Optoma UK

Insight, commentary and discussions on the AV and projection industry, with the odd ‘how to’ article thrown in for good measure

How 3D glasses work

When considering a purchase of a 3D TV or Projector, people often neglect to research what type of 3D technology their prospective purchase uses.

Here at Optoma we thought we’d break-down the two 3D glasses technologies available and give you a run-down on what each technology is called and what they do to produce a 3D image.

3D glasses work by displaying a different image to each eye. Our brain then merges each image into one, but with 3D characteristics. This, in turn, “dupes” our brains into thinking that it is seeing an image in 3D, so it creates an image with depth for you.

3D-enabled TVs and projectors work by receiving a 3D signal that gets encoded and sent in a few different ways. The TV or projector has a decoder that takes the 3D signal and shows the left and right eye information as one image that looks slightly blurry when viewed without 3D glasses. The image is an overlapped image of the left and right eye signal. When you wear the appropriate glasses, they separate each image to the corresponding eye to deliver a 3D image.

 

Types of 3D Glasses

There are two types of 3D glasses – Passive Polarized & Active Shutter. Both achieve their 3D visuals in a different way.

Passive Polarized glasses look a lot like sunglasses, not unlike what you get when you visit the movies. They are lightweight and have ample space to accommodate normal glasses underneath if the viewer requires them.

The TV or projector has a special filter that polarizes each line of pixels. This filter makes the odd lines on the screen only visible to the left eye, and the even lines only visible to the right. Your brain then interprets the image as a 3D image. Without the glasses, the image looks normal. One caveat to this system is that the image is not full 1080p as it halves the amount of pixels visible.

Active Shutter glasses use batteries and a transmitter that syncs with the rapidly moving shutters for each eye with the on-screen display.

The 3D image resolution is the same as the 2D image displayed on the same screen. This is because the left and right eye images are shown in sequence rather than at the same time. The 3D glasses sync with the TV or projectors refresh rate to sequence the images that produce a 3D image to the viewer.

 

Optoma 3D Glasses

All of the projectors we produce at Optoma are active 3D. They can however be converted to passive 3D if required with the use of a silver screen and a passive 3D filter.

At Optoma, we manufacture two different types of Active 3D glasses:

ZD302 – These glassed incorporate DLP Link™ technology which use line of sight to the screen to produce a 3D image. If you look away and then back to the screen, the glasses will display a very slight stutter as they re-sync with the projector.

ZF2300 – These 3D glasses use RF (Radio Frequency) technology to sync with the projector. RF synchronization eliminates any potential sync issues and many glasses can be paired to the same projector. As these glasses need an RF emitter to function you will need a “ZF2300 starter kit” that includes an emitter and a pair of glasses.

How to create an outdoor cinema in your garden

With the summer festival season upon us, it is a great time to have an outdoor cinema in your garden.

Many of the major music festivals such as Glastonbury, Reading and Proms in the Park are televised.  So, with a super-size screen and a projector, you could bring the festival feel to your garden.

Or you could screen the latest blockbusters and create your own film festival with friends and family.

So what do you need?

If you are looking to use the projector to mainly watch DVDs or Blu-Rays® you would probably choose a high definition, high resolution 1080p projector with HDMI input.  You will need the projector to be fairly bright.  Home entertainment projectors are suitable for use with some ambient light so would be ideal for a garden cinema set-up.

You will obviously need sound for your film or music festival.  This can be from the projector’s built-in speaker or by connecting the projector to your external speakers.  You will need to check your chosen projector has Audio Out.

And you will need a screen. You can be creative and use a sheet stretched over goalposts or the washing line, project straight onto the house (if it is light-coloured) or you could get a pull-up screen.

It is really easy to simply plug and play with an Optoma projector.  You can connect any of your devices straight into the projector including your DVD player, set top box or streaming devices such as Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, Roku or Apple TV. Check the projector has the necessary input port for the source device with which you wish to connect.

You can leave your source device (such as your DVD player) in the living room and connect a wireless device, such as the WHD200. This allows you to stream Full HD 1080p content direct to your projector wirelessly.  This cuts out messy cables and means you can leave your DVD player connected in the living room. 

Our great garden cinema guide has some brilliant ideas for setting up your own outdoor cinema including seating, screens and BBQ recipes.  You can even win £250 High Street Vouchers when you send us a picture of your own garden cinema.


Projector technology now has greater connectivity than ever


Projectors have progressed so much since the distant days of dusty acetate sheets on OHPs.  They now have the technology to display from the latest devices and can project a super-sized 100-inch picture on a screen or wall from just a metre away.

As well as computers, set top boxes, Blu-Ray and DVD players, you can now project straight from mobile phones and tablets, stream content from Roku, Apple TV and Google Chromecast, share photographs and video directly from cameras and camcorders, present straight from a USB stick and connect to the latest games consoles.

But it is not just the connectivity that has improved, they are designed to simply plug and play – dispelling the myth that projectors are difficult to set up.

When choosing a projector, you should look at which devices you would like to connect it with.

Multiple HDMI ports make it easy to switch between sources at the touch of a button.

MHL allows a projector to be turned it into a smart display by connecting a smartphone or tablet with a single cable to play games, stream videos and share photos on the big screen.

USB Plug and Play allows presentations to be viewed straight from a USB stick.

Most projectors have optional wireless.  This uses a WiFi dongle to allow you to connect and display presentation materials wirelessly from a laptop, PC or Mac and mobile device.

Full 3D projectors can display true 3D content from 3D Blu-Ray players, 3D broadcasting and the latest generation games consoles.

Many Optoma projectors have powerful built-in speakers which save you the cost and time of installing external speakers.  But you still have the option of connecting to external sound systems through the audio output if you want the cinema quality surround sound.

The projector is not just for offices and schools.  You can get a super-size screen at home to play action-packed games or watch TV shows, live sports and movies.  And with the short throw option allowing you to place the projector so close to the screen, it is suitable for small or large rooms.


Non-genuine lamp modules are a fire risk


A few months ago, Optoma issued a warning for customers to be vigilant against non-genuine lamps.  Since then we have had a few more reports of these lamps and our technical team has seen how potentially catastrophic the consequences of these could be.

Buying a lamp can be confusing as there are a number of companies claiming to sell genuine original lamps.  These companies base their claim to be “genuine original” based on the logic that the light bulb alone is the same as in an Optoma lamp module.

However, a lamp module is made up of two parts – the bulb and the bulb holder. It is important to ensure that both the bulb and bulb holder are Optoma originals.  The bulb holder is the key to performance and safety.

We have observed the damage caused to projectors which have been fitted with non-genuine lamp modules, even those with “original” bulbs.  This includes internal lenses that have melted due to incorrectly fitted UV filters, some of which have shown to have substandard coating within the non-genuine lamps modules. This substandard coating allows UV rays to enter the optical engine and DMD Chip, burning the optics (pictured above).

The technical team also found internal cables to be of poor quality and an incorrect length.  Having wiring too tight could cause a hot spot within the lamp housing and would be a fire risk.

Another concern with non-genuine lamp modules is the material used for the rubber shield at the rear of the lamp modules. Testing shows these modules could not only do irreparable damage to the projector, but could also potentially cause a fire in the office or home.

The non-Optoma lamp modules may be cheaper in some cases but this is often due to cheaper components that have not been rigorously tested inside the projectors.

We strongly recommend that customers fit only Optoma lamp modules into Optoma projectors and check that they have a genuine lamp module. Lamp modules supplied by Optoma and its authorised distributors are designed and tested to work specifically with its projectors, ensuring the highest quality performance and longevity.

Customers can check that lamp modules are genuine by visiting www.optoma.co.uk/lampgenuinecheck.aspx 
Alternatively, you can email the UK-based customer service helpline on [email protected] or telephone 01923 691 865.

All genuine Optoma lamp modules carry a tamper resistant sticker (see below). If your lamp module packaging does not carry this sticker, or the seal is broken or damaged, it may be a fake.



Another thing to consider is that repairs resulting from damage caused by a non-genuine copy lamp module would not be covered under the projector’s warranty.

Further testing will continue.

How to choose the right projector

One of the most common questions we get asked here at Optoma is ‘how do I know which is the best projector for me?’

Buying a projector can be a confusing business with its own world of jargon and acronyms* but the key is to ask yourself the right questions.
 
How will you use your projector?
Is it mostly for showing presentations and slide shows, watching films or playing games? Would you like to watch 3D?

This will help you to identify what native resolution you require and the ports/connections and accessories you will need.  

Native resolution is simply the number of pixels in an image.  The higher the number of pixels, the greater the resolution and the better the image quality will be. Projectors have the following native resolutions: SVGA (800 pixels high x 600 pixels wide), XGA (1024x768), WXGA (1280x800) and 1080p (1920x1080).

So, if you are looking to use the projector to mainly watch DVDs or Blu-Rays® you would probably chose a high definition, high resolution 1080p projector with HDMI input.  If you need the projector for business presentations, you might choose a more basic SVGA projector.  

How big is the screen/image that will need to be projected and what is its aspect ratio?
The bigger the screen, the higher the native resolution you will need. Aspect ratio is the ratio of image width to image height. This could be widescreen (aspect ratio either 16:9 or 16:10) or more square, like old-style televisions (aspect ratio 4:3).
•    SVGA and XGA projectors have a 4:3 aspect ratio
•    1080p projectors have a 16:9 aspect ratio
•    WXGA projectors have a 16:10 aspect ratio

How far from the screen would you like to install the projector?
If the projector is to be permanently sited you will need to calculate the throw ratio to ensure the projected image fills your screen. A projector's throw ratio is defined as the distance that a projector is placed from the screen divided by the width of the image it will project.  If you know the screen size but are unsure how far back to site the projector, you can use the given throw ratio to calculate where the projector needs to be installed.

Optoma’s short throw projectors can be installed very close to the screen.  Its mobile, desktop and home entertainment projectors must be sited further back.  We have a distance calculator on our website that will help.

How bright is the room where will the projector be used?
Can the lights be turned down/blinds shut? This will determine the ambient light in the room and how bright the projector needs to be.  The brighter the room, the brighter the projector will need to be.  Brightness is measured in lumens.

And finally, is the projector for home or business?
Home: Consider whether you would like built-in speakers or will you be connecting the projector to external speakers.

For home cinema and gaming you will need a high definition, high resolution projector to ensure the contrast and picture quality is crystal clear.  So, look for a 1080p or WXGA projector.

For gaming, check the projector’s ‘input lag time’ which is the time it takes for the projector to produce an image. Latency in games can be crucial and a few milliseconds can mean the difference between shooting the enemy and being shot. A lower lag time will improve your gaming experience.

Business:
Where will the projector be used? Does it need to be light and portable for off-site meetings or installed in the boardroom?

This will help you to chose between mobile or ultra mobile, desktop or installed projectors.

For basic Powerpoint presentations SVGA and XGA projectors are good all-round cost-effective projectors.  

Boardrooms and larger meeting rooms might need a larger screen and a higher resolution projector – so a WXGA projector may be a good option or if you need greater detail a 1080p projector would be ideal.

For those looking for a projector to install in a much larger space, such as an auditorium or exhibition, a professional AV projector may be what you need, such as Optoma’s ProScene range.

*There is a helpful glossary on our website to help make sense of this world of aspect ratios, lumens and throw ratios.

www.optoma.co.uk

Welcome


Welcome to Optoma UK’s very first blog!

This will be updated regularly with insight, commentary and discussions on issues and events relating to the projection industry.

With articles relating to Pro-AV, home cinema, gaming, education and business, we will showcase new developments, share ideas and stimulate debate around projection technology. We hope the result will be an entertaining, useful blog that will find its way on to your favourites tab.

We may occasionally feature guest blogs to capture some of the thinking from other professionals in the field. Whether it is sharing practical advice, a research update, a great resource or simply an observation, we hope there is something for everyone. Watch this space!

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We would welcome your feedback and input. If you have things you’d like us to talk about in our blog area, please contact us with your suggestions, feedback or questions.