The newest 3D projectors, by top brands like JVC, LG and Sony, have come a long way since the earliest days of the technology. 3D projectors are now viable alternatives to other 3D technology, and they can play an important role in sophisticated and diverse home theater systems. There are many choices on the market now, and that brings with it many difficult decisions. One of the most challenging is deciding between active and passive.
The active 3D versus passive 3D discussion is a polarizing one— pun intended. There was a time when it was much simpler when it came to 3D projectors because active was the only option. That isn’t the case with the newest devices on the market. The major advantage of passive 3D projectors is they require inexpensive glasses, the kind movie theaters hand out. Active systems, however, require expensive active shutter glasses with independent power sources, generally batteries inserted into the glasses.
The big disadvantage of a passive system is it requires a specialized 3D projection screen. The active systems can use any screen, or any surface, that is usable by any other projection system, 3D or otherwise. Usually, passive has the advantage of being cheaper overall, but this isn’t necessarily the case when it comes to projectors. However, if you need to purchase more than two sets of active shutter glasses, then the passive systems start to be much more affordable, just as they are with televisions.
The other important aspect to consider when choosing between active and passive 3D projectors is brightness. A 3D system is likely half as bright as a similar non-3D unit is, so you have to compensate for this brightness. With an active system, the consumer achieves this compensation entirely through the projection unit itself. With a passive system, the screen is also a source of light, and the lumens value of the screen is a very important factor.
When it comes to projectors, passive technology still has a ways to go, but it will make up much of that ground in the coming year. Meanwhile, the active systems are still more accessible. Each viewing environment is different, however, and a passive system might be the best fit for your environment in addition to being less expensive. The best advice we give you is to sample the field extensively before making a decision.