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Conclusion: Wall-Sized 3D Vision Rocks!

Wall-Sized 3D Gaming With Nvidia 3D Vision
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It's funny how prejudices can creep into your subconscious. I've been a 3D enthusiast for many years, and based on my experiences, I had all but given up on LCD shutter glasses, especially when compared to polarized dual-projection systems. The strobing shutters and headaches associated with shutter glasses are inevitable--or so I had thought.

Now, after building a polarized dual-projection system and testing a single-projector 3D Vision system, I have to ask myself the question: is the polarized dual-projection system worth the extra work and upfront expense compared to a 3D Vision system? Surprisingly, I find myself answering a resounding no, but with a few caveats.

If you're building a 3D gaming system for the express purpose of having 15+ people over at a time for parties, then a polarized dual-projection display is for you. You'll save a lot of money on the cheaper glasses in the long run--you don't want 15 people partying in $150 3D Vision glasses. You won't be able to watch Blu-ray 3D discs, of course, because software developers will probably not support the display. You'll have to live with some minor ghosting and crosstalk effects and will have to pay attention to the 3D driver you use based on the game you're playing. You’ll also have to live with the lack of a mouse cursor in one eye when playing RTS and RP games. DirectX 10 and 11 support is iffy at best. Your startup costs will be in the $2500 range. It's a bit of a mess, but at the same time, still a very fun solution. People will be stunned by the 3D output and your reputation as a host for 3D gaming parties will be legendary. Despite the problems, a polarized dual-projection system is a cool thing to have.

But if you're an average user, a gaming bachelor, or a family man with a penchant for 3D, then I really do think that a 3D Vision projector is the way to go. The buy-in is less than $1000 for a wall-sized 3D display. There are no ghosting artifacts. There is only one driver to use, which offers great game compatibility compared to the dual-projector alternatives. You can play Blu-ray 3D discs right out of the gate, and they really do work beautifully. You get a mouse cursor for both eyes when playing RTS and RP games. DirectX 10 and 11 are natively supported in the GeForce drivers. The playback is just as crisp and smooth as a polarized dual-projection system, but without the compromises or high startup costs.

Granted, you only get a single pair of glasses for that sub-$1000 price, and extra 3D Vision glasses are very expensive at $150 a pop. But look at the numbers. If you have a family of five, you'll need to buy four extra sets of glasses. That's $600, which is a hefty sum, but the $1600 total price tag for the glasses and projector remains about a thousand dollars less than a $2500 polarized dual-projector setup. And let's not forget, with increased adoption comes higher volumes and lower prices. A 120 Hz 3D television uses this same technology, and its glasses are in the same price range, so the price of glasses will inevitably drop over the next year or two.

Let's talk about Blu-ray 3D a little more. Right now the buy-in for a 120 Hz 46" 3D television is over $2000 in most cases for the television alone. Is anyone else intrigued by the relatively low cost of 120 Hz projectors for big-screen Blu-ray 3D duty? Granted, the highest 3D Vision-capable projector resolution is 720p now, but frankly, Blu-ray 3D films look awesome at this resolution, even on a 100” screen. In my opinion, a 120 Hz projector is the best way to currently watch Blu-ray 3D, and it just happens to be one of the lowest-cost options, too.

What about our projector choice? The Acer H5360 simply dazzled us for the low $640 price tag. Its 2500 lumens of brightness and a 3200:1 contrast ratio make for great gaming and movie viewing, while the 3D Vision-compatibility is an added bonus. Frankly, the display quality seems superior to the 3D Vision-ready Acer GD235Hz LCD monitor, which appears quite dark when used for 3D Vision duty. In addition, the H5360 projector can refresh pixels faster, and doesn't seem to suffer from occasional ghosting artifacts with very bright objects like the LCD monitor does.

What are the downsides of a 3D Vision projector aside from the cost of extra glasses? Some games aren't well-supported by 3D Vision. But, on average, 3D Vision works with a much broader range of games than the TriDef and iZ3D options. In fact, I'd say that the 3D Vision driver has the best all-around game compatibility, based on the titles in our test suite. The biggest detractor pertains to separation/convergence, for which we'd like to see tweaks in the driver.

After considering all of the pros and cons (cost, game compatibility, image quality, and Blu-ray 3D compatibility) a projector-driven 3D Vision solution offers gamers and movie buffs something wonderful to aspire to for less than a $1000 investment. In a world pushing 3D enthusiasts to spend over $2000 on 3D televisions, that's something special indeed. Because of this, we're awarding the 3D Vision/Acer H5360 projector combo our Tom's Hardware 2010 Recommended Buy award.

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Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    hemburger , August 2, 2010 6:06 AM
    I'd rather wall sized 1080p playback than wall sized 3D playback. = )
Other Comments
  • 15 Hide
    hemburger , August 2, 2010 6:06 AM
    I'd rather wall sized 1080p playback than wall sized 3D playback. = )
  • 9 Hide
    Lmeow , August 2, 2010 6:09 AM
    I would love to have a 3D system like this, unfortunately it's nCredibly expensive...
  • 5 Hide
    Tamz_msc , August 2, 2010 6:14 AM
    I don't care about 3D.
  • -4 Hide
    infodan , August 2, 2010 6:57 AM
    What about DLP 3D? the projector supports it, DLP-link glasses are cheaper and dont require a transmitter like the nvidia glasses.
  • 2 Hide
    TheStealthyOne , August 2, 2010 7:28 AM
    "The whole experiment consisted of about $2500 worth of hardware and software, NOT including the PC driving the displays."

    I cringed.
  • 6 Hide
    kolsky , August 2, 2010 8:07 AM
    I own a acer h5360 and I agree, it is awesome watching 3d movies on it. 1080p? Dont even notice pixellation at 115 inch screen. 720p is fine and at a great price. 1080p 3d projectors will be extremely expensive for average consumers.
  • 7 Hide
    proxy711 , August 2, 2010 8:18 AM
    kolsky 3d is extremely expensive for average consumers.


    Fixed.
  • -1 Hide
    Rickyw972 , August 2, 2010 8:41 AM
    Is this projector better than the Mitshibshi 73" 1080p dlp for $1100?
  • 5 Hide
    kolsky , August 2, 2010 8:56 AM
    Im sorry, but 3d is NOT expensive. The acer 5360 can be bought for as low as 580 and the nvidia vision glasses kit can be bought for as low as 150. That is under 1,000... less than the cost of a 3D TV.
  • 1 Hide
    DaFees , August 2, 2010 9:08 AM
    Interesting read, but ultimately all this 3D talk leaves me with a big question. I have a PS3 and if I upgrade my PC to a 3D vision enabled PC is there a projector (perhaps the one discussed in this article) that would allow me to enjoy the 3D from my PS3 and my PC? I understand if I would need a switch between devices or manually switch cables. I know NVIDIA is working on a 3DTV play tech that let's you use the glasses of 3D enabled HDTV to enjoy NVIDIA 3D Vision, but is there a similar option for projectors?
  • 2 Hide
    scrumworks , August 2, 2010 9:22 AM
    kolskyIm sorry, but 3d is NOT expensive. The acer 5360 can be bought for as low as 580 and the nvidia vision glasses kit can be bought for as low as 150. That is under 1,000... less than the cost of a 3D TV.


    ATI/AMD will make it a lot cheaper without proprietary hugely expensive crap like nvidia.

    http://www.digitalversus.com/3d-films-and-games-with-glasses-from-ati-before-christmas-article-1086.html
  • 0 Hide
    TheGreatGrapeApe , August 2, 2010 9:53 AM
    Saddest thing in the review: "and the software developers we've talked to have indicated that the dual-projector option is too fringe to justify development."

    D-bags once again focusing on their limitations rather than options.

    Glad I didn't waste my money on that 3D upgrade for PowerDVD or others until they get their act together to support both methods.

    It's obviously already possible as shown by JVC last year (see end of clip);
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbm0VoL845k&feature=channel_page
    but once again leave it to the small minded accountants running the companies to keep it held back.

    Nice look as always though Don. :sol: 

  • 0 Hide
    TheGreatGrapeApe , August 2, 2010 9:57 AM
    Quote:
    Im sorry, but 3d is NOT expensive. The acer 5360 can be bought for as low as 580 and the nvidia vision glasses kit can be bought for as low as 150. That is under 1,000... less than the cost of a 3D TV.


    That's for one viewer, and then it's X amount for each additional viewer to have shutter glasses, expensive if you have friends, cheap if you're a loner.

    Polarization is the way to go for a bunch of people.
  • 0 Hide
    Jerky_san , August 2, 2010 12:09 PM
    I actually have a setup like this but I used a optoma GT700 and did a little messing with drivers to get the nvidia glasses to see it.. I don't really see a whole lot of "3d" though I guess maybe my eyes don't work well with the system.. I got to say though having a 135' screen to watch movies on is fun..
  • 3 Hide
    hixbot , August 2, 2010 12:20 PM
    scrumworksATI/AMD will make it a lot cheaper without proprietary hugely expensive crap like nvidia. http://www.digitalversus.com/3d-fi [...] -1086.html

    Well Nvidia's 3DTV Play will offer the same thing. HDMI 1.4a compatibility, no need to buy the Nvidia Vision kit, works with glasses provided by the display etc.
    It's odd, that article you posted doesn't mention that.
  • 1 Hide
    allrock , August 2, 2010 12:20 PM
    Most Cinemas I have seem do not use 2 projecters to display 3D movies they use a single digital projecter that displays alternate frames, the Dolby system uses A spinning filter wheel betwean the projectors lamp and Imager, it alters the light up and down in frequency synced to the proper frame and passive RGB filter glasses allow only the corect eye to see the corect image (no special silver screan required because the light is not polerized ) RealD uses a switching circuler polarizer (called Z screan ) placed in front of the projecter and synced to the proper frame this system like all polerized systems requires a silver screan to mantain polarization of the image and is viewed with cicular polarized glasses (inexpensive) both systems use a single projecter and alternating frame sequence of the image projected, and passive glasses there are Active glasses systems as well but they are less comon.
  • 1 Hide
    Jerky_san , August 2, 2010 12:34 PM
    Rickyw972Is this projector better than the Mitshibshi 73" 1080p dlp for $1100?

    look up the gt700 its 720p but the nice thing about it is that its short throw. So you can put it in a 10x10 room and still get a really large picture..
  • 0 Hide
    hixbot , August 2, 2010 12:35 PM
    Lets not forget that HDMI 1.4a does not have a mandatory standard for 3d at 1080p60. The HDMI chips are just too slow to handle the bandwidth. It's limited to 1080p24, 1080i60, or 720p60. So 3d Bluray playback will be fine on HDMI, but 3d gaming will be very limited on HDMI.
  • -4 Hide
    faraz1010 , August 2, 2010 1:27 PM
    heads up for 3d vision..bt nVidia sucks for making it only geForce card compatible..
    ATI cards would have given lot bttr results
  • -4 Hide
    xsamitt , August 2, 2010 1:40 PM
    Not interested in this.Your mileage may vary.
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