Choosing A DLP Projector For 3D Compatibility
The first issue is that the DLP projector must have a relatively high refresh rate, because each frame of video is only being delivered to one of your eyes, as the other eye is getting blocked by the 3D stereoscopic glasses. If the projector's refresh rate is 60 Hz, it can deliver 60 frames of video per second. 60 fps is good enough for smooth video when you're using both eyes, but when the stereoscopic glasses are covering alternative eyes every frame of video, each eye is only seeing 30 frames per second. This makes things appear fairly choppy and is a bit unsettling for the eyes; it might even give you a headache.
Luckily, you can find DLP projectors out there with higher refresh rates; there are sub-$1000 models offering 75 or 85 Hz at 1024x768. Consider 75 Hz the absolute minimum: any lower, and the strobing effect of the 3D glasses is too distracting. We found that 85 Hz is a lot easier on the eyes, and in general, the faster the refresh rate the better, as it will provide a smoother experience.
The second consideration is to choose a projector with the highest native resolution possible. The native resolution is the exact number of pixels the projector can project: be sure to look for native resolution, as some projectors will be compatible with a number of resolutions higher than their native resolution. For example, a projector might list that it's compatible with a 1280x1024 signal, but it has a native resolution of 1024x768. This means it will interpolate a 1280x1024 signal down to its native resolution of 1024x768.
In reality, the projector's resolution is directly proportional to the amount you want to spend. This article is focusing on the everyman, so we're trying to keep it affordable. For under $1,000 you should be able to get a projector with a native resolution of 1024x768, which is the absolute minimum you'd want for gaming.
The third feature to look for is a VGA input. The 3D stereoscopic glasses I've seen won't work with DVI or component video inputs.
Finally, you will also want a projector that broadcasts a good amount of light, so it should be rated for at least 2,000 lumens, and the more, the better! You see, because stereoscopic glasses stop light from reaching one eye in each consecutive frame, the result is that the image appears darker than it really is. The only way to combat this is with a brighter image.
Those are the projector basics! Of course, you'll also want a projector that has a good contrast ratio for gaming: at least 2,000:1.
In our case, we chose the Optoma EP719. It has an advertised refresh rate of 85 Hz, a native resolution of 1024x768, a VGA input, 2,000 lumens of brightness and a 2500:1 contrast ratio. As a bonus, the EP719 is even HDCP compliant for HD/Blu-ray movies! Even though it exceeds most of the minimum specs, we purchased it easily within our budget - on sale for $850.