Today, I attended a couple of sessions on 3D in what is called the Content Theater. The material was displayed from a Sony 4K digital-cinema projector using a dual-lens RealD polarization system projecting different 2K sections of the imager for the left and right eyes. The polarization-preserving, perforated screen was from Harkness and measured 24x13 feet.
One of the biggest impediments to the adoption of 3D in the home is the cost of active-shutter glassestypically around $150 a pop, making it prohibitively expensive to outfit an entire family, even after you account for the one or maybe two pairs included with some (but not all) 3D TVs. So when I read that Samsung will be offering active 3D glasses at less than $50 each, I sat up and took notice.
Converting 2D content to 3D is controversial at best, but when George Lucas wants to do it to Star Wars, that's big news. Following an exhaustive testing process, Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic have selected Prime Focus to convert Episode I: The Phantom Menace to 3D for theatrical release on February 10, 2012.
So far in this report on my experience with the Runco D-73d 3D projector, I've covered its features in Part 1 and Part 2 and my calibration and measurements in Part 3. Now, it's finally time to watch some movies.
In Part 1 and Part 2 of my report on the Runco D-73d 3D DLP projector, I covered its features in some detail. Now, it's time to reveal what we measured while working with it at Runco's training facility near Portland, Oregon. Helping me was Erik Guslawski, eastern regional product specialist, and Bob Williams, chief product architect and recent guest on my Home Theater Geeks podcast.
Yesterday, Panasonic and Xpand, makers of mostly commercial active-shutter 3D glasses, announced a standard synchronization protocol for this type of eyewear called M-3DI. The new standard is intended to improve compatibility between 3D TVs and home projectors, computers, and digital cinema, a problem that has plagued the current 3D marketplace since its inception over a year ago.
Normally in this blog, I profile extreme products based solely on information provided by the manufacturer, not on personal experience. However, the D-73d projector from Runco is a different storyI got to spend an entire day with it at the company's training facility near Portland, Oregon, where Runco moved after being acquired by Planar. Helping me was Erik Guslawski, eastern regional product specialist, and Bob Williams, chief product architect and recent guest on my Home Theater Geeks podcast.
Because there's so much to write about, I'm going to split this report into several parts. First, I'll cover the features of the D-73d, then I'll focus on my experiences with the projector at Runco, including measurements and watching real-world content.
As I've said all along, you need a really big screen to get the most out of 3D video, and that usually means a front projector, which, in turn, means big bucks. But Mitsubishi will soon offer a more affordable alternativethe WD-92840, a DLP-based rear-projection 3D TV with a ginormous 92-inch screen for much less than most 3D front projectors and separate screens.
Panasonic today held press briefings at its Panasonic Hollywood Labs facility near Universal City, CA, regarding its 2011 line of Blu-ray players, HTIBs (home-theater-in-a-box systems), self-contained iPod microsystems, and a soundbar. This being Ultimate AV, I'll focus on the Blu-ray players here.
According to the Home Cinema Choice blog on TechRadar.com, the idea of exclusively bundling the Avatar 3D Blu-ray with Panasonic's 3D productsa deal that runs until February 2012was initiated by 20th Century Fox, not Panasonic. Also, this is likely to be a one-time thing for the company, not a regular policy.
It seems that 3D channels are starting to make a few significant inroads in the broadcast landscape. Last week, I reported that DirecTV rolled out 3net, a 24/7 3D channel co-founded by Discovery Communications, Sony, and Imax. Now, Comcast, the country's largest cable provider, is getting in the game with its Xfinity 3D channel, which debuts on Sunday, February 20, 2011.
The 3D TV landscape got a whole lot more complicated at this year's CESand it was already plenty complicated before the show! In addition to displays that use active-shutter glasses, we now have some that use passive-polarized glasses and a few flat panels that use no glasses at all. In particular, I've been seeing quite a few blogs about glasses-free 3D, such as this one by Grant Clauser for CEPro and this one by Stewart Wolpin for TWICE. Both commentators reject the current viability of glasses-free 3D, which is more formally known as auto-stereoscopic, and with good reasonit looks lousy, and it confuses the 3D market considerably.
The long-anticipated debut of 3net, a 24/7 3D network co-founded by Discovery Communications, Sony, and Imax, is set for Sunday, February 13, 2011, at 8:00 PM ET, when it will be carried on DirecTV's channel 107. Those who tune in that evening will see China Revealed, followed by Into the Deep, which took the Imax 3D camera underwater for the first time, and Forgotten Planet, a look at the "strangest places on Earth."