Against this, others will be judged and found wanting… That’s how 3D-Ready DLP HDTVs stack up at 3DRoundup. The Samsung HL-T6187S Rear Projection DLP HDTV has become our reference standard for high definition stereo 3D display quality. The underlying Texas Instruments SmoothPicture DLP Technology accomplishes what consumer-level single-screen CRT, LCD and Plasma solutions have all failed to do so far – deliver a bright, clean, high-resolution, well color-balanced, 3D image with a wide viewing angle and without a hint of ghosting or flicker. The quality is stunning – as good as the most meticulously configured and maintained 2-projector setups that we’ve had the good fortune to eyeball.
TI’s SmoothPicture, found in both Samsung and Mitsubishi DLP HDTVs, delivers alternating left and right eye views using the inherent oscillation (properly referred to as wobbulation) of the DLP’s micro mirror array. This effectively halves the 1920 X 1080 image that is delivered to each eye, but, as each eye gets unique spatial information, the loss is not visually apparent. The display is physically cabled to a HDMI (or DVI with adapter) output from a reasonably modern video card. The 3D information is embedded in a checkerboard interlaced frame (see http://www.dlp.com/downloads/DLP%203D%20HDTV%20Technology.pdf for more details), which is an efficient method of squeezing left and right eye views into 1920 X 1080 . The display does the work of separating the left and right eye views and sending the stereo sync signal (via standard 3-pin miniDIN VESA jack) to the requisite active shutterglasses. The display even automatically applies a gamma setting in 3D mode that compensates for the color density distortion of active shutterglasses.
Speaking of shutterglasses, we regularly test with StereoGraphics CrystalEyes and eDimensional Wireless shutterglasses at 3DRoundup. The CrystalEyes are top-notch and really show-off the superiority of the Samsung 3D. The eDimensional shades are pretty darn good too and are a fraction of the CrystalEyes cost. One frustrating side-effect of the eDimensional IR emitter is that it seems to flood the same frequency in the IR spectrum that many remote controls use, including the Samsung’s remote. When the display is in 3D mode, your other home A/V remotes will be blocked. That can be a pain when you want to adjust volume, for instance. The StereoGraphics emitter doesn’t suffer from this. There are, of course, a number of other wireless active shutterglass options out there. We hear very good things about the NuVision 60GX product. Samsung has even announced a branded shutterglass solution of their own (word on the street is that current prototypes are quite heavy, however). Watch for a detailed shutterglass shoot-out in the near future.
Stereo 3D support from the PC has a few rough edges that will present no barriers to enthusiasts, but, until they are addressed, will limit use by more casual consumers. The included Samsung documentation defers all information regarding 3D configuration and use, to the web where only sketchy instructions can be found. One challenge is to understand the PC horsepower needed for 3D HD movie playback and for gaming. It’s hard to be precise here – but – Stereo 3D (gaming in particular) puts serious demands on the CPU, GPU and even hard drives (for streaming duel HD video files). This is a topic best investigated and discussed on mtbs3d.com, but, the rule of thumb is to get the fastest monster PC that you can. If you do, then maybe Crysis will be playable in 3D (and maybe not). For viewing 3D movies, there are a number of PC players that will work, but it’s difficult to recommend anything but Peter Wimmer’s excellent Stereoscopic Player. It offers flawless support of 3D DLPs. There is a rumor (backed up with a registry hack to prove it) that the nVidia Vista drivers (yeah, we know) will soon support 3D DLP displays for gaming. The only official 3D DLP gaming option is the TriDef driver (www.tridef.com) which currently supports 19 games on PCs running either XP or Vista and sporting modern nVidia or ATI graphics cards. TriDef also offers a bundle with shutterglasses specifically for 3D DLPs. Presumably, this bundle is more user friendly than trying to cobble together your own system.
For Mac users, we can only hint that there is a player in the works... and it works. 3D DLPs can absolutely serve as stereoscopic video production displays and NLE integration is on the horizon. As for Mac gaming… no smoke signals here… nada.
The most amazing thing about Samsung (or Mitsi for that matter) 3D DLPs is that you can pick’em up at any mass merchant electronics retailer (e.g. Best Buy, Circuit City…). Don’t expect the staff at you neighborhood big-box store to have a clue about 3D, however. They won’t. This may change later this fall when Mitsubishi tours it’s new line of laser-based Laservue 3D DLPs. They are expected to provide in-store demonstrations of 3D functionality. It is conceivable that, in less than a year, you’ll be able to drop by Best Buy and pick up a 3D DLP set w/ glasses, a 3D BluRay player and a 3D flick. Only question left is, which movie will do for stereo 3D what “Top Gun” did for surround sound? U2 concert in your living room, any one?
There are a number of great Samsung and Mitsubishi 3D DLP models to choose from. Our test-bed 61”Samsung HL-T6187S streets for about $1500. A few of the Samsung sets, including the HL-T6187S, use LEDs as the light source. The LEDs are supposed to last the life of the TV (over 60,000 hours), as opposed to lamps that fade and burn out over time. If your budget will bear it… bigger in 3D is ALWAYS better. One final buying tip – Mitsubishi’s soon-to-be-released Laservue 3D DLPs are said to be the penultimate in this class of display. Just supporting passive glasses is a major selling point, in our humble opinion... and, of course, that they use frickin’ lazer beams. Stay tuned for our review.
|10||Ghosting (lack of)|
|9||Viewing Sweet Spot|
|5||Platform Support (will be 9 when Mac solution is available)|