At first glance, Optoma’s DLP-based HD33 struck us as the Charlie Brown of this batch. While it was the first 3D video projector in this price range to reach the market, it delivers only 1,800 ANSI lumens of brightness, its zoom lens is limited to 1.2x, and you must buy the 3D glasses separately. Like the Epson, the HD33 doesn’t have a lens-shift feature, but it is the least-expensive model we looked at, and its image quality is at least as good as the other two.
The HD33 comes with an RF emitter for synchronizing 3D glasses, but the emitter is a stand-alone device that must be plugged into a VESA 3D port at the back of the projector. Optoma helpfully provides a bit of two-way tape so you can glue it to the projector housing, but it’s a tacky (no pun intended) solution at best. The glasses Optoma sent for this review (not included in the price of the projector) were considerably dorkier looking and less comfortable to wear than the glasses Acer and Epson provided. Optoma’s glasses are also unique in that they use a rechargeable battery, but that comes with a downside: You recharge them using a Micro USB cable and an AC adapter, which is also not included (although you could plug them into your PC). Alternatively, you can use any manufacturer’s DLP Link 3D-compatible glasses. You can expect to pay about $100 per pair for active 3D glasses of any type.
The best feature of Epson’s Home Theater 3010—a three-chip LCD projector—is its extreme brightness. At 2,200 ANSI lumens, it’s 10 percent brighter than the Acer, and more than 18 percent brighter than the Optoma. Its biggest drawback is the fact that it doesn’t include lens shift, which could make the projector more difficult to set up without having to resort to quality-compromising keystone adjustments.
If you do need to make keystone adjustments, the 3010 renders horizontal adjustments easy and precise. And when you’re running the projector in 3D mode, you’ll definitely appreciate that added brightness, since the tinted active-shutter glasses will block a considerable amount of light from reaching your eyes. The trade-off for all that brightness is a black level that’s slightly worse than the Acer’s. But black remains black, not dark gray, so we think the trade-off is worthwhile.
All three projectors delivered stunning 3D experiences. There’s one scene in the IMAX Blu-ray disc Under the Sea 3D in which a gargantuan potato cod turns to face the camera, and it looked as though the huge fish was protruding eight feet off the screen and right into the middle of our home theater. But only the Epson could accomplish the trick with complete effectiveness in the presence of ambient light from nearby windows.
Acer’s H9500BD 3D video projector is the most expensive of the three models here, but it has a couple of features the other two lack. Its overall image quality, however, is only on par with projectors in this price range. We’ll leave it up to you to match those considerations to your needs/wants list.
The H9500BD, like Optoma’s HD33, is based on Texas Instrument’s DLP technology. When connected to a PC or Blu-ray 3D player via HDMI, the projector is capable of producing frame-packed 3D video at 1920x1080 resolution at a refresh rate of 24Hz (the same frame rate movies are filmed at). If you want to play games, you’ll need to drop the resolution down to 1280x720, so you can use a 60Hz refresh rate (markedly better for games).
Unless you’ll be the only person watching the projector in 3D mode, though, you should keep in mind that Acer provides only one pair of 3D glasses with the projector; additional pairs of DLP Link 3D glasses cost about $100 each. (Flip over to Lab Notes on page 92 for a longer discussion of what you’ll need to drive any of these projectors with an AMD or Nvidia GPU.)
Chiding grandmothers often warn young ‘uns that they shouldn’t go around mixing business and pleasure, but that axiom seems kind of dated in the always connected, ‘round the clock realities of the 21st century. Today, Epson announced a new duo of combo projectors that’s perfect for a little work and a little play thanks to their ability to display images from smartphones, game consoles, tablets and PCs – sound included. They're packed with tons of other home theater-ready features, too.
Graffiti goes high-tech in Alys Beach, Florida, a beach town that will host the second annual "Digital Graffiti" festival on Saturday, June 6, 2009. Artists from around the world will project their original works onto white walls, which will mark the world's first outdoor projection festival.
"Alys Beach is welcoming painters with open arms and white walls," wrote USA Today in 2008. "But with projectors and laptops rather than spray cans."
Last year saw submissions come in from as far away as Isreal, Austria, India, France, and several other global destinations. Over $6,500 in prizes were awarded, with Robert Seidel of Jena, Germany winning the 2008 'Best of Show' prize and accompanying $2,500 purse. This year, the festival is being sponsored by the Cinemin Swivel pico projector co-developed by WowWee Technologies and Texas Instruments DLP Technology.
If you're going to be in the area, tickets to attend run $15 for adults and $5 for under 12 admissions if purchased online ($20 and $5 on day of event).
Your current video projector has a 4:3 aspect ratio, but you’re planning to move up to a high-def model with a 16:9 aspect ratio next year. In the meantime, you need to replace your projection screen, which your two-year-old recently mistook for an artist’s canvas. Quite the pickle, eh?