoded to support the various models and 3D types that they intend to support.  Things just might be a little slower for us projector folks, and maybe for some of the LCDTV brands as well.

As I write, other aspects that I learned, must be dealt with:

Sports – those long shots and even some close shots of football games are going to be a problem. When they do the distant shot of the teams lining up, the players are so far away, that there’s virtually no 3D effect.  And when they zoom in from those long angle cameras, the 3D becomes real, but flat, suffering from the fact that zooming in, isn’t being compensated for, so the depth is being compacted, and looks a bit unnatural.  No doubt those long angle 3D cameras will likely need optics that adjust the distance between lenses to compensate for these “issues”.

I’ll be set up for gaming shortly, with a fairly decent computer coming my way, set up for moderately serious (but not the real, 12 red bull a day hard core gamers – more of the 2 mountain dew a day types).

Sure, we will definitely see 1080p 3D home projectors this fall, at CEDIA. Whether it will be the right time to buy them (1st gen…), or not, will be different for everyone.  I’ll do my best to put all the key issues in perspective, so that we can determine whether to wait, to buy 2D today, and plan to switch in 2-3 years… start with a basic 3D system in addition to what you own…, and other scenarios.

There’s a product called Depth-Q which you can place in front of any projector and get 3D.  I have one inbound. It’s a very serious product, and may be the “intermediate” type solution.  I believe it will work with most projectors that support 120 hz (fps).   If true, then you could put one in front of your 8500UB, PT-AE4000, JVC RS20, or InFocus SP8602.  (Ok, that covers all three technologies.)

That’s today’s taste.

More in the article I’m writing for the main site.  -art

PS, neighbors, friends, and my 18 year old daughter’s friends, so far have all been rather blown away by the 3D I’ve been showing on the LG CF3D projector and my new 92″ Da-Lite Silver Screen – for 3D.