What Does "3D Ready" Mean?
Dispelling the Myths about 3D Projection
Updated 2/17/12

Bill Livolsi, August 19, 2010

If you are like most consumers, you think "3D Ready" means a projector is ready to display 3D in all its various forms. Well, that's not quite true. Many 3D Ready projectors are available right now, as you read this article, but 3D is still a confusing subject. What 3D signal sources will work with your 3D projector? What do you need to know to make sense of all of this stuff? After finishing this article, you will know exactly what 3D is and how it works.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect the current state of 3D projection as of February 2012. -bl

What is "3D Ready?"

To differentiate 3D projectors from their 2D brethren, there is usually a logo on the case declaring their 3D capability. But what does this logo actually mean? In short: a 3D Ready projector will accept and display at least one stereoscopic 3D transmission format. By transmission format, we mean the 3D signal format used to transmit from your source--a computer, set-top box, game console, or Blu-ray player--to your projector. We are not talking about the difference between passive polarized 3D glasses and active shutter 3D glasses (if you need more information about these display technologies, see our article "The 3D Renaissance").

3D Transmission Formats

At last count, there are at least four stereoscopic 3D transmission formats currently in wide use, called frame sequential, frame packing, side-by-side, and checkerboard. There are other transmission formats as well, but we will focus on the four main formats for now.

Frame sequential. Frame sequential, also occasionally called page-flip, is in some ways the simplest of the 3D formats. A frame sequential signal is a full resolution picture sent at 120 frames per second to the display. The frames alternate in sequence, so the display receives a left eye frame, then a right eye frame, then a left eye frame, and so on. This is simple because the projector itself does not need to do any decoding of the source; it just needs to be capable of accepting a 120Hz signal. Correspondingly, this format requires a lot of bandwidth, since it is essentially sending a full resolution signal at 60 frames per second for each eye. This is double the bandwidth of a comparable 2D signal.

In the world of projectors, frame sequential is an important format. Today's inexpensive DLP projectors that are touted as "3D Ready" accept only frame sequential 3D. And at this writing, their 3D capability is limited to a maximum of 1280x720 resolution. Currently, the only way to send them such a signal is to use a computer, such as one equipped with NVIDIA's 3D Vision system. Consumer electronics like Blu-ray 3D players and set-top boxes do not output frame sequential 3D. In short, all those inexpensive DLP 3D Ready projectors you've been seeing do not work with Blu-ray 3D or broadcast 3D content--it's PC or bust.

Frame packing. Frame packing is closely related to frame sequential, but they are not the same thing. Frame packing sends the left and right eye images to the projector simultaneously, stacked on top of one another with a small space between them. Essentially, the source sends one giant double-height frame instead of two smaller frames. The signal is transmitted at either 24Hz or 60Hz. The projector must then separate the two images and display them sequentially.

Frame packing is the default format used in the HDMI 1.4 specification, and any product labeled as HDMI 1.4 compatible must support this format. It is the standard output format of Blu-ray 3D players, though some have additional options. Frame packing requires more processing power on the part of the projector, since it must separate the two frames and then display them in sequence.

Side-by-side. In the side-by-side transmission format popularized by DirecTV, two frames are compressed to half of their original horizontal resolution and sent simultaneously. For a 1080p signal, which is 1920x1080 pixels per frame, this would be two 960x1080 frames side by side. The projector then separates these compressed frames, expands them back to their original 1920x1080 format, and displays them sequentially. Side-by-side comes in both interlaced and progressive variants, with interlaced taking up less bandwidth and progressive being higher in image quality.

As you might imagine, this format loses some resolution in the process of compression and subsequent expansion. Essentially, it leaves you with half resolution to each eye. At this writing, DirecTV is the only game in town using the side-by-side format, but it should be compatible with newer (2010 model) 3D televisions and current DirecTV HD boxes. Older 3D televisions probably will not be able to display this format, and the inexpensive DLP "3D Ready" projectors that have been brought to market thus far cannot display it either.

Checkerboard. Many DLP 3D Ready televisions (not projectors) accept what is called the checkerboard format. In this format, the two images for left and right eye are interleaved, with every other pixel going to the opposite eye. Look at an actual checkerboard and pretend the squares are pixels. The black squares would go to the left eye, while the red squares would go to the right eye. The television separates the two interleaved images and displays them sequentially. The resulting images are half-resolution.

Why do you need to know this, since projectors do not support this format? Well, checkerboard is important for its legacy status. Older DLP 3D Ready televisions would accept checkerboard and nothing else, and many of these televisions were sold in the past few years. When consumers discovered that their televisions were not compatible with broadcast and Blu-ray 3D formats, they were understandably incensed. The solution came in the form of converter boxes that are able to convert frame-packed or side-by-side 3D to checkerboard TV for display on DLP televisions. This is important because DLP 3D Ready projectors cannot display checkerboard 3D. If they could, it would be a simple matter to buy a conversion box and live happily ever after. However, converter boxes that change frame-packed or side-by-side 3D into frame-sequential 3D are not available, and the converter boxes for televisions output checkerboard 3D and nothing else.

A note about HDMI 1.4 One of the important things included in the HDMI 1.4 standard is a list of 3D transmission formats that must be supported by any device claiming 1.4 compliance. The catch is that a non-HDMI 1.4 device can still support these transmission formats. An excellent example is Sony's Playstation 3 game console, which can play 3D games and Blu-ray 3D movies even though it is an HDMI 1.3 device. Some projectors may have HDMI 1.3 yet be able to decode frame-packed 1080p 3D. To determine a projector's compatibility with modern 3D transmission formats, you need to look beyond the bullet points on the spec sheet and find out what transmission formats it is actually compatible with.

The Takeaway

The currently available, inexpensive DLP "3D Ready" projectors are good for a lot of applications. For gaming, nothing beats the big-screen experience of 3D through a projector. In education, they can be used to display diagrams of three-dimensional shapes and objects, from electronic dissections to statues in Art History courses. But as far as home video is concerned, they have some serious limitations. They are incapable of displaying frame-packing and side-by-side, the two most popular and important 3D transmission formats for video. While most of these products are designed as data presentation projectors, people have been buying them in the hopes of using them for home theater anyway. Without support for the right formats, you will find yourself purchasing another 3D projector in the future once support for these formats is incorporated. As in all things, caveat emptor--let the buyer beware.

If you want full 1080p 3D projection, look for one of the many HDMI 1.4 compatible full HD 3D projectors available. Prices start at $1499, with a notable cluster around the $2500-$3500 mark. These projectors will indicate somewhere in their specifications that they are HDMI 1.4 or Blu-ray 3D compatible, and that's your cue that they are safe to purchase.

Looking forward: the future of 3D projection

3D has changed a lot since 2010 when we first published this article. These days, it is more common to find a projector that is full HD 3D compatible than it is to find one that is only 3D Ready. Blu-ray 3D is already well established, and a wide selection of movies is making its way to market slowly but surely. Several satellite and cable providers will occasionally show 3D programming, as enough of their subscribers own 3D displays that it is worth their time to do so. As long as you keep your head about you and make sure you know exactly what you're buying, in-home 3D can be a rewarding experience.

Reader Comments(50 comments)

Posted Nov 5, 2014 1:24:19 AM

By ravi

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I have 3d ready dlp projector.i love to watch 3d movies so as far i recently bougth optoma 3dxl adopter.first i checked through laptop connected with hdmi via optoma 3dxl through output display projector it shows only single format at side by side .i try to use (fp,tandb,framesequential)its not working .can any one know whats the problem in it

Posted Sep 26, 2014 4:30:22 AM

By Casey srishanth

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Hi guys, I have a quick question, I recently bought a benq mw519, and use ps3 as a blueraylayer, now I wish to view 3D movies, which3D glasses do I have to use. Awaiting your fast rep,y. Thanking in anticipation. Rgds Casey.

Posted Aug 24, 2014 9:21:31 AM

By Gino Merchant

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Hi all,

I too have LG PA 72 G which says its 3D READY. I use bino 3D Player and it works but my active shutter glasses keep turning off.

Posted Aug 16, 2014 6:21:32 PM

By Syed

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Does anyone know about the sync rate on the casio led 3d ready projectors. Is it 120 or 144 he or different.

Thanks

Posted Jul 29, 2014 10:18:10 PM

By brett

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Just came accross your post. I absolutely love this projector! It's true 3d (along with 2d to 3d conversion on regular tv). Active (120hrtz) glasses work. You can even play 3d files via USB and still work (haven't tried yet). LED instead of LCD gives this one of the best in its class. Hope it isn't too late to sway your decision.

Posted Mar 6, 2014 2:02:31 AM

By Antony

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Can someone explain me about "DLP 3D Ready (DLP Link), PC XGA 120Hz" feature of LG PA72G projector. Their accessories lists a DLP Link 3D glass.

Is this projector really a 3D?

Posted Feb 1, 2014 8:28:42 PM

By debby

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hi can see 3d presentation on benq 3d 1080p projector without glasses ?

Posted Jan 11, 2014 1:24:33 AM

By Christian Nowak

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HI, maybe someone can give me a hint. I am using a BENQ TW519 Beamer and it works well with 3D Videos. As I do stereo fotography since years, I wonder, how I could use this beamer to display my Images in 3D. I have tried to create them in various of the classical stereo image formats, the beamer does not recognize them ( eror message: "no file", which I interpret as I do not know this format). The user guide says nothing about file formats supported. Does anyone knowledgable have a hint for me, how I could achieve this? I would be able to provide left / right images seperately for each stereo picture and if a file format plus a process exists, that merges the two images into one stereo, this would be a solution, provided the beamer can read the file format. Many thanks for any hint.

Posted Dec 21, 2013 9:01:31 AM

By john

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i just bought infocus in112 projector 2d ready, and relized after that i cant play 3d movie on it cuz it doesnt have hdmi connections, sux, so what do i need to play my 3d movies on my rpojector on projector screen help

Posted Nov 10, 2013 11:40:26 PM

By John Smith

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I have an Epson 3D 3010 non wireless one, better faster with direct cable. Have had a couple years so far, cannot seem to stream 3d movies for the active shutter glasses, however you can stream regular old 3d movies from the old days and works great, but streaming for side to side or top to bottom, nothing out there to stream for these to supported formats on the epson or on bluray. You can get basic active shutter glasses use with 3d bluray movies, but no streaming. Also after 15 months the projector started to project an uneven screen so something wrong there also after 2000 hours use the bulb really has dimmed in brightness a lot as it should go to about 4000 to 5000 hours before needing to be replaced. Okay picture, wish had lens shift and focus ability from control. The mute buttom has never worked since receiving not sure what thats about. Would forget the 3d unless I want it for games but have never tried it for this. Would put the money into a DLP projector or LED when they are improved in the future.

Posted Sep 2, 2013 3:34:03 AM

By Arno

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Hi all, please advise me if the Lg bx327 3D ready projector actually shows 3D? I use a ps3 connected to a maranz amp. Do you have to connect the projector directly to the ps3 ,or can you connection through the amplifier?

Posted Jul 30, 2013 1:40:37 AM

By ebinjose

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If it possible to connect optoma 3d ready projector to bluray 3d player

Posted Jul 1, 2013 5:00:40 AM

By david horton

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Now you have the projectors. about side by side avi files. with my Samsung 3d TV using an old divx/xvid/dvd player I have copied side by side to dvd and my tv remote as a 3D button I then select 3D side by side (given option for top to bottom as well)with that I watch in 3D no 3D player. with my pc connected by 1.4 hdmi lead I can do the same. I have 182 side by side films and some you tube music video's in 3D (they have a 3D option if in red green mode change to side by side then use you tube downloader. hope this helps

Posted Jun 12, 2013 6:18:29 AM

By tom nelson

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Does the LG PA75U 3D ready projector play with a blue ray player and what glasses work Passive or active?

Posted Feb 23, 2013 12:38:09 PM

By boucheb

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I just buy the BenQ W1070 projector. It's a DLP that is compatible with these 3D mode:

(extract from BenQ W1070/W1080ST manual) 3D Mode: Auto/Off/Frame Sequential/Frame Packing/ Top-Bottom/Side-by-Side

Posted Nov 9, 2012 2:01:03 PM

By bilal

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Thanks for the info, i tried with bino and cyberlink, i have a benq mx511. with both softwares the 3d option on the projector remained grayed out, i tried several different combinations. i also used hdmi 1.4 to transmit with no benefit as well as a VGA with same failure rate. of course my laptop dosnt have a standard RGB yellow cable output so i am not sure what steps i can take next

Posted Nov 8, 2012 12:52:25 AM

By fundidi

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is Dell 1210s projector support 3d? if so how to see 3d?

Posted Aug 22, 2012 8:38:05 AM

By tony

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this is well written document. I just bought a 3D ready projector and wanted to understand how I can play 3D movies. This article really gave me a huge insight into the world of 3D. The other less obvious issue here is the actual glasses. I played a 3d Movie on my MAC which displays the movie in split screen... However I just played a 3D demo DVD on the DVD player of my mac and it is showing the Movie in Frame-Pack -- so now I am a bit confused about glasses. Will both of these be viewable with a Active or passive 3D glasses? I hope this is not a stupid question. Thank you Great article

Posted Aug 14, 2012 5:58:58 AM

By carpatric

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ciao a tutti oh bisogno info. oh un proiettore nec v260x in 3d oh comprato un lettore blu ray 3d samsung bd e5500 collego il tutto il proiettore mi dice che il schermo non supporta in 3d controllare il lettore 3d come posso fare grazie mille di tutto voglio vedere almeno in 3d speso un saco di soldi per nulla Google translation: oh hello all needed info. oh nec projector in 3d v260x oh bought a blu ray samsung bd 3d E5500 connect all the projector tells me that the screen does not support 3d 3d control the player how can I thank you all want to see at least spent a 3d saco money for nothing

Posted Jul 30, 2012 2:43:47 AM

By Thomas

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So a regular DLP projector can not display 3D content?

The projector has to be DLP '3D ready'? in order to display 3D content from a computer that has a proper graphics card? (with DLP link eyewear of course)

Would if you have an Active shutter emitter and glasses system hooked up? Does the projector still have to be 3D ready?

Posted Jul 3, 2012 4:16:07 PM

By Mark Miller

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optima, viewsonic, and various other companys are now releasing a video decoder box for their 3d ready DLP projectors. The box converts a 1080p blu-ray 3d signal to a 720i 3d signal (I assume frame sequential format) that is recognized by the cheap 3d ready DLP projector. The converter boxes cost about $230 u.s. my viewsonic projector cost me $380 u.s. so for 600 bucks I can have a 3d home theater projector at half the resolution 1080p. I'm fine with that since my eyes can't tell the difference anyway.

Posted Mar 13, 2012 7:32:54 AM

By Tim

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For those who might be interested, Stereoscopic Player and the latest test version of Bino (free) can convert side by side format video files to frame sequential output that a 3D ready projector will display. You will also need DLP link active shutter glasses. Playing 3D blu ray is a bit more tricky but I understand that Stereoscopic Player will do it if the disk is unprotected.

Posted Feb 10, 2012 8:28:24 PM

By Robert Biales

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I was looking over the comments and people seem to have missed the EPSON HC3010, a true 1080p HD 3D projector for $1599.99 in the US. http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/Product.do?sku=V11H421020&BV_UseBVCookie=yes

There is also the 3010e adding wireless HD, the 5010 and 5010e that convert 2D to 3D.

Posted Jan 6, 2012 6:16:10 PM

By LCraig

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Did you ever get an answer on this one? I also purchased the viewsonic 5112 and am trying to get it 3D ready. I just purchased a bluray player since that what the stores told me to do and no hdmi so no 3D!

Posted Jan 2, 2012 1:39:58 PM

By Steven Hawking

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Hi, I'm really ignorant and haven't bothered reading the article. Can you tell me what 3D ready means? Will I be able to get a proper 1080p 3D projector for under $14? and will it project correctly onto my adamantium lined screen? Also, what conversion boxes exist for me to plug my sega megadrive into my projector so that sonic the hedgehog looks 3D and spherical, rather than 2D and circular when he rolls?

P.S. thank you for the informative article.

Posted Dec 15, 2011 6:05:18 AM

By Sanat Marupov

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Can someone with a good knowledge of 3D projectors help me? I wanna buy a 3d projector for Playstation 3, and for live 3D football. Does Optoma HD33 do the job right? or should I buy something else? One more thing,which glasses are best for this type of projector?

Posted Dec 14, 2011 10:55:32 AM

By Andrew

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I have an Optoma Gt700 and I need to know; Can I use any of the various 3d converter boxes for my projector, or do I need a specific brand or style of 3d?

Posted Oct 21, 2011 9:37:39 PM

By tomato

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greets , i have a zalman 3d monitor ( talking about pc ) ( it works for intarlaced 3d ) i have few questions a) the monito rZalman 3d 22'' does ok with 3d on monitors native resolution - 1650*1080 (59 r 60 hz )other resolutions are messing the 3d interlace can u explain why that is ?

b) why do i need a 3d projector if the projector is suppose to just play what the video card sents, so if i make the video card sent interlaced screen of image then isnt it suppose to just put it on its big screen as is it does on monitor ?

c) can i use a normal projector at that resolution 1650*1080 and get the 3d ?

Posted Sep 30, 2011 1:35:26 AM

By shaun

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i have a infocus 74 dlp projector with hdmi and want to know if i can view 3d if i have a 3d blu-ray player?

Posted Sep 29, 2011 8:39:35 AM

By mkochsch

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Can someone please explain to me how Benq gets away with putting this in the User Manual for its projectors? (p.47 Benq 3D ready MS-510). This is the part of the manual explaining how to enable 3D input. Please note at near the end where the claim is made that 3D is enabled with a 60Hz video signal. What is that about? Thx

"This projector features a 3D function which enables you to enjoy the 3D movies, videos, and sporting events in a more realistic way by presenting the depth of the images. You need to wear a pair of 3D glasses to view the 3D images. • For a PC type signal: When the vertical frequency is 120Hz, and the content being projected is made with 3D technology, selecting On will present the 3D images. When the input signal is PC@120Hz, 3D sync will be enabled automatically. • For a video type signal: When the content being projected is made with 3D technology, selecting On will present the 3D images. When 3D Sync function is enabled, the projector will enter a special picture mode and the current picture mode adjustment will be disabled. This function is only enabled when the input signal is PC@120Hz, 60Hz@Video and S-video.

Posted Sep 12, 2011 3:21:44 AM

By Grimi

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it is a very useful guid,it really helped me but please make a little correction, as when I read this article (frame sequential part) my understanding from it was that all DLP projectors are 3D (in my point of viewthe scentence is a little vague) and this mistake cost me a lot:(

Posted Jun 9, 2011 12:45:37 AM

By glen damster

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When i started looking at the prospect of getting a simple 3d system, i thought it would be easy. but it took a spread sheet and a few weeks to find a simple and cheap solution. this is what i came up with. 1: buy a 3d blu ray player: most stores still carry old stock and prices are still way to high, since i'm a laggard i decided on a ps3 with latest firmware for 3d and since it was also a media player and a game console it made good sense! (I suspect most will already have a ps3) 2: find a good projector, since mine was a vga Benq and i need a "3d Ready" projector, after looking at the cheaper models by acer and then realising that i would still need an optoma xl to play the 3d blu rays, i bought a simple LG BX327, it has 3200 ansi lumens and the specs seemed "ok" .. and the projector does 3 types of common 3d.. Side by Side - top to bottom and Frame sequential. and for the price it was a no brainer... I already have a Motorised Screen and good set of Mission Speakers all i needed was the cabling!!

3: Find a pair of DLP Link 3d glasses since I wasn't going the Nvidia Vision Route. 4: LG South Africa had none, Acer South Africa had none! found a pair of Optoma zd201 glasses for $110.

5: hooked everything up and it just worked from the minute i put it on... 6: The Optoma zd201 glasses needs a good amount of power. so keep many spare batteries!! its not rechargeable which is really crap.

this is what the entire setup cost me. ps3 with gran turismo 5 3d bundle with extra controller $550 lg projector $980 Screen 2nd hand $250 cabling hdmi 1.4 x 2 plus connectors 2 = $71

optoma zd201 x 2 = $212.5

total: $2063 you can get it cheaper i suppose, just not in South africa!!!! there are many other cheaper ways of getting 3d cinema into your home, but have a look at the lg bx327. 1: it does most of the 3d formats, it's bright and can be used as a media player via a usb drive, (although it says it can play mkv files, i just cant get that to work) and it can view pdf,excel,word documents with stereo speakers...(crappy little things but a nice touch)

Posted May 26, 2011 9:44:48 AM

By Danny

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HI ..I purchased a viewsonic pjd5122 that it says it is 3d ready.....i should have verified first the inputs(shame on me)..this projector does not have a hdmi port..only 2 15 pin rgb port...can i still get this to work for 3d?

Posted Oct 15, 2010 11:16:42 PM

By Shyem

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Looks like Panasonic DMP-BDT100 3D/2D Blu-Ray DVD Player does "Frame Sequential" 3D. Could this be used (instead of a computer with nvidia 3D) to watch 3D blu-ray movies on 3D-Ready DLP projectors (such as Acer H5360, ViewSonic PJD6531w, Optoma HD66) ?

Posted Oct 5, 2010 10:05:16 AM

By Neil

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Can you convert a 2D projector to 3D I have a DLP projector and wondered if you could buy a circular polarizing filter that would work?

Posted Sep 5, 2010 7:01:55 PM

By Schmedley

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Directtv is side by side. What is the best way to put together a simple computer to feed a 3d ready projector?

Posted Sep 4, 2010 9:00:32 PM

By Rikar

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1) 3D encoding uses what is called MVC (Multi-view codec) for 3D Blurays. It is fairly easy to convert the format for a dual projector setup (requires a lot of computer power). This format uses only around 1.5 times the space but I have noticed that some streams for trailers on existing 3D blurays have different bitrates for the two views (Left eye is the default, right eye is the 3d encoded side and sometimes has a lower bitrate)

2) HDMI 1.4 framepacking is done in hardware not software. It is not intended that people encode their videos/images in framepacked top-bottom style. HDMI 1.4 is suppose to be display agnostic but the firmware for the hardware decoders/encoders often does not recognize the format. It may be possible to have special software like the stereoscopic player (Also Nvidia's player) to output in various formats but it is not just as simple as having a resolution matched image.

Posted Aug 29, 2010 10:12:21 PM

By Doug H

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Yes reflective screens currently have their issues. However if that is the only problem, then I am still of the opinion circular polarized technology will win over shutter glass technology. It is because eyestrain is a tough nut to crack and shutters pose more eyestrain problems than polarizers. As long as a percentage of people have eyestrain problems, then I don't expect 3D to gain much traction (e.g. only a novalty with a low to moderate percentage price premium). If they adequately improve some shutter glass issues then it could take off.

Posted Aug 24, 2010 11:59:46 AM

By AV Integrated

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Doug - in all fairness, you are incorrect.

3D proejctors require a different screen, which is going to run $1,000 or more to purchase. In a year, that will equate to 10+ pairs of 3D glasses. The silverscreen tends to have poor performance with 2D projection.

It is also important to note that flat panel displays don't support full 1080p with passive glasses except in very expensive models, and they still don't support full 1080p.

At the end of the day - almost NOBODY is serious about 3D, but many people are interested. Interested doesn't equate to twice the price. It means $100... maybe $200 more. 120hz-240hz displays in LCD and plasma are both in that ballpark price right now. 240hz projectors basically don't exist, but 120hz models are well established. So, I would expect that in the next year or so we will see a lot of 120hz frame sequential projectors using active shutter glasses. More and more we will likely start to see 'universal' type active shutter glasses. Those will allow use with both your projection setup and your 3D flat panel display(s) in your home.

Posted Aug 23, 2010 4:36:53 PM

By Charles

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Check out Tom's Hardware, they have a good right up on setting that style of 3D and compare it to the single source.

Posted Aug 22, 2010 8:52:06 PM

By Doug

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Ultimately, I expect the polarized approach to win because the cost of multiple shutter glasses and inherent physiological problems are more difficult with shutter glasses. Also ideally, each channel (left or right eye) is based on a companies' standard projector product, thus the 3D performance would not lag the latest non 3D projectors. Of course the cost will be double that of a comparable non 3D projector. Other unique aspects of the 3D projector should include optically combining both channels into one output lens. Also one light source should be used for both channels, where the left & right eye light source optical paths are split using a reflective polarizing filter (this does not waste light by throwing away the wrong polarization and more importantly, keeps both eyes seeing perfectly matched color spectrums & brightness to eliminate eye strain.). Also, the TI DMD light modulation chip driven by LEDs would be the right configuration for ensuring no color differences that can arise from other light modulation chips (as well as contast & black level differences). TI DMD field sequential color is also a lot easier to keep converged and combine into the final output lens. Lumen limitations of LEDs would be mitigated by not throwing away polarized light and the fact that reflective screens tend to have high gain. By having two seperate channels, the full high def bandwidth can be processed including interpolating frames for sharper dynamic imagery (and for correcting for the 1/120th second latency between the eyes if the source was originally designed for shutter glasses which has a 1/120th second delay between eyes. Not correcting for this would make moving objects appear closer or farther than intended or a pendulum to move in a circle instead of side to side.). Ideally, several input formats should be compatible including a new one (24 Hz progressive per eye at 1920 by 1080 compressed to fit into non-dual link HDMI bandwidth. This should be possible because the similarities between left & right eye imagery should allow better compression. If 24 Hz can not be achieved, then 20 Hz could be used with appropriate frame interpolation.).

Bottom line is a stereo projector without compromised performance when compared to non stereo projectors without eye strain. Also compatible with blu ray technology and very do-able with a Playstation 3 firmware push. Most people serious about 3D home theatre want several glasses and quality not compromised from the latest spec performance such as achieved by AE4000. Double the price of non stereo would be in the ballpark.

Posted Aug 22, 2010 3:06:26 PM

By PatB

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The IMDB says there are 7200 new movies now in production. There are 184 movies in 3D currently available. Some of these are quite old films like "Jaws 3D" (a truly terrible movuie). Most of the 3D catalog appears to be animated. I don't see any chick flicks listed at all (that's fine with me). 3D looks to be male or kiddie medium which is about 70% of the market.

I estimate that Hollywood will make about 15% of its feature in 3D when the technology matures. That's still a lot of movies. Figure about 100 3D movies a year worth seeing.

IMDB doesn't list porno movies and I read this week that 3D porn has begun. This may significant because porn was very important to the nascent video tape industry. It gave couples a way to see spicy material without visiting some XXX theater in a dangerous part of town. However the web now has virtually unlimited free 2D porn. It remains to be seen if porn actually helps 3D sales.

All the 3D formats seem to run up against a bandwidth limitation of around the 1080p 2D data rate of 36 Mb/sec. The 2M 1080 frame at 24 or 60 frames/sec needs compression. The third dimension means you need double the data rate so you can only get 720p with sequential, and no matter whether you split the 1080 frame horizontally, verically or into blocks you have to reduce the frame pixel count.

With the slowdown in fiber rollout it looks like US Internet streaming will be limited for the forseeable future to about 5Mbps for most people. NetFlix manages to get a sort-of 720p HD streaming with advanced compression techniques - but not 1080p. This means probably no 3D streaming for maybe 5 years.

So my guess is that DVDs will vanish as streaming takes over 2D but 3D will "save" the Blu-ray technology.

Posted Aug 22, 2010 12:20:59 PM

By Franklin

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An excellent article, but it doesn't discuss the problems involved in projecting 3D with two, as opposed to a single "3D ready" projector. Currently 3D photographers often project 3D with two DLP projectors that are polarized in opposite directions - so that passive glasses can be used by the audience. These projectors don't have to be "3D ready" to work, they are relatively inexpensive, and full HD resolution is possible with some models. I would like to know if is possible to project a blue ray 3D movie with two polarized projectors.

Posted Aug 20, 2010 9:50:21 PM

By G Tyler

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Still not sure if I will need to replace my HDMI switching receiver. It does not support v1.4 but my primary 3D source will be from my Playstation 3 (which is not 1.4) to play games and watch Bluray movies. My other HDMI video source is my Verizon FiOS STB which also doesn't have HDMI 1.4 but is supposed to support 3D. My next projector will support HDMI 1.4 but I was hoping that my relatively new Onkyo receiver would not need to be replaced.

Posted Aug 20, 2010 8:39:24 AM

By Ron Jones

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Correction to my earlier suggest definitions (cleaned up proposed definitions):

"PC-3D Ready" - display device accepts and displays the 3D video output from a properly equipped PC using frame sequential 3D signal format and/or checkboard 3D signal format.

"3D-TV Ready" - display device accepts, via a HDMI input, any of the 3D signal formats defined as mandatory in the HDMI 1.4a specification and displays 3D video.

Posted Aug 20, 2010 8:32:20 AM

By Ron Jones

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I would like to suggest the followng labels to be applied to the 3D capabilites of any "3D Ready" projector or display:

"PC-3D Ready" - display device accepts the 3D video output from a properly equipped PC using frame sequential 3D signal format and/or checkboard 3D signal format

"3D-TV Ready" - display device accepts, via a HDMI input, in any of the 3D signal formats defined as mandatory in the HDMI 1.4a specification and displays 3D video via a HDMI input.

It is possible for a given display device to support both of the above capabilities, while most will only support one or the other.

Posted Aug 19, 2010 3:51:01 PM

By Robert Smith

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Great article!

While I had managed to piece much of this together, this is the FIRST TIME I have seen this in one place.

The NY Times should pick this article up. Exactly the information that needs to get out before people make too many mistakes.

Projectorcentral could also beef up its projector database to include more precise 3D information based on this article. A warning "will not play 3D Blu-rays" would be helpful.

Posted Aug 19, 2010 2:53:03 PM

By JohnH

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I have seen several demonstrations of 3D TV using the active glasses and so far I am unimpressed. After a few seconds the ghosting is distracting and there is something else (flicker or jitter) that is disturbing. I'll be waiting for the next generation to solve these problems. I don't want to pay $1000 plus to be their guinea pig.

Posted Aug 19, 2010 10:59:53 AM

By Matthieu

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Thank you very much for this information. Frame Packing is what I need than. Nice to know how it works. We do photography in 3D for a long time, and are using two projectors for this for a few years now. We share our photo's with others and use the Side by Side solution now. So to make it compatible with the BluRay we have to swich to the on top solution as well.

So the standard will be 1920x2160 or do we need to count the space too? If so how large must the file be?

Posted Aug 19, 2010 10:21:24 AM

By Steve Holmquist

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I look forward to the day when Projector Central adds a "3D" category to their listing of "Popular Projectors".

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