My good friend, colleague, and sometimes co-author M. David Stone alerted me to a product that he recently reviewed for PC Magazine: the SmartCrystal Pro from Volfoni. This is a device that can turn any 3D-capable front projector into one that uses passive glasses for $1,500 (street price). Inexpensive 3D projectors require you to use bulky shutter glasses, but the SmartCrystal Pro lets you wear the same inexpensive passive glasses that you wear at your local cinema.
So how does it perform this magic? It is actually a “polarizing modulator.” That’s fancy talk for a device that can change the polarization of the light coming out of the projector. You place the SmartCrystal Pro about one to two inches from the projector lens, so that the light fills the window in the device. To get the 3D sync signal, you can connect it either to a VESA port on the projector, or if it is a DLP model, you can use a separate power block to access the DLP-Link signal.
One drawback is that you’ll also have to upgrade to a silver screen, which preserves the polarization of the light from the projector better than a standard screen can. Figure on another $1,000 or so for a 92″ diagonal screen. However, if you want to avoid paying for the expensive active glasses (and eliminate the hassle of keeping them charged), then the SmartCrystal Pro could be just what you need.