What is the best 3D projector for 2016?

Interactive comparison chart


BenQ W1070

Projector

High quality FullHD (1920 x 1080) active 3D DLP projector with 10,000:1 contrast ratio. Thanks to fast DLP technology there is no visible crosstalk for absolutely uninterupted viewing. BenQ W1070 supports different 3D inputs including Blu-ray, HDMI, 3D broadcasting or video games. It uses 2000 ANSI Lumens projector lamp for high brightness. Built in 10W speakers will be handy when there are no any high quality speakers available. With more than 180 reviews on Amazon.com and rating of 4.6/5 stars, this projector is an excellent and popular choice for your home 3D cinema.

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Optoma HD25-LV

optoma

Another very popular and very well-made active 3D projector with native FullHD (1920 x 1080) resolution and 20,000:1 contrast ratio.. It offers excellent brightness of 3200 ANSI Lumens, which makes it capable of projecting also in not as dark environment. Brightness in 3D is especially important due to darkening of 3D glasses. This projector also has a powerful buil-in 16-watt speaker for exceptional sound quality.

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Epson 5030UB

Epson

FullHD (1920 x 1080) active 3D 3LCD projector capable of ultra-dark levels of black and shiftable lens. Outstanding contrast ratio of 600,000:1 and 2400 ANSI lumens brightness. For best mounting possibilities this projector features a 2.1x lens zoom. It’s 3LCD 3 chip engine guarantees lack of any rainbow effect.

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Everybody has to find his own best 3d projector

Which is the best 3d projector?

Each projector has its own characteristics and parameters which predetermine it to some kind of use.
So the question is – what are your priorities?

Do you want to see every little detail ?
Would you use your projector for everyday normal PC use? Do you want to be able to read small text comfortably?
Go for high resolution projectors. Full HD (1920×1080) ideally. Here is comparison table dedicated only to HD projectors.

Do you mostly want to watch movies?

Then projectors with native 4:3 aspect ratio are not suitable. Nowadays, all movies are recorded in widescreen formats.
Playing widescreen movie on a 4:3 aspect ratio projector will lead to letter-boxing the picture.

Letterboxed 4:3
16:9 movie on 4:3 projector

Do you want to use it for gaming?

Then the input lag is one of the most important information. The lower the better.

What is it? Input lag is a time between receiving video signal and projecting it on screen.

Why there is any lag? It’s because the signal has to be processed by projectors chip, than the LCD cells or color wheel (in case of DLP) have to be put to the right state and so on.

Playing a game with big input lag makes it very uncomfortable (sometimes nearly unplayable). In FPS (first person shooter) games it’s nearly impossible to aim accurately.
Best 3d projector for gamers is an high resolution but only if your graphics hardware is capable of providing good refresh rate for that resolution – don’t forget, rendering game in 3d takes twice as much time for your graphics card (except games that have their own optimized 3d rendering system – for example Crysis 2).

3D projection – general information

The most common and least expensive 3D projection method is Active 3D system. Why? Active system do not need two projectors and expensive screen to run. Only requirements are sensible refresh rate and higher brightness. On the other hand, active 3D glasses are more expensive than very cheap polarized glasses. Active glasses have to be recharged regularly and are heavier then passive ones.

While active method is the most common and cheapest one, it’s not the best. Passive 3D systems are expensive and hard to setup. Special and expensive silver screen which preserves polarization of light must be used.

Best compromise between price and quality nowadays is a system that doesn’t rely on active shutter system nor polarization. It uses a set of special optical filters (not polarizing filters) to achieve 3D vision. The system is OMEGA 3D SYSTEM (this one is for DLP projectors)
. It can be used with any two projectors (same projectors) of your choice. Omega 3D system is not the best 3D projector – it is the best 3D projection system that needs two projectors to run.

In comparison to 3D TV, big screen sizes achievable with projectors can provide really stunning three-dimensional experience known from cinemas. Not only for watching movies but also for gaming. Games like crysis 2 or battlefield 3 have native support and are well optimized for 3d! Why not take advantage of that and play in three dimensions?

How does 3D projector work?

In general – its function is to independently deliver two pictures to the left and right eye. 3D movie consists of pair of pictures instead of just one. Each picture is captured from another perspective (view from the left and right eye). The main purpose of projector is then to deliver each picture to the proper eye.
For better explanation, let’s divide 3d projection systems into 3 categories.

Active 3D projection

The most common method. Projector alternates picture dedicated to the left eye with the picture for the right eye. You have to wear an active glasses which repeatedly covers your left and right eye. It’s a must that frequency of the projector is at least 120hz -that means 60hz for each eye (60 times per second) – to prevent flickering.

For some more sensitive people 60hz might not be enough, and they will see the picture flickering. Nice video why this happens.

When choosing the right one, brightness is a major factor, because both projection methods lead to losing some brightness.

Active 3D method in general is cheaper than passive. There’s no need for special screen capable of preserving light polarization. On the other hand, active glasses are much more expensive than passive ones.

active 3d projector
Active – images for left and right eye are projected from single projector

 

Passive polarized 3d projection

Passive 3d is based on different polarization of light from each projector. There is a need for special silver screen, that preserves the polarization of the light it reflects. When light bounces off s normal screen the light becomes polarized randomly – and it’s a problem in this case .

For each eye there is one projector with polarizing filter (circular or linear polarization). Your glasses also have polarizing filters. If linear polarization filters are used, each eye filter is rotated by 90 degrees. If circular – one eye has left hand polarization, other has right hand polarization. This system is very expensive because two projectors are needed together with an expensive silver screen. Only passive 3d projection system in the  3D projector comparison table is Epson W16SK – dual projectors system.

Passive projection method is much harder to accomplish. You need 2 synchronized projectors to project 2 images on one screen. Each with different polarization. This means, you need 2 projectors and expensive screen capable of preserving light polarization (very important). Therefore it is much more expensive than active 3D. On the other hand polarized glasses are very very cheap. The bigger your audience will be, the more sensible it is to invest in passive technology due to glasses price. And charging 20 active glasses isn’t comfortable either.

Passive method does not suffer from any flickering that some sensitive people may have experienced with active projection.

Passive 3D projector technology - Best 3D projector - find the best for you
Passive – image is projected from two separate projectors with polarizing filters
Best 3D projector – find the best for you

 

Passive optical filter 3D projection

In old days these used to be anaglyphs. Nowadays anaglyph 3D is not very used, because of the terrible color displaying.
Best technology nowadays is provided by OMEGA.

The 3D glasses and optical filters for projectors  have a thin layer of optical coatings that divide visible spectrum into into 2 white light sources that don’t need color correction. This way the visible spectrum is split into two full color images! The best about this technology is that it doesn’t need any special screen! No silverscreen required. You can project on your wall without flicker of active 3D projector (flickering noticeable only for some more sensitive people), and still have a full color passive 3D!

Explanation of basic parameters

Aspect ratio – proportional relationship between width and height of the picture

blesk1609
16:9
blesk0403
4:3

 

Resolution – number of pixels in format width x height (e.g. 640×480 = 640 pixels horizontally x 480 pixels vertically = 307200 total pixels)

150x99 resolution
150x99
500x331
500x331

 

DLP – Is aprojection technology that uses digital micromirror device. It consist of microscopic mirrors laid out in a matrix. Each mirror represents a pixel in the projected image.

Each of this mirror has 2 states:

  • Reflecting light through the lens on the screen
  • Reflecting light onto a heat sink

Light then continues through a rotating color wheel to affect it color.


3LCD 
3LCD projectors do not use micro mirrors or rotating color wheels. They divide the white light into 3 colors. Light of each color then goes through its own LCD chip which can make certain pixels translucent or opaque. Finally the colors are mixed together by a prism and projected onto screen. This picture is the best explanation. Devices using this technology does not suffer from common DLP projector rainbow effect.

 

Brightness tells us how bright picture we can get. Higher value means we can project from bigger distance, or during daylight without problems. For 3D TVs and projectors brightness value is very important because when using active 3D we do not see the picture with both eye at once – we are losing brightness.

Brightness is expressed by the unit called lumen.
How many lumens do I need? (External site)

User rating column is based on user reviews mostly from Amazon and expressed by star symbols. User rating is one of the most appropriate way to decide, there is nothing as valuable then a real user experience.

 

What are the advantages of 3D projectors over standard ones?

The number one advantage is of course – third dimension. You will see the depth in the movie or a game!
That means, explosions will blow into your face and you will feel like you are an part of it. Big screen combined with high quality surround audio system – truly awesome experience!
There are lot of people who love 3D, but there is also a big part of population who want to stick with 2D – it depends on ones preferences. If you have a friend with 3D setup, go and try it yourself. Nothing is better than your own experience.

Entertainment is just one kind of use. Education is another great use of 3D projectors. A lot of things are hard to visualize in 2D, lot of objects and complex structures are much better understood in 3D. Seeing a 2-dimensional macro picture of plant tissue is fine. But watching these pictures in 3D suddenly makes you see what was before unseen. Before it was just a flat tissue. In three dimension you are able to better recognize the real structure of the tissue – amazing!

 

What is the difference between 2D and 3D projector?

For better understanding, let’s divide them into 3 main categories.

  • Active 3D system
  • Passive polarized system
  • Passive optical filter system

Difference between active 3D projector and normal one is that active projector supports at least 120 Hz refresh rate. How does a 3D active projector work like you can find higher on this page.

Passive polarized system is not a matter of projector itself. It’s a set of polarizing filter and polarized glasses + special silver screen which can maintain polarization of reflected light. For such a setup you need 2 projectors, one for each eye.

Passive optical filter system is very similar to polarized one, but instead of light polarization, it uses color filtration. The most simple color filtration glasses are anaglyph glasses (they are also the worst). But nowadays there are high-tech optical filters available, which means you will get a full color image at the end! And the best thing is that you can project on any surface you want! No need for special screen. One of the best systems available is Omega 3D system.

Video Games on 3D Projectors?

Playing video games is fun. You get to experience things you wouldn’t otherwise experience in real life, and in a “safer” way since it is virtual reality. You can simulate what it is to be in a car chase, pretend to be a sniper, have your avatar do stunts you probably wouldn’t be able to do in real life, and experience sports like parasailing and canoeing. There is so much to try out and experience that sometimes playing video games gives you the taste of what it is like so that you can later decide to try it out in the real world (not the car chase or sniper parts, though).

A lot has been done to improve the technology of video games. Gamers are always pushing for more when it comes to video games—smoother graphics, better story-telling, more customization options for the avatars, etc. Of course, all of this can be improved upon or embellished by the use of 3D technology. This article talks about how 3D projectors work, how they can improve the gaming experience, what else they can be used for and some tips when buying your own 3D projector.

The history of 3D technology

3D or three-dimensional technology is a new kind of technology that can be applied to a lot of areas such as TVs, laptops, printers and other products.

3D technology started in photography, when David Brewster invented a stereoscopic camera in 1844. This camera was able to take the first 3D images. While used mainly for films in the past 100 or so years (films like The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl and The Polar Express were released in 3D), 2010 saw the push towards 3D television. A lot of channels are already producing and distributing shows in 3D.

Technology replicates the space required by the brain to see different images from the same source and create the illusion of depth. 3D glasses aid in giving the viewer this kind of perception either through the use of electronics (active glasses) or through color filters or polarization (passive glasses).

While 3D television is an option for those who want to experience their video games in 3D, there are also 3D projectors. These have the advantage of making your 3D experience more life-like than using just a screen. Also, unlike 3D cinema, 3D projectors provide sharper images.

These projectors work by projecting two images on the screen at the same time to make the 3D image viewed by active glasses. The images created by these active glasses are better than the images created by looking through the passive glasses used in 3D cinemas. By using these active glasses, the vision in one eye is blocked quickly in order to show the other eye the other image. The brain sees the succeeding offset images as a single 3D image.

The different types of 3D projectors include Direct 3D which can be connected via HDMI 1.4 cables and used with 3D glasses. For gaming on computer, an nVidia 3D-ready graphics card is used along with active shutter glasses and an emitter. The last type is the DLP link type of projector, where the projectors communicate directly with the glasses to produce the 3D images.

With this type of equipment, you will be able to experience your video games or computer games in an even more enhanced virtual reality. Now, you can really feel that you are part of the game!

Other uses of 3D projectors

While the projectors and glasses are rather pricey, you can maximize your 3D resources. 3D projectors can be used for presenting at work (especially in fields like architecture) or for education. Subjects like geography, geology or human anatomy can become a more interesting experience with the use of 3D learning materials.

Final advice

Imagine yourself/your family watching 3D movie. Do you have a place for projection? How many glasses would you need? If it is a big amount, a passive projectors might become cheaper, because active glasses are pretty expensive and you have to charge them regularly. If any member of your family sees and hates flicker, go for passive projection. I personally see the flicker and it’s making my eyes very tired after a while. Do not forget also about eyeglasses some people need to use. There are options for both active and passive glasses which can be used together with common eyeglasses.