How to Distribute 3D to Old HDTVs

Just Add Power’s 3D Manager converts old HDTVs with an HDMI port into 3D-enabled display.

Joe Whitaker

If you’re thinking about trashing your clients’ old legacy HDTVs just to get 3D, think again.

You might want to sell them the 3D Manager from Just Add Power, one of the original developers of HDMI-over-IP. The new solution, introduced at the Electronic House Expo (EHX), turns virtually any HDTV with an HDMI port into a 3D-enabled display.

The technology could potentially save clients thousands of dollars, protecting their initial investment and making the integrator look like a star.

But I was skeptical, until I experienced the 3D Manager at EHX.

3D for the Whole Building
Consumers currently have access to multiple 3D sources, including Blu-ray, satellite, PS3, Vudu, cable and others. This is especially the case in commercial facilities such as sports bars.

The 3D Manager works with the full range of 3D broadcast standards (frame packing, side-by-side, top-and-bottom) to deliver a frame-sequential 3D experience with the matching 3D Glasses. The 3D Manager includes these three pieces:

Discover Encoder: This pass-through device converts the 3D source content to a 1080p or 720p signal compatible with practically any existing HDTV or projector.  Using the RS-232 interface, the installer is able to dynamically control various functions such as frequency (60Hz/120Hz), scaling, color processing, noise reduction and EDID response.

Synch Nodes with IR Emitters: These pass-through devices, based on JAP’s HDMI-over-IP technology, are needed for each room that wants the benefit of 3D video. However, a standard switcher may be used instead. “We have already gathered that the Atlona switches will work for sure,” says JAP principal Ed Qualls.

60/120 Hz 3D Glasses: These active shutter LCD glasses work in conjunction with the Synch Nodes and Emitters. 

Impressions of 3D Manager
Not only did the 3D picture look great on some “old fashioned” HDTV sets shown at EHX, but the underlying technology had some nice surprises.

First, JAP demonstrated its solution using the 60Hz frequency. I think 120Hz and 240Hz may have met their match when it comes to 3D.

There are a couple of reasons why 60Hz may be better than the higher rates, starting with adjustment times. My eyes seemed to adjust much faster and more comfortably with the lower range.