What is the Difference Between 3D and 3D Ready Projector?

What is the difference between 3D and 3D-ready projectors? A 3D projector actually uses technology that puts different images into each eye to simulate a stereoscopic view of a 3D object. A 3D-ready projector supports certain 3D tech.

The market is filled with 3D projectors. There are actually two types of 3D projectors—the 3D ready projector and the 3D projector. Each one works in accordance to their ability. Although 3D can be confusing to deal with projection-wise, it’s a worthwhile effect when it works.

When it comes to searching for what’s compatible with the 3D format you need, you should make sure to read the specs, inform yourself of the different technologies, and ask experts for advice. Also, here’s the deal.

What is the Difference Between 3D and 3D Ready Projectors?

 A 3D ready or 3D-ready projector supports one of these four technologies—checkerboard, side-by-side, frame packing, or frame sequential. A 3D ready projector can accept and projector stereoscopic 3D transmission content.

However, it can’t show 3D content from set boxes and other 3D-capable devices. With a 3D-ready projector, you’re limited to what you can get to enjoy. In contrast, true 3D projectors are capable of dealing with various 3D transmission formats.

Regardless of the type of format your media player, PC, game console, or cable box has, it can handle all of them and work excellently with them regardless of whether the video deals with side-by-side, frame sequential, checkerboard, or frame packing.

What is the Difference Between 3D and 3D Ready Projector?
What is the Difference Between 3D and 3D Ready Projectors?

What Sort of Format Does a True 3D Projector Work with?

A true 3D projector can handle all sorts of 3D formats or at least work well with them. A 3D-ready projector can only deal with a certain format that you should read about or double-check to match it up with the right video, Blu-Ray disc, movie, or media source.

This isn’t the case with a 3D projector that covers practically everything. It could adapt to resolution-halving formats or formats that use 120 hertz of fast-frame changes in order to simulate 3D stereoscopic depth.

This also means that the 3D projector type that isn’t just 3D ready can project media from any device without format and compatibility hindrances. Naturally, this universal aspect of a 3D projector makes them more expensive than its 3D-ready counterpart.

What’s the Point of 3D-Ready Projectors since 3D Projectors are Superior?

3D projectors are renowned for their ability to project 3D media from any devices without compatibility issues since they cover all 3D formats in existence so far. They can also work with formats like Blu-Ray 3D and HDMI 1.4 in terms of 3D content.

This begs the question—what’s the point of buying a 3D-ready projector when 3D projectors exist? For one thing, 3D-ready is more affordable. In some projectors, it’s seems like an afterthought feature included to sell the unit while it emphasizes resolution or brightness more.

How to Find the Best 3D-Ready Projector Out There

When using a 3D-ready projector, you yourself have to be ready to read up on which supposed 3D format it uses so that you can match it up with the right media, like how a videogame 3D only supports checkerboard while others use frame packed.

A rule of thumb when buying a 3D-ready projector is to get one that uses side-by-side 3D. The vast majority of shows, videogames, and movies go with side-by-side despite its resolution-robbing 3D tactics.

What’s 3D Projection Anyway? How Does It Work?

A 3D projector simulates the appearance of three-dimensional vision on a two-dimensional surface or flat plane. A 2D space such as a projector screen or wall as well as any other projector surface doesn’t really showcase holographic 3D objects with depth.

However, you can trick your eye into thinking you’re looking at something with 3D depth by simply putting two images at different angles on each of your eye, resulting in an image with seeming depth and volume to it despite actually being flat in real life.

How Do 3D Glasses Help with 3D Projection?

3D glasses are important in isolating the imagery so that you end up with a video with seeming depth and volume. Nothing short of the interactivity of a full-blown VR headset can beat out the immersion possible with working 3D glasses that sync-up with the 3D projector.

Active shutter 3D glasses in particular shut one eye and open the other in order to view formats like frame sequential or frame packed 3D. This is in contrast with passive 3D that has you wear 3D glasses with lenses in order to parse out each image on each eye.

What Else Do You Need for 3D Projection?

You primarily need a 3D projector or 3D-ready projector and the right pair of 3D glasses in order to view a 3D projection. The screen isn’t as important but as a rule of thumb you should get an extra-reflective or even ALR projection screen with loads of gain to compensate for 3D-induced darkness.

3D content tends to become darker compared to non-3D data, thus you need to have an extra-bright or luminous projector and a reflective projection screen to compensate for this tendency for dullness. Furthermore, it should comply with the HDMI 1.4 specification and above.

Some non-HDMI 1.4 projectors support 3D transmissions but to err on the side of caution, go with at least 1.4 and above.

What to Expect from the Different 3D Formats

Many 3D ready projectors work with frame sequential or frame sequence transmission. This means they can’t parse 3D videos using other 3D transmission formats like side-by-side, frame packed, and checkerboard.

Check the specs of your 3D-ready projector to get the ones supporting these specific formats. Most people think 3D-ready is a scam because they use the wrong format of 3D on the projector, resulting in a not-so-3D muddy mess.

It’s essential to stick with, for example, a frame sequential 3D-ready projector in order to project a frame sequence signal with a full resolution image projected at 12- frames per second. The most affordable DLP projectors tend to go with frame sequential 3D.

Last Points to Ponder

Even though 3D is a confusing subject for even the experience projector watcher, it’s one of the best inventions around next to the concept of projecting moving pictures on the big screen to accommodate a large auditorium audience.

Review both your 3D-ready projector and 3D projector options before making a prospective purchase. Sometimes, it’s better to go with 3D-ready if most of the media you’ll be consuming is of the side-by-side format. If you want to capture all 3D content, 3D projectors are your best bet.


  1. Ruby Vivian, “What Is The Difference Between 3D and 3D Ready Projector?“, ProjectorSlab.com, November 5, 2020

James Core

I love my projector system and I am here to help you find the right projector for your needs.

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