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Reviews and Passive 3D

Ricoh is not a name you often associate with projectors, but they've actually made an extremely fine short throw model with a unique optical system that delivers exceptional uniformity.

Allan Abbott's review of the Ricoh PJ WX4130N has just been posted. If you're looking for extreme short throw, as in right up against the wall, don't overlook this one.

People keep asking when or if passive 3D is ever going to hit home theater. The appeal is obvious--the glasses are much lighter weight, like sunglasses, so you don't feel like you're wearing a helmet. Not to mention passive glasses are dirt cheap compared to the active LCD glasses.

As it happens, Bill is currently evaluating an aftermarket passive 3D system that works with any DLP projector. So he'll be able to report all the pros and cons of this solution, and finally answer that question as to when passive will be here. If all goes well, that will be posted next week.

Someone wrote in to ask when the home theater projector release cycle occurs during the year. The answer is that September used to be the big release month for new models due to the perpetually unfortunate scheduling of the CEDIA home theater systems convention during the week of Labor Day. However, in the last couple years, many manufacturers have been trying to get a jump on CEDIA, and we've begun to see new home theater projectors appearing around mid-summer. The objective is for vendors to catch the wave of the new football season and the fall holiday buying season, which is when the bulk of home theater projectors are sold.

At any rate, we expect to see the first of the new season's home theater models being announced in the July timeframe, with more in August leading up to the CEDIA show.

Evan Powell

Comments (11) Post a Comment
John Posted May 24, 2012 7:39 PM PST
3D - stands for Dead Dead Dead. It's time to forget about it for a while, sort of like Quadraphonics. When the technology catches up to the concept it may return, sort of like Surround Sound did.
NHSteelersFan Posted May 25, 2012 2:18 PM PST
Evan, hi, do you have any insight into LED Projectors hitting the market in the near future and who may be in that camp?

Great stuff, keep it up.

Gekke Henkie Posted May 27, 2012 11:47 PM PST
A passive 3D projector (with dual light-engine) has been on the market for years already: the LG CF3D with a street price of about $12K, at the moment. Link:
chris Posted May 28, 2012 11:26 AM PST
I bought 2 LG HW300t's from Fry's last week to use in a passive 3D system. I used my glasses from Avatar and the Avengers 3D movies. I cut one pair of glasses in half and used them for polarizers. I sat the projectors side by side. I used an Acer AO722 and winXP to project the SBS 3D demos on to a 40 inch (30 year old) Projectapix high gain screen. The effect was mild. I then connected both hw300t to a AMD 1055T processor based system because I found that when I used zoom player and ffdshow to edge enhance the images that the 3D effect was superb. The main three problems with my 3D system was the lack of contrast, the grainy images, and the small screen size. The gain was so high on the screen that viewing was almost painful on a "300" lumen set at very low output. The HW300t would be a great projector if it had even focus and lower noise (more lumens for a non high gain screen would be good also). I eagerly await the 3D adapter article.
Lorax Seuss Posted Aug 8, 2012 5:15 AM PST
3d stands for fun fun fun silly troll!!!
Loran Pittman Posted May 8, 2013 2:13 PM PST
3d's alive long live 3d!!!
lsume Posted Aug 2, 2013 3:47 PM PST
The problem, in my opinion, is not the technology but rather the standardization. We have an Epson 8700UB (not 3D) and Dolby 7.1 sound system professionally installed in a dedicated media room. We have a solid 120" Visual Apex screen (gain 1.1). I think my wife and I will wait until there is a well reviewed passive 3D projector on the market. We just purchased an M series 65" Vizio and again had it professionally installed. The one thing that I did for the 3D Vizio was measure the tilt angle and distances from the set so that the 3D would be in the sweet spot for those sitting to watch. I layed it out in CAD and showed the drawing to the installer. That made a huge difference. As I have been reading, some manufacturers are making prototype 3D that does not require any glasses.
Rob Posted Sep 18, 2014 7:25 AM PST
There seems to be only one passive 3D projector at reasonable cost (Double image Epsom at £1500)There are adapters for changing all images to passive but these adapters cost treble the amount of a projector. It's the greedy manufacturers who want you to buy active and pay £60 to a hundred pounds for each pair of glasses that damage the eyes.
Bill Livolsi Posted Sep 18, 2014 10:02 AM PST

You answer your own question, actually. Passive 3D projectors cost more than active 3D projectors. The additional hardware required for passive 3D adds complexity and cost to a projector.

Since not everyone who buys a projector is going to watch 3D, and even people who watch 3D don't watch it exclusively, it makes perfect sense to use active 3D. Active 3D doesn't affect the 2D image, and it also does not add cost to the projector unless you plan to use 3D (in which case you have to buy glasses).

If you and I both want to buy the same projector, but I only plan to watch 2D, I get that projector for less money because I'm not paying for what I don't use.

Never mind that passive 3D systems require special screens and suffer from even worse brightness problems than active 3D systems, which is part of why double-stacking is so common.

Greedy manufacturers have nothing to do with it. If anything, it would be far greedier to build passive 3D into every projector and charge an extra $1000 for a feature one might never use. And I've never heard that Active 3D glasses "damage the eyes," either.
Jan Bottorff Posted Dec 4, 2015 1:04 AM PST
I don't see why a passive 3D DLP projector would cost much more than normal. A DLP projector already has s spinning color wheel, and some have 6 segment color wheels, so it seems like you could have a 6 color wheel with 3 left hand circular polarized filters and 3 right hand circular polarized filters. The only extra hardware cost would be this slightly altered color wheel and changes to the firmware. As much as some people view 3D as dead, one of the few reasons I go to theaters anymore is to see some movies in 3D (like for example Avatar or Gravity).
stagl Posted Dec 8, 2015 2:49 PM PST

most of the passive 3d I've seen in the theaters is excellent! Also, don't forget that it isn't just for movies. Playing games in 3d is a blast.

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