3D Projection Technology Explanation & Best 3D Projectors Recommendation

Last Updated December 26,2018

3D cinema has changed the way we experience movies. It has increased our immersion level, allowing us to be a part of our favorite fantasy worlds. A few years ago, this experience was only limited to theatres and cinema houses. 

The advent of 3D projectors has brought this level of immersion from theatres to the living rooms of our homes. These projectors use a proprietary technology along with special 3D glasses to output lifelike imagery. You feel as though you are standing right next to your superhero in their fight for good or are a part of the amazing car chase sequence. 

3D Technology

3D technology works by creating an illusion of depth which makes images appear lifelike. The 3D glasses deliver two slightly altered variations of the same image, one for the left eye and the other for the right eye. The human brain perceives the two images as a single one that appears to have depth and realism. 

There are two popular 3D technologies adopted in commercial applications.

Anaglyph Technology: Earlier 3D images were created using anaglyph technology. The technology was characterized by the red and blue glasses required to view the images in 3D. It made use of anaglyph images, wherein each image had two layers of slightly different colors. The glasses helped in distinguishing those two layers, creating a 3D effect. The technology suffered from substandard image quality. 

Polarizing Technology: Modern 3D projectors use polarizing technology wherein some light waves projected from the projector travel in one direction while others oscillate in a different direction. Each glass on the 3D glasses recognizes light waves that oscillate in only one direction, i.e. light waves oscillating in direction ‘A’ will be recognized by the left glass while those oscillating in direction ‘B’ will be recognized by the right glass. It will result in each eye of the viewer viewing two slightly different images for creating a 3D effect.

The glasses used in polarizing technology may work in one of the following ways:

Light Filtering: Light filtering glasses may use filters that enable the lenses to pick up images meant for only a particular eye. Both variations of the same image are simultaneously displayed on the projector screen for the glasses to work.

Active Shutter: Active shutter glasses close one of the lenses depending on whether the image on the projector screen is meant for the left eye or right eye. The projector also projects images alternatingly, one for the left eye and the next for the right eye. The glasses communicate with the projector wirelessly and use batteries. Modern 3D projectors, especially the ones designed for residences have active shutter glasses.

PERGEAR Active Shutter 3D Glasses

3D Projectors and Technology Timeline

Innovations in 3D technology have been going on since a long time, and 3D projector prototypes have existed in some form or another since the beginning of the 20th century. The first 3D film became available at the beginning of the 20th century though it may not be deemed good enough by today’s standards.

Stereoscopic 3D was one of the earliest technologies wherein images were projected on two different screens, and a stereoscope was used by the viewer to view the two images as one for an illusion of 3D.

Anaglyph technology was the next major advancement that was used for quite a few decades. The popularity of the technology waxed and waned over the next several decades.

The 80s and 90s saw the emergence of the polarizing technology that slowly replaced the anaglyph technology being used in cinemas and theatres.

The early years of the 2000s saw the introduction of consumer 3D devices including TVs and monitors. However, 3D projectors became mainstream only in the late 2000s. These projectors primarily used DVI or VGA input signal and had a resolution of up to 720p. 

The year 2010 also saw many brands release 3D-ready projectors for home usage. Most of these projectors featured HDMI ports that allowed 1080p signals. LG and Acer were among the first brands to launch 3D-ready projectors.

Previously released 3D projectors were quite expensive and out of the budget of most consumers. The end of the year 2011 witnessed the release of many affordable 3D projectors from brands including Panasonic, Optoma, and Epson. They slowly began replacing TVs in home theatres.

Sony introduced world’s first 4K projector with 3D capability in mid of 2012 ushering in a new era for 3D projectors. Many other brands followed with their 4K offerings.

Future Trends of 3D Technology

In recent years, 3D technology has been increasingly becoming popular. Almost every action-packed movie is shot for 3D viewing or at least has a few scenes for the same. Viewers can not only watch them in 3D in theatres but can also view them later at home via DVDs or internet streaming.

Even 3D devices are becoming more affordable and easily available. While 3D was mostly limited to TVs a few years ago, today most of the mainstream 1080p projectors designed for home theatres have 3D capability. Quite a few 4K projectors are also being sold with 3D capability for providing a cinematic movie experience that is at par with theatres.

These innovations have put the 3D technology within reach of the average consumer and not just enthusiasts. Everyone can now immerse themselves in their favorite cinematic worlds. A few 3D TV shows, as well as some games, have also been released in recent years. 

The lowering cost of devices with 3D technology and the increasing availability of 3D content assure a bright future for 3D projectors. 

Recommendations for 3D Projectors

If you are looking for a 3D projector then here are a few great recommendations for you.

Optoma HD143X Home Theatre Projector

The HD143X is one of the latest offerings from Optoma. It is a 1080p projector aimed at budget-conscious consumers. It has a brightness rating of 3,000 lumens and uses the DLP technology for projecting images. Features include the Dynamic Black functionality for excellent black levels and a lamp that is rated for up to 15,000 hours.

You can use DLP Link Active Shutter 3D glasses along with the projector for watching movies in 3D. The projector has an input lag of under 17ms (Enhanced Gaming Mode) and can even be used for gaming. It is a great entry-level 3D projector for home entertainment setups.


Optoma HD143X 1080p 3000 Lumens 3D projector

JMGO N7L Projector

Need a 3D projector that is as stylish as it is feature packed? Then the JMGO N7L is the no-brainer option for you. The projector has an eye-catching round design that will blend into any décor. It has great specs to boast of as well. It is a Full HD projector capable of projecting 1080p (1920x1080) imagery for superior viewing quality.

The JMGO N7L is a smart device that comes pre-installed with JMGO OS based on the Android platform. You can install applications for various streaming services as well as other Android applications with the inbuilt Wi-Fi capability. HDMI, Ethernet and USB ports are also provided for connecting it with other devices.

JMGO N7L 1080p 3D smart projector powered by Android OS

The autofocus ensures crisp and clear imagery with a maximum size of up to 180”. It supports both vertical and horizontal keystone correction of up to ±45º giving you flexibility in installing the projector. It is a great projector for your living room. It also requires Active Shutter glasses for 3D movies.

Epson Pro Cinema 4050 4K UHD LCD Projector

The Epson Pro Cinema 4050 is a great option for homeowners who want to a 4K projector without having to spend a great deal of money. It comes with the PRO-UHD 3LCD chip that makes use of the pixel shifting technology for projecting images in 4K UHD. The projector has a native resolution of 1920x1080x2. Its new chip allows for better image quality as compared to the 5040UB projector from the same brand.

Epson Pro Cinema 4050 4K PRO-UHD Projector

The 4050 projector has a brightness rating of 2,400 lumens and boasts of balanced color brightness as it uses LCD technology. The bulb is rated for a life of up to 5,000 hours in eco mode. Features include lens memory, excellent image processing, and HDR10 support. It comes with two HDMI ports and an Ethernet port among others. 

Sony VPL-VW295ES True 4K Projector

If you are looking for a True 4K projector and have the money to spare, then consider Sony’s VPL-VW295ES projector. It has a native resolution of 4096x2160 pixels resulting in excellent image sharpness. It is even IMAX certified giving you cinema-like quality right in your living room. The projector is capable of projecting a 3D image, and you can purchase the glasses separately.

Sony 4K HDR Home Theater Video Projector (VPLVW295ES)

The VPL-VW295ES is an LCoS projector that uses Sony’s SXRD (3) technology. It has a brightness rating of 1500 lumens and outputs excellent colors. The projector is packed with features including a motorized lens and a pair of HDMI inputs. It is a perfect choice if image quality is your top priority. 


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