3D Projectors

I'm in the market for a 3D projector, and I'm considering the Sony VPL-VW90ES, JVC DLA-X9, Sharp XV-Z17000, Mitsubishi HC9000, and Samsung SP-A8000. Which would you recommend? Can I use the Samsung 3D glasses with all of them, or would I have to purchase the same brand?

Jim Morige

We haven't reviewed the JVC DLA-X9, but Tom Norton reviewed the Sony VW90ES (pictured above) in the May 2011 issue of Home Theater, which also includes a review of the DLA-X3 by Kris Deering and the DLA-X7 by Shane Buettner. Also, Tom is working on the Sharp XV-Z17000 for the August issue, and he has used the X3 for several weeks. Of the three Tom has worked with directly, he likes the Sony best, though the JVC is pretty close. He reports that the Sharp is more limited in its controls, but he hasn't calibrated it yet.

We haven't seen the Mitsubishi or Samsung except at trade shows. Under those less-than-ideal conditions, the Mitsubishi looked very dim with lots of artifacts, but that could have been a prototype issue. The Samsung looked very good, but according to the company's PR agency, it is not scheduled to be released in the US. In my view, it's a toss-up between the Sony and JVC, with the Sony getting a slight edge from Tom.

As for the glasses, you need to buy glasses of the same brand as the projector—active-shutter glasses are not cross-compatible between brands. This is among the most deplorable aspects of 3D in the home—why manufacturers couldn't come up with a standard for active-glasses synchronization is quite beyond me. The CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) is working on developing a standard, and there are some "universal" glasses on the market from Xpand and Monster, but this should have been settled before 3D displays for home use were introduced.

If you have an A/V question, please send it to askscottwilkinson@gmail.com.