3D goes business - innovations from Sanyo and Panasonic

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3D goes business - innovations from Sanyo and Panasonic

Both Panasonic and Sanyo launched 3D projector solutions in Sydney this week, at Integrate 2010. But what does 3D actually have to offer business - and more importantly, is it worth it?

It may be hard initially to imagine the appeal of 3D for business. But it adds a degree of flexibility to a standard projector setup.

For real estate agents wanting to give clients a tour of a property, to design firms, architects and planners, we can see the benefits as wide-ranging, if niche. And Sanyo's new range, in particular, is affordable if you're considering 3D.

The technology

When it comes to 3D the technologies vary, but most manufacturers opt for frame-sequential, where the left and right eye get different frames, alternating so that one frame goes to the left eye and the next to the right eye.

The other option used, though far less commonly, is side-by-side, where half the frame is for the left eye, and half for the right.

Frame packing, where each eye receives a full, different frame, simultaneously, is part of the HDMI 1.4 specification, but is not widely used yet.

Panasonic's 3D projector uses side-by-side technology, while Sanyo's uses frame sequential, so we were interested to see how they compared. We should be clear that we're definitely comparing apples with oranges here: the two are leagues apart in their aims and design.

Sanyo's ultra-short-throw range
Sanyo's new projectors are designed to eliminate the projector lamp glare all too familiar to those of us who have presented in front of a standard model.

The PDG-DWL2500 and PDG-DXL2000 (the 2500 lumen widescreen and 2000 lumen 4:3 version, respectively) use mirrors to enable an ultra-short-throw, perfect to avoid getting projector glare while using them.

The DWL2500 is able to project an 80in image at a distance of only 32cm - so you can mount it to a wall directly above a whiteboard or screen, as well as project images onto a floor or even a tabletop.

Both are DLP printers -for dust resistance and longer life - and feature 10W loudspeaker, as well as audio outputs. Both have Ethernet for remote management.

It's hard to judge on a trade show floor, but the Sanyo 3D images were a little dark, especially compared to the regular brightness, because of the alternating frame technology.

The obvious application is education, but Sanyo admits that they expect interest from businesses, too.

The DWL2500 is $2999, the DXL2000 is $2499, both are available in September.

The DWL2500 in action at Integrate 2010
The DWL2500 in action at Integrate 2010

Panasonic's large scale 3D
Panasonic demonstrated its 3D projection solution at Integrate 2010. The technology uses two PT-DZ6710E projectors, stacked on top of each other, in order to display 3D content.

For Panasonic's side-by-side projection system, the $30799 price tag per projector puts it out of the range of most, and it's aimed at museums, galleries, and conventions. But the practicality of being able to use disposable glasses makes it appealing for those purposes. The images were clear and bright, too, at 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution.

3D for business
The limiting factor for business becomes cost-effectiveness. Will you get enough use out of 3D to justify the additional money?

For Sanyo's frame sequential technology, you need only add a laptop or PC with Nvidia's 3D Vision (around $250) to project 3D. Viewing 3D, on the other hand, takes specialised glasses, and those don't come especially cheap, at a minimum of around $70.

The investment of money into the viewing technology may cost more than the benefits it delivers at this stage. Imagine stocking your boardroom with enough sets, and keeping the batteries charged. Still, a 15-person setup would cost under $5000.

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