In a time where cinema and television alike are pushing further and further more and more frequently into the 3D arena (who doesn’t like five minutes of 3D commercials during the Super Bowl?), the projection industry is going to see a strong push for the development of technologies to support those experiences. Exhibit A: Digital Projection’s new line of 3D projectors.
DP is turning out 3D versions of its iVision, Titan, and Lightning product series. Now, I knew going in that DP hadn’t found a new way to break laws of physics—the adult in me knew not to expect a holographic experience. But the kid in me heard the term “3D” applied to a 20,000-lumen projector and had a little mini-fantasy. It turns out that when DP says “3D” what they really mean is “3D capable.” The projectors all feature a new input sideboard that excepts twin-dual DVI inputs and has a direct line to the DMDs (Digital Micromirror Devices, the images chips that drive all DLP-style projectors). This means the projectors can push through two meshed 1080p signals at 120Hz with essentially zero latency. In other words, each projector in the line can play two full HD movies at the same time at their full frame rate of 60 frames per second.
Getting from there to 3D is up to you, using shutter glasses to isolate 60 frames for each eye. Now, shutter glasses are the industry’s least-favorite method for producing 3D, as they can’t be manufactured to be disposable, like the red-blue and polarized film glasses most of us have experienced. They do however produce the highest quality image of the three different methods.
Tuning this product line for 3D also forced DP into some performance trade-offs. The 3D input bypasses all of the standard DP image enhancement and control features that are built into the standard models of these projector lines, as the additional processing would add latency. All in all, however, these projectors are an incredible demonstration of power and forward-thinking. They will certainly help push the market further into the 3D arena.