3D TV vs. 3D Projector: Which Is Better?

You’d think that old-timey red and blue 3D movies would be a thing of the past and there’s no way 3D movies would work in the future, but the future is now and yes, they do. They were making full-color 3D films all the way to the 1980s with Jaws 3D, for example.

Although primitive, the gimmick remained prevalent. Then James Cameron made Avatar, which is in full 3D itself and became the highest-grossing film of all time up until Avengers: Endgame took over its spot.

With that said, thanks to the advent of 3D TV and 3D projectors, it’s now possible to bring home the excitement of 3D viewing. Are 3D projectors worth it? Sure. But how do they compare to 3D TV? That’s what we’re about to discuss.

3D Projector
3D Projector

Comparison Chart

Types of DisplayProsCons
3D Projector (Passive 3D)Its screen size is bigger than HDTV so the 3D is more readily obvious.

It’s less expensive than 3D TV pound for pound or inch for inch, whether active or passive 3D.

It’s the most cost-effective device of the bunch.

The glasses don’t need to sync with the device.

There’s less crosstalk compared to Active 3D devices.

Projectors use up more wattage compared to HDTVs.

Passive 3D reduces the resolution by half to produce its 3D effects.

3DTV (Passive 3D)HDTVs use up less wattage compared to projectors.

The glasses don’t need to sync with the device.

There’s less crosstalk compared to Active 3D devices.

It has a smaller screen so the 3D is less obvious.

Passive 3D reduces the resolution by half to produce its 3D effects.

3D Projector (Active 3D)Its screen size is bigger than HDTV so the 3D is more readily obvious.

It’s less expensive than 3D TV pound for pound or inch for inch, whether active or passive 3D.

It’s the second most cost-effective device of the bunch.

The resolution remains the same so quality isn’t sacrificed to achieve 3D effects.

Each eye gets the full image of the intended resolution. You’re seeing the full-screen resolution independently with each eye.

Projectors use up more wattage compared to HDTVs.

Active 3D needs to synch with the device to work.

More crosstalk compared to Passive 3D devices.

 

3DTV (Active 3D)HDTVs use up less wattage compared to projectors.

The resolution remains the same so quality isn’t sacrificed to achieve 3D effects.

Each eye gets the full image of the intended resolution. You’re seeing the full-screen resolution independently with each eye.

It has a smaller screen so the 3D is less obvious.

Active 3D needs to synch with the device to work.

More crosstalk compared to Passive 3D devices.

 

Content: 3D TV vs. 3D Projector

Ostensibly, the 3D projector delivers bigger images so that you can enjoy 3D viewing in the big screen, with more than a couple of caveats when it comes to resolution, brightness, and ambient light.

The more filters and the higher the resolution of the projected image, the more susceptible it becomes to ambient light, so there’s a need for curtains and blinds to ensure a darker home cinema room.

3D Projectors Have Been Around Longer

3D movies influenced the creation of 3D TV and the 3D projector. The cinema version of 3D projectors brought back the 3D glasses in commercial cinema, for sure. With that said, this resulted in the creation of 3D home projectors you can use in your home cinema.

The 3D TV followed suit, using the same two technologies to combine immersive audio (ATMOS or DTS) with immersive viewing. Is it worth the extra money? Well, it’s a luxury for sure but by all indications, 3D might be a passing fad.

3D Is Dead, Right?

Many 4K Blu-Ray discs lack support for 3D. The amount of 3D TVs available in the rest of the world can be counted with one hand while no TV released in 2019 onwards in the U.S. offers 3D.

However, if you’re interested in getting secondhand 3D projectors or 3D TV sets, keep on reading. We’ll tell you what to expect from them and how many movies in 3D they support in Full HD Blu-Ray (mostly something like Avatar). Both the 3D TV and the 3D projector use either active or passive 3D.

3D TV vs. 3D Projectors

3D projectors cost less compared to their 3D TV counterparts mostly because of possible screen size (a projector can have bigger screen sizes for cheaper prices). They use the same technologies for 3D, they come with or without glasses, and so forth.

The main advantage of 3D in projectors aside from screen size and price is the fact that the 3D feature is included in many a model out there. You can turn it on and off for regular and 3D viewing. 3D TVs are more focused on being 3D. It’s like how a laptop is more expensive than a desktop despite having the same specs—you’re paying for convenience.

3D TV
3D TV

Active vs. Passive 3D

Both the 3D projector and 3D TV use either active or passive 3D. Active 3D offers fuller resolution and requires glasses to work. They shine the stereoscopic image one after another for each eye to catch, which should then by the persistence of vision give you a fully 3D image with depth and volume.

Passive 3D, in contrast, merges the two stereoscopic images to get the same effect. Due to the nature of the techniques, you’ll need more expensive shutter glasses to see the 3D effects of active 3D when compared to the converged images technique of passive 3D.

Pros and Cons of Active vs. Passive 3D

First and foremost, both have issues with certain people who just can’t see 3D and get a headache when attempting to view anything 3D. Those customers are out of their reach from the get-go. Secondly, most prefer passive 3D over active 3D due to how much cheaper the latter’s glasses are compared to the shutter-powered former.

Passive 3D also cuts the resolution of what you’re watching in half, leading to blurrier or muddier images. However, the appeal of getting cheaper glasses and dealing with less crosstalk cannot be denied.

The Principle of All 3D Images

All 3D images work with one principle, including the ones we see in real-time with our own eyes that are actually 3D—each eye sees a different angle of the picture to create a whole 3D picture.

By seeing a slightly different picture on each eye, we stereoscopic humans will tend to interpret even flat pictures as fully 3D or having a third dimension through such a technique. Active and passive 3D techniques use the same principle to blend two pictures from different perspectives together.

How Does This Relate to 3DTV vs. 3D Projectors?

A 3D projector is cheaper in terms of screen size but weaker in terms of resolution capabilities (an HDTV can go even higher than 4K). The bigger screen gives projectors a huge appeal but many consumers don’t like having to set up their projector or drawing down the blinds just to watch a movie.

A 3DTV also lasts longer than a 3D projector because the former doesn’t have to worry about lamp life as much. In turn, there’s less crosstalk with passive 3D and there’s less need to synchronize your glasses with the TV or projector compared to active 3D.

3D Projectors are Simply Better

Aside from more screen real estate, 3D projectors work better in expressing the 3D effect exactly because their images can be projected at large screens up to 100 inches or more in size. 3D viewing is all about getting close to reality as possible just short of the immersive nature of virtual reality (VR).

Smaller screens make the 3D effect less obvious to your eyes compared to the up-close views of a VR headset and the huge views of a projector. The wider screen also fills out your field of view more, resulting in more realistically 3D images when push comes to shove.

3DTV Ain’t So Shabby Either

The extra expensiveness of 3DTV comes with specific perks, like less prep time required to watch it (just turn it on) compared to a projector, the longer hours of watch time possible, and longevity of the device itself, and how it can approach the largeness of projectors while beating it out in terms of resolution (8K to 10K HDTVs do exist while projectors are limited to 4K).

You can bring costs down for 3DTV by going the passive 3D route that doesn’t require glasses synchronization to work. Sure, the black horizontal lines can disturb the eyes but most people are used to them thanks to the CRT era of television.

Videos

Summary

Is 3D worth it or not? Sure, but if you can’t afford it and you have budget priorities, you obviously can’t get a 3D projector, much less the rarer and more unavailable 3DTV. If you have enough disposable income for such a display service, you should end up with something almost as immersive as a VR headset.

This is especially true when combined with DTS:X or ATMOS for the audio. You will really feel like you’re there. Just remember that you have two types of 3D to choose from. You can get converged passive 3D that requires cheaper glasses and active shutter 3D that use more expensive glasses.

References:

  1. 3D TV vs. 3D projector?“, Good3Projector.com, Retrieved February 28, 2021
  2. Cedric Demers, “3D TVs – Active 3D vs Passive 3D“, RTINGS.com, July 7, 2017
James Core
I write dozens of helpful informational articles based on topics that I have identified again and again throughout my research and work experience. I am here to help you find the right projector.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *