This Minute at Runco
With the recent influx of blog posts and articles discussing the topic of "3D - Fad or No Fad," including recent posts by Brian Barrett of Gizmodo, AV Professional John Sciacca, Joel Rollins of rAVe Publications, and Arlen Schweiger of Electronic House, it now appears that the debate over the legitimacy of the latest 3D technologies has grown as popular as the 3D technologies themselves, with the following concerns often hitting the top of the list:
Lowest Common Denominator 3D
We know (in part because of our parent company’s (Planar) ground-breaking work in 3D metrology and professional stereoscopic applications) that there are ways to consistently deliver more compelling and comfortable 3D than some of the 'lowest common denominator' big box solutions currently available. We spent significant R&D investment and a great deal of dealer and client education into the development of Runco's proprietary CSV™ (Constant Stereoscopic Video) architecture for our 3Dimension Series D-73d Projector. As a result, the D-73d has received rave industry reviews and awards, including the Electronic Lifestyles award at CEDIA for "2010 Video Product of the Year," the 2010 CE Pro Best Award, and recently the 2011 Electronic House Product of the Year Award.
A Lack of Quality 3D Content
We believe that striving for “3D done right” is worth the effort. If the manufacturers and content producers do the work ahead of time, then the audience doesn’t have to do the work themselves in order to watch compelling 3D. Fortunately, many television networks and production companies have already stepped up to the plate, providing 3D sports and entertainment programming, as well as a variety of new movie titles. We believe this trend will continue as more standards are put in place to better define quality 3D that engages viewers and encourages them to make an investment in 3D for the home.
Toxic 3D's Ill Effects
To do 3D right requires an understanding of the physiology of stereopsis and the development of an integrated system that works with it, not against it. The ill effects that are caused by bad 3D are preventable. As discussed in our blog post: Toxic 3D, the headaches, nausea, dizziness and eye fatigue that often accompany 3D viewing on popular 3D TVs or 3D projectors are due to poorly executed 3D, often using an active shutter technology coupled with low brightness, ghosting, juttering, and heavy glasses, which cause a variety of ill effects that detract from the 3D experience.
Runco CSV significantly reduces these effects by using a superior approach to 3D visualization that enables seamless decoding, syncing and merging of stereo images, which delivers a constant HD image to each eye without the flicker, distortion, or discomfort inherent in other approaches. Runco CSV also utilizes a unique PreciseLight™ passive-glasses technology, which is proven to be superior for the viewer and is usually only available in the finest public theaters.
Not Everyone Can View 3D
As we mentioned in our previous open response to the rAVe Publications post: "A Contrarian's View of the 3-D Craze," we must not forget that virtual 3D is an optical illusion. Just like any magic show, it might not be possible to fool every eye all the time, but there are best practices and proven approaches that trick your brain into seeing depth that isn’t really there. Those products and approaches are worthy of the market enthusiasm.
We encourage anyone considering 3D for the home to download our 3D Enthusiast's Guide, which explores the eight most important requirements for high-quality 3D in the home and equips enthusiasts to judge for themselves the quality of commercial offerings. Runco's 3D Projector Guide also provides in-depth recommendations for 3D projection in the home, from room design parameters to lifestyle and content considerations.
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#1: The Big Screen Experience
Home theater enthusiasts have known for decades how impressive front projection entertainment systems can be. They are the dominant technology in commercial cinemas for good reasons and many of these translate into residential applications.
So, why consider projection for your home?
The first benefit is that you can create a big screen experience at home. While plasma displays top out at around 150” and single LCD TVs over 70” are rare, projection systems are virtually unlimited in size and at a lower cost per square foot of display. You can create screens measured not in inches diagonal, but in feet or meters wide, which translates into more compelling entertainment.
#2: Design Flexibility
The second reason to consider front projection in the home is that it fits your lifestyle and blends seamlessly with your décor. You can hide the electronics away and with a touch of a button bring a home theater to life, without having to leave the room.
There is also no thinner flat panel display than a front projection screen. Projectors are available in a wide range of sizes, industrial design styles, and personalization that allow the product to be customized to the homeowner’s personality and passions.
#3: Unmatched Image Performance
From color performance to black levels, in the right environment, projection dominates.Plus, you are not limited to a fixed aspect ratio of 16:9 high definition (which is a 1.781 aspect ratio). You can watch CinemaScope2.35:1 content without black bars using Runco’s CineWide® and CineGlide™ technology.
#4: 3D Done Right
The market excitement around 3D in the home is palpable and there is no better way to watch 3D than with projection. The big screen experience is more immersive and it enables Runco’s Constant Stereoscopic Video™ (CSV) with battery-free passive glasses for the best-in-class 3D performance.
#5: Energy Efficiency
Using power-consumption-per-square-inch calculations, projectors use a fraction of the energy of large flat panel displays. This is especially true of Runco’s InfiniLight™ lamplessLED illumination (available on the QuantumColor™ series and the 3Dimension™ D-73d).
Why doesn’t everyone have a theater?
First off, projection is seen as relatively complicated (as opposed to a buy-and-hang flat panel display, which is often a do-it-yourself project for the homeowner). This leads to people believing it to be wildly expensive, overly complex, or not even considering it as a possibility at all.
The second reason is people associate projectors with dark, cave-like rooms that can only be used for movie watching. Sometimes space, room size, or ceiling height limitations can make homeowners believe that projection will never work for them.
Once the homeowner considers projection, then the real work begins of making it work for their room.
Projection only works when the light on the screen is brighter than the brightness of the room. In other words, the “blackest” blacks of the scenes you show, will only be as dark as the screen before you turn on the projector and in many bright rooms that is simply not dark enough for acceptable viewing. Make no mistake, projection is not the best solution for every room.
Outsmarting the Sun
While the industry standards for theater brightness call for approximately 14 foot lamberts (fL) of luminance off the screen, the sun delivers a whopping 10,000 fL!
One of the ways to beat the sun and create incredible visual experiences in the home is with a flex-theater. When you can’t dedicate the space or the budget for a dedicated home theater, a flexible design that accommodates multiple uses of a single space can be a perfect compromise. A projection system combined with modular furniture and lighting control can transform a living room into a theater back into an entertainment space with a simple tap on a touchscreen.
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By Jennifer Davis
In response to the blog post by Dawn Meade with rAVe Publications on "A Contrarian's View of the 3-D Craze":
Dawn, I applaud your willingness to be a voice of a reason in a world gone mad for 3D! I, too, was a debater and orator and know the importance of sorting truly persuasive facts from hype. It was this same thought that caused us to think long and hard before developing and launching a 3D projection system for the home. Runco is a manufacturer of high-end visualization systems and a pioneer in home theater and we couldn’t risk our reputation on chasing a fad.
However, we knew (in part because of our parent company’s (Planar) ground-breaking work in 3D metrology and professional stereoscopic applications) that there were ways to consistently deliver more compelling and comfortable 3D. But it isn’t easy. It requires a commitment to not chase “lowest common denominator” 3D solutions. It has required significant R&D investment and a great deal of dealer and client education. However, we believed that striving for “3D done right” was worth the effort.
To do it right required an understanding of the physiology of stereopsis and the development of an integrated system that works with it, not against it. The ill effects (literally “ill”) that are caused by bad 3D are preventable. And our solution delivers both a compelling 2D experience, as well as 3D to allow maximum flexibility.
Throughout the debate, we must not forget that virtual 3D is an optical illusion. Just like any magic show, it might not be possible to fool every eye all the time, but there are best practices and proven approaches that trick your brain into seeing depth that isn’t really there. Those products and approaches are worthy of the market enthusiasm.
For more information on how to evaluate good 3D, including an introduction to 3D in the home and important evaluation criteria, download a copy of Runco's guide to stereoscopic video.
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