Did you ever imagine that it is possible to watch a movie in 3D from the comfort of your own home, rather than warming those hard seats in a cinema? Yes, movie lovers would watch longer if they are in the comfort zone. Thanks to expanding technology, it is now more than possible to create a stunning 3D experience from home and spend hours enjoying your favourite movies, whether it is action, documentary, or any other movie type. But how is that possible? To start, you must be in possession of the right equipment/devices capable of playing a 3D movie, which may include such things as a television set, projector, or a computer. What is important is that you will need what is known as 3D glasses. But getting the best 3D experience at home goes way beyond just having the right equipment. For instance, you will need to sit in the best position in order to get the best 3D experience, and your screen has to be optimally set. Now, this is just scratching the surface; we will get deep into the details in the rest of this piece.
What You Need for a 3D Experience at Home
As mentioned above, watching 3D movies at home never happens in a vacuum; you will need to have the necessary equipment. Let’s look at these requirements one by one.
A 3D Screen
Since 3D movies seem to be losing popularity, it may be difficult to find a 3D screen, especially a projector. However, that does not mean that the market is completely out of stock when it comes to these devices. Can’t find a 3D-enabled TV or projector? You may want to purchase a Plasma or OLED television. They usually have 3D settings as one of their features. However, ensure that there is compatibility between your screen and the Blu-Ray player you will be using. Don’t want to use a projector or TV? You can opt for a computer with a 3D-enabled graphics card. This could be the best option, especially if it is a laptop, given that it is easily portable.
You have more than one option when it comes to 3D media to use, and this may include a Blu-Ray or DVD player. While you may be hard-pressed to find physical 3D media out there as technology continues to evolve, you can still find plenty of them on the internet. The number of streaming sites supporting 3D is amazing.
Given that you will be watching from home, you may want something that is better than the flimsy glasses distributed at movie theatres; a more fancy pair would be great. 3D glasses (we will have a more detailed look at them later in this article) can either be Active Shutter or Passive Polarised. Active Shutter 3D glasses come with a built-in transmitter, and they contain batteries; thus, they are slightly heavier. Passive Polarized 3D glasses, on the other hand, are lighter; hence, more comfortable to wear than their active counterparts.
Getting the Most Out of Your At-Home 3D Experience
While it is possible to create your own 3D movie theatre at home, you may experience a challenge when it comes to getting the most out of your so-called theatre. Remember, the line between the best and worst viewing experiences is so thin that a slight mistake may spoil your entire party. But if you can learn to practice some simple tips, nothing will stand between you and a near-perfect experience. To get the most out of your system, here are some tips you may want to apply:
Picture setting optimisation: Most screens, whether projectors or television sets, will give you a variety of picture settings, such as ‘gaming’ and ‘cinema’, among other settings. Taking advantage of these settings is essential. Simply tweak the settings until you find one that works best for you. Some TVs come with settings specifically meant for 3D content. If your device has such settings then that’s perfect for getting started with enjoying a 3D movie experience from home.
Get your device brightness right: While there is no guarantee that your screen has ambient light, most modern televisions come with ambient light, which you need to turn off to optimise brightness. Remember, you don’t need a too bright screen when it comes to watching 3D movies. It is also not out of the ordinary for 3D glasses to reduce your screen brightness once you switch them on. Some of these glasses are known to dim the pictures by even half. Be sure to adjust your screen brightness to a suitable level, if you are using such glasses, that is. Additionally, you may want to switch off the lights in your house. Ensuring that light comes from a single source (screen) will definitely boost the picture quality.
Set the 3D depth correctly: You may have heard about ‘crosstalk.’ In simpler terms, this is a situation where by the right eye and left eye pictures are not synced properly, resulting in incomplete or blurry pictures. If your screen is displaying unsynced or blurry pictures, then you may need to adjust its 3D depth settings. However, not all screens have dedicated 3D depth settings. If you have such a screen, then you may need to give up some light to fix the problem.
Sit in the right position: Now forget about the watching devices; your sitting position could have an impact on your overall 3D experience. As a rule of thumb, you should sit directly in front of your screen to have the best experience. Sitting on the right or left hand side of the screen may mean improper image sync, which may result in crosstalk. Most 3D devices come with manuals, which contain all the information on such things as where to sit when watching pictures in 3D.
Tip summary: As you can see, getting the most out of your 3D home theatre involves tweaking your device settings until you get everything right. Besides this, you will also need to position yourself properly for the best viewing. With these tips, together with the right equipment, you should be able to enter your 3D movie dreamland.
What You Need to Know When Buying 3D Glasses
As I promised earlier that I would be looking at 3D glasses in details, the time is now ripe. After all, 3D glasses are a mandatory requirement when it comes to watching any movie in 3D. When 3D movies first came up, firms tried to find ways on how people would watch 3D content without the glasses, but that remained to be difficult to date. The closest we’ve gotten to a 3D experience without glasses is the Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming device, but this was met with criticism in terms of causing headaches for the user when used for a prolonged period. That tells you how essential these glasses are. Of course, you can use a projector or a TV, but you cannot swap the glasses for anything else.
Want to buy 3D glasses for use at home? They come in two types to choose from, and they serve the same fundamental purpose, but use different mechanisms. These include Active Shutter and Passive Polarised. Let’s look at each of them.
Active Shutter: As the name suggests, this type of glasses uses batteries to run and it is the most reliable option when it comes to producing the best pictures. The following are the advantages and disadvantages of using these glasses.
- They are highly versatile since they can be used with both projectors and television sets.
- In terms of image quality, they are better than Passive Polarised glasses.
- Since they use batteries, you will need to be replacing or recharging the batteries, which means it can be a more expensive investment in the long run.
- They are heavier, and this tampers with your comfort, especially if you are wearing them for long periods of time.
- They are delicate and cannot be repaired once the shutters break.
- Thanks to the complex technology involved (transmitter, batteries, etc) in coming up with these glasses, they are more expensive than the Passive Polarised glasses.
- There are instances when the shutters cause image darkening.
- You will need to connect and sync these glasses with your screen; the set-up could be a bit more tricky, especially if you are doing it for the first time or aren’t hugely technologically aware.
Passive Polarised: These are the most common 3D glasses you will find out there, in the market and cinemas. If you are not keen enough, you may think that they are ordinary sunglasses. They are passive in the sense that they don’t use external power. Instead, they contain polarised lenses, which block half of the picture, so that your right eye can only see the right image and vice versa.
- They can be used with virtually all 3D TV brands, and are readily available in the market.
- They are easy to use since they don’t need to be synced with your viewing device.
- They are the cheapest option, and there is nothing like battery recharging or replacement.
- They are light; hence, more comfortable to wear than the Active Shutter glasses
When shopping, chances are that you will land on somewhat flimsy Passive Polarised glasses. That is one disadvantage of buying cheap things anyway.
- The polarised lines may cause vertigo or headaches in some people
- Given that each eye receives half of the image, the picture resolution will definitely be low
- They are compatible with only LCD television screens; you can’t use them on a projector at all.
As you have seen, each of the two types of glasses has its own pros and cons, which is something you may want to consider before purchasing. If price is not too much of an issue to you and you have no problem with wearing something that is a bit heavier, then Active Shutter glasses would be your best option. On the other hand if you would like to wear something light and don’t want to spend a lot of money, then you may want to go for the Passive Polarised glasses. With this option, you will also not be bothered with having to set them up with your TV. Simply put them on and you are good to go.
How to Watch 3D Content at Home without a 3D Compatible AV Receiver
You want to watch 3D content at home but your AV receiver is not compatible with the content? Purchasing a new receiver that is 3D compatible would be the best option. However, if you don’t have the money to purchase a new receiver, don’t panic because there is a way out. Here are two ways to integrate your 3D incompatible receiver into your 3D movie system.
Direct audio connection
This simply involves connecting a Blu-Ray player to your television set directly on one end and hooking the player’s 7.1 or 5.1 channel output to the receiver on the other end. While this is a reliable option, you will need to have a receiver with a compatible input connection. Thankfully, most receivers have this connection compatibility. Also, you will have to be resigned to having lots of cable connections in your 3D set-up. However, this should be no big deal if you are trying to avoid spending money on a new AV receiver anyway.
Use of HDMI ports
This is perhaps the best and easiest way to watch 3D content without a 3D compatible receiver. Does your Blu-Ray player have two HDMI ports? If so, then you can use one of the ports for audio and the other one for video. To do this, simply plug one HDMI cable into your receiver and the other one into your viewing device. This way, you will be using the two cables for audio and video respectively. I would personally recommend this method, given that it is an easier option in comparison to the first one.
What Are the Benefits of Watching 3D Movies at Home?
When I first heard about 3D movies, I did not gain interest in them instantly, especially after hearing that I had to wear some glasses in order to watch. As time went by, the movies seemed to have gained momentum, and I decided to give them ago. The first movie I watched was Avatar, and it is what enabled me to fully appreciate 3D content. And while this content may be experiencing a downward trend currently, the fact remains that it is worth watching. Are you considering installing a 3D film system at home? The following are some of the pros of doing so.
This is the main benefit. While going to the cinema still has value even in an era where everything can be done at home (think the social aspect of it), it may not be as convenient. When you have a 3D media system at home, you can watch your favourite movies on your own terms. You will have the freedom to choose what to watch and when to watch. This, of course, happens in the comfort of your home. It is a different scenario when it comes to going to the cinema. There, you watch what is on offer at that particular time, and you have to be there during their hours of operation.
You Get to enjoy the best experience
When watching a 3D movie at home, the chances of getting the best viewing experience are very high. Remember, you will be alone or maybe with a few loved ones. That means you can sit in the right position for better viewing; you don’t have to jostle for space. As mentioned earlier in this guide, you will need to sit directly in front of your screen for the best viewing experience. Unless you are among the first people to enter the cinema, you may not get a space directly in front of the screen. Now that you will be in your own house, chances are that you will be sitting on your sofa or bed, which means you will be very comfortable. High comfort allows you to watch for longer hours without getting tired. Forget about those uncomfortable benches found in cinemas.
Additionally, watching 3D content at home means that you choose the equipment that you want. For instance, if you want to use Active Shutter 3D glasses, you can go ahead and purchase them if money is not a problem. In the cinema, you will have to be content with what is offered. Most cinemas offer Passive Polarised glasses because they are easily affordable and are readily available. Thus, even if the glasses don’t deliver the images you want, you will have to accept the situation anyway. When it comes to screen settings, you can adjust your device to the setting you want if you are watching from home. Most cinemas use standard 3D settings, meaning that you have no option but to comply, even if that does not deliver your desired experience.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Watching 3D Content at Home?
No good thing lacks a downside, not even honey, as sweet as it is. That is the case with watching 3D content at home. Despite all the perks it comes with, including convenience and the best experience, it does have some cons. Some of these cons include the following:
It is expensive
Installing a 3D movie theatre in your home needs money. You need money to buy a good TV or projector, 3D glasses, and a 3D compatible AV receiver. Other accessories such as HDMI cables may also be necessary, especially where you have to use a receiver that does not support 3D content. You will also need to replace your 3D glasses in case they accidentally break, and you must buy content regularly to ensure you are watching a new thing every time. If the money used to purchase all these things is put together, you will need to cough up some good money before you can watch a 3D movie at home. Compare this capital with the amount of money you pay at the cinema, and you will be surprised.
The set-up is tedious
Like any other system, you will need to set up your 3D equipment once you have purchased everything you want. This is where it gets tricky, especially if it is your first time to install the system. First, you will need to get all connections right, as well as the settings on your TV. So, if you don’t know how to get everything right, it may not be a walk in the park. In fact, you may need to seek the help from someone who knows how install the system.
It may cause headaches and physical discomfort
While you may not experience any headaches watching 3D content at home, experience has proved that most 3D content lovers experience headaches, and the rapidly flickering pictures and the glasses are usually cited as the main causes. Additionally, 3D glasses, especially Active Shutter glasses tend to cause physical discomfort due their heavy nature.
3D content is almost out of date
While I can’t claim that 3D content is completely extinct, it could be on death row. In fact, I can’t think of any company which still produces 3D projectors or televisions. That means you must use what is already in existence, even if you don’t like it.
Limited 3D content
You don’t have to be extra keen to realise that there is only a limited quantity of 3D content in existence today (as of 2020). And while Blu-Ray features hundreds of titles, there are no signs that more content will be added to what already exists anytime soon. Moreso, television channels airing 3D content did not take off as well as was hoped, and the available 3D streaming services can’t boast a large library. Thus, it is pointless to spend thousands of pounds in installing a 3D system at home only to realise that the available content you can watch is limited.
As clearly depicted in this write-up, setting up a 3D theatre at home is a very possible affair as long as you have all of the requirements in place, which include a TV or projector, a Blu-Ray player, 3D glasses, and 3D content itself. As I end this guide, I leave you with one simple piece of advice: know what it means to set up a 3D system at home before you take the step.