How to Demo 3D Systems

Consider these tips before demoing a 3D system to clients.

Robert Archer · April 8, 2011

3D is one of the most controversial, exciting technologies to hit the market since HDTV debuted in the late 1990s.

With the technology rapidly maturing and content options growing by the minute, installers are at a crossroad of whether to offer this developing - but popular - technology.

Unlike HDTV, which offered consumers an instant upgrade over analog video, 3D comes in different flavors, requiring some TLC before client presentations. Installers who are interested in showing 3D solutions to clients should first consider these key points.

3D Images are Less Bright
One of the biggest challenges installers face when they consider adding 3D to their showroom is how to balance a good 2D/3D demo.

“There are brightness considerations to take into account when designing a 2D/3D system,” warns Gary Klasmeier, product engineering manager, D-ILA Systems, JVC Professional Products Company. “No matter what process or display technology is used for 3D, there is a basic efficiency light loss with 3D. For instance, the 2D light output standard in a commercial movie theater is 12 to16 foot lamberts. For the same theater, the 3D standard is 4.5 to 6 foot lamberts. It is very normal for the 3D image to be considerably less bright than the 2D counterpart.”

Jennifer Davis, VP of marketing for Runco, says the differences in brightness will affect installers’ 3D theater designs.

“Designing a room for both 2D and 3D projection can create significant challenges due to the inherent light loss in standard 3D implementations,” Davis says. “Most 3D systems are less than 25 percent efficient, and some are closer to 10 percent, which means you start with a 2D projection system that is 100 percent bright and end up with 10 to 12 percent brightness in 3D. This lack of efficiency has huge implications for screen size, theater design and other setup considerations.”

Photos: 6 Great 3D Demos

Klasmeier says installers can overcome 2D/3D brightness issues and variables such as ambient light, but the solutions limit other aspects of the system.

“Several companies have screens that help reduce the affects of ambient light, although for critical viewing, I still feel that a fully light-controlled room is a good choice,” he notes. “There is almost always a trade-off with these ambient light screens in terms of viewing angle, spectral response and even size limitations. Many of these special screens cannot be perforated or rolled, [so installers should] talk to the various screen vendors to fully understand these trade-offs.”

Pros & Cons of Active, Passive 3D
The different types of 3D is another problem. The 3D home video market is polarized by proponents of either passive or active 3D. Here’s a brief look at the differences between the two:

Active 3D: uses battery-powered glasses that transmit IR signals to sync the shutter mechanisms with the content on screen. Active 3D provides higher image resolutions and doesn’t require special screen products. Active 3D glasses tend to be bulkier than passive 3D systems.

  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at

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  Article Topics

News · 3D · Demo · JVC · Runco · All Topics
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