August 15, 2011

3D Myth Busting

A recent magazine article features an old western ‘shootout’ between 3D and 2D projector technology. The article, published on August 1, 2011 in Tech&Learning magazine, highlights two districts and why they chose either 3D technology or 2D technology in their projectors. I was one of the individuals being interviewed. The premise of this article is a good one, but I’d like to correct some persistent inaccuracies, lest they lend themselves to the unfortunate role of myth-building:

"There is a lot more content" for a 2D projector.
"The direct cost of a 2D projector is less than" a 3D unit.
"3D [projectors] need to be kept sterile"
2D— “It’s what you expect in a classroom.”

So in the interest of myth-busting, here’s the truth, unembellished and straight up:

  • All DLP 3D-ready projectors are first and foremost, 2D projectors at the same time. In fact, a 3D projector is used as a 2D projector most of the day—and when you want to see 3D, your software simply tells the projector you are in 3D mode.  
  • Since all DLP 3D-ready projectors are also 2D projectors, they have access to all available content, whether 3D or 2D. The reverse is true for 2D-only projectors—they cannot project 3D content!
  • Our 3D projector cost $520 with 3D. If we had purchased it without 3D built in, it was $520. Do the math.
  • 3D projectors do not need to be kept sterile. Neither do glasses. The word "sterile" is a bit overstated. The recommendations found in the coming See Well, Learn Well report suggest the following common-sense guidelines: "Disinfect the 3D glasses thoroughly after viewings. This is most easily accomplished by using anti-bacterial sprays or wiping down each unit with a single disposable alcohol pad after use." And by the way, kids like the glasses.
  • “2D is what you expect in a classroom.” Over my career, I have been involved in the design and building of nine new schools and over twenty-six major remodeling projects. Over the span of those years, I often heard this kind of statement. It usually referred to such technologies as chalkboards, overhead projectors, analog clocks, VCR players, and CRT monitors. We build for the future, not the past.

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