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What’s Needed for a 3D Projector System?
Thinking BIG about 3D home theater.
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December 13, 2010 by Grant Clauser

Question:
What is the basic setup for a 3D projector home theater system?

Electronic House
Tech Editor Grant Clauser says:

First, I’m glad you’re thinking big. One of the most important things about a 3D TV experience is that it’s better, a lot better, when it’s big. With a projector system, your size limitations are determined by your room and your budget.

Currently there are a lot less 3D options in projectors than there are in flat-panel TVs. You can find 3D projectors from companies like JVC, SIM2, Digital Projection, Sony and Runco. Because these are still the early days of home 3D, projectors tend to be more expensive than equivalent 2D models. Make sure the projector is compatible with the 3D systems for both broadcast and Blu-ray content. In addition, you may want a screen designed specifically for 3D. A 3D screen will have a greater gain to make up for the light lost by the glasses. The screen will also help create a wider, more uniform viewing angle so all the people in the room get the best 3D experience. Not all 3D projectors need a special screen, so ask your dealer.

If your 3D projector uses active shutter glasses (such as JVC, DPI or Sony), you’ll need an emitter to send out an IR signal to synchronize the glasses with the projector—some projectors will come with it, some won’t. Projectors that use passive polarized glasses (Runco) don’t require an emitter.  And then of course you’ll need compatible glasses for each viewer (one for each member of the family and a couple extras for guests).

Finally, you’re going to need a 3D Blu-ray player. There are several on the market now from companies like Sony, Samsung and LG, and many more will be coming out next year.

Nice, but not absolutely necessary, is a surround sound receiver (or preamp) that’s compatible with HDMI 1.4 to handle both the audio and video signals from your Blu-ray player.

One more thing to consider when pondering a 3D projector system: 3D viewing is much more dependent on light than 2D viewing. Many 2D projectors are bright enough to be passable when there’s some ambient light in the room, but 3D isn’t as forgiving. You sacrifice some light when you put on the glasses, so you need to be able to make your viewing room very dark.

In just a few weeks the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show will come to Vegas. I expect to hear a ton of 3D product announcements then, so visit Electronic House frequently to make sure you’re up-to-date.

Have a question about home theater, audio, video, home control, lighting and other consumer electronics? Get your questions answered with Electronics House’s Ask A Pro here.

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Grant Clauser - Technology and Web Editor, Electronic House
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.

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