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3-D enabled 1080p Projectors

When will 3-D enabled 1080p projectors get here? So far most vendors are silent on the issue.

If you've got many tens of thousands of dollars to spend, there are several very high-end models from Digital Projection and Christie available right now. If you are not quite so flush with cash, the only 3-D 1080p projector under $15,000 announced so far has been the LG CF3D, priced at $14,999. A prototype of this model was first unveiled at CES last January, and we are still waiting for shipments to commence in any volume. Beyond this one model, there hasn’t been much else in the rumor mill.

Where are they, you wonder? Some vendors say they are waiting for standards for the various content delivery methods (disc, broadcast, online) and required hardware to be set in concrete before rushing to production. The only thing worse than being late to market is being early with a product that customers are having problems with due to compatibility issues. Vendors do not relish the prospect of having their customer service lines jammed with frustrated consumers demanding to know how to hook A to B so the 3-D will work. The inexpensive XGA and 720p models that have come to market are already manifesting compatibility issues, so there is understandable caution going on when it comes to flagship 1080p models.

This is mid-July. Vendors are always quiet this time of year anyway, since many of them gear up for product releases at CEDIA in September. Vendors don’t pre-announce products long before they are ready to ship, simply because it kills off sales of current models and leaves them with gaps in revenue. So even if there were going to be a plethora of new 3-D 1080p projector models announced this fall, we would not be hearing about them yet.

Nevertheless, the rollout of 3-D enabled 1080p models is likely to be much slower than the public would expect. Some major brands will not be announcing any 3-D enabled 1080p models at all this fall. Of those that do, the first generation machines we see at CEDIA will most likely be in prototype stage. Realistically, consumers should anticipate that products announced this fall may not be ready for shipment until early next year. Prices are likely to be much higher than the $2,000 price point we currently see for some of the most popular 1080p models today.

The good news is that 3-D enabled 1080p projectors are on their way. Unfortunately, the logistics of getting these products to market are more complex than normal. From our vantage point, it looks like some patience is going to be required as the projector industry moves forward into the uncharted waters of 3-D projection for the home consumer.

Evan Powell
Editor

Reader Comments(8 comments)

Posted Jul 15, 2010 9:10 AM PST

By PatB

The early announcement of an as yet unavailable new model does indeed kill current sales. I watched this happen with my third personal computer - The Osborne. The Osborne was a true leap forward. It included serious software and serious hardware at a reasonable price. Alas it was pretty buggy. The inside of the thin plastic case was covered with a metallic paint to limit RF emissions. This paint flaked off and shorted out the electrical components. Adam Osborne panicked. He announced a new greatly improved model that would be available in a few months. All sales of their only product immediately stopped. The company went bankrupt.

I imagine they teach this nowadays as a case in business school.

Posted Jul 16, 2010 1:44 PM PST

By William L

Having been involved in the taking and projecting of 3D images in the home from the 1960's on here is my take on what could happen. A little history first. The boom in 3D photography started in 1947 and peaked in 1955 (the same year 3D Hollywood movies died out). At the time, if you wished to project 3D images you had to have a dedicated 3D projector, silver surfaced screen and polarized glasses. (This is the same format used for theater today using the Reel3D system). Since folks today don't have $80K to fork out for a Digital 3D projector, the cheaper alternative is to use a 3D capable DLP projector and shutter glasses.(not cheap at $150 each). The first hurdle is the compatibility issue of blu-ray player to movie title to projector to glasses. If you make consumers have to download software or do fixes, you will lose people in droves. This is why Reel3D has succeeded. The projector operator doesn't have to be a technician and the audience puts on glasses that don't require batteries or cleaning after each use. Are you going to hand your $150 pair of shutter glasses to your 5 year old without any second thoughts? Having come from a 3D showing of Toy Story 3, I'm having second thoughts about the value of 3D. The present day rendering of CGI images and advancements of anti-blurring technology makes most films seem "live" or in 3D already. I was quite miffed at having to pay a premium for the 3D showing of Toy Story (you can't even bring your recycled 3D glasses with you; you have to buy them again). To me the whole thing strikes more of making a buck with very little real value for the consumer. Just my 2 cents...

Posted Jul 19, 2010 11:27 AM PST

By Jonathan

I think their are two current problems with producing 1080p projectors one is going to be I dont believe that hdmi has enough bandwidth to do it, also, I would have to believe that they are working on software to make cable and the new dvd players to work with

Posted Jul 20, 2010 9:23 AM PST

By Tony P

I think the whole 3D thing is a fad that will lose all interest in a couple of years. Unless we start seeing 3D being used successfully for real drama films, and not just animation and fantasy films, 3D is doomed. Is there anyone out there who still thinks Avatar is a great movie?

Posted Jul 20, 2010 1:53 PM PST

By Jotham

Right or wrong, 3D compatibility is a feature that can be used to sell projectors for consumers that are confused by Deep Color, contrast, 240 mHz refresh etc. So it may be done as much for marketing as anything. I believe the killer app for 3D will be console games for the short term. Meaning that LCD TVs will drive the adoption of 3D hardware (glasses, receivers etc). Personally, I like 3D in certain movies if implemented as well as Avatar. I could see action movies benefiting from it.

Posted Jul 21, 2010 11:19 AM PST

By chris taylor

Your 3D survey excludes my intended purchase of dual projectors. I've grown tired of the games the big boys are playing so I gonna find a couple quiet inexpensive xvga projectors to use in 3D and as backup (when the lamp of one goes use the other and then toss them both).

Posted Jul 22, 2010 11:04 PM PST

By Abdoel

To me the 3d tech is not going to last for a long time, from decade to decade 3d keeps on going nly just now that it's going to the full strecth, i think if any pj should come out with 3d there's no harm why not. It just that all we realy care about is the price range that it will take just to add on 3d capability right? Im just wondering what would 3d be on a pj it's going to be great but then again im not raly sure that the technology of 3d is going to last in a very long time. I personally dont like to watch movies with glasses.

Posted Jul 27, 2010 3:11 AM PST

By Mike B

Tony P asks "Is Avatar a great movie"? I guess not. Is a better question, "Was Avatar an entertaining experience"? I have to answer yes to that question.

3D, will it stay? The big difference today is we can have it in the home, with relative ease so I believe it has a good chance of being successful.

The debate seems similar to ones about stereo versus surround sound (yes it succeeded), CD's versus phonographs, automobiles versus horses, etc.

Games will drive this and be very successful.

Personally I will not purchase gear that is not 3D capable (if the standard can be implemented) since the difference in price points is relatively minor and any device (projector, TV, Player, etc) will also do a fine job on 2D material, I have little to lose and much to gain.

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