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Digital Projection Titan Reference 1080p 3D review

John Archer

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Reviewed:

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Digital Projection Titan 3D projector
  • Digital Projection Titan 3D projector
  • Digital Projection Titan 3D projector
  • Digital Projection Titan 3D projector

Summary

Our Score:

7

Pros

  • 3D pictures are sensationally bright and crisp
  • Huge amount of calibration aids
  • Beautiful optics

Cons

  • Runs incredibly noisily
  • Extremely limited Blu-ray support
  • Black levels not the deepest

Key Features

  • Active shutter full HD 3D projector
  • three-chip DLP engine
  • dual lamp system for ultra high brightness
  • Dual flash processing
  • high end optics and calibration tools
  • Manufacturer: Digital Projection
  • Review Price: £90,000.00

The first thing to say here is that we don’t seriously expect many or any of you to actually be able to buy a Digital Projection Titan Reference 1080p 3D projector. They do, after all, cost between £90,000 and £96,000. Each.

However, the gadget lover in us is always irresistibly drawn to uber-expensive kit if only to find out just why/how anything can cost so much. Especially as experience has shown that it’s often the very expensive stuff which introduces key technologies that eventually filter down in some form or other to more mainstream products. In other words, high-end gear can be a living, breathing vision of the future.

As we’ll discover, though, the Titan Reference 1080p 3D projector unfortunately feels more like an unwelcome trip down memory lane than a gleaming glimpse of what’s to come.

If you’re the sort of person who likes something physically substantial for your money, than the Titan gets off to a great start by being absolutely ruddy huge. It actually arrives in two boxes - one humungous one carrying the 31kg, 645mm long projector chassis, and a smaller one carrying the also massive lens, which locks into a gaping hole in the main chassis and sticks out the best part of a foot from the projector’s front edge.

Digital Projection Titan 3D projector

This all underlines in fat red ink the idea that this is a serious, almost commercial-grade bit of custom-install kit rather than some bit of fluff you can just pop on a coffee table when you fancy a bit of projector fun.

While the uncompromising nature of the Titan’s bodywork might raise plenty of expectations about the quality of what it’s got inside, though, it sure isn’t pretty by any normal aesthetic standards. Just as well it will likely be boxed away somewhere in a perennially darkened room.

The Titan’s side-mounted connections are bizarre - and massively problematic. For it’s immediately apparent that there are no HDMIs. Not one. Instead you get a high-end SDI input, a trio of DVI inputs, a D-Sub PC input, a BNC-style composite video input, an S-Video input, a BNC-style component video input, and a BNC-style RGB input, along with LAN and RS-232 control port options and a sync port for the external 3D transmitter unit.

For a projector costing this much to give you composite and S-Video options but no HDMI inputs immediately reveals that rather than the bleeding edge bit of technology you might have expected, the Titan 3D is actually rather old now.

This doesn’t intrinsically matter, of course, provided its age doesn’t stop it performing insanely well. But the lack of any HDMIs presents an actually quite devastating problem for 3D viewers. For it means there’s no HDMI v1.4 support on the projector, which in turn means the projector won’t ‘handshake’ with the vast majority of 3D Blu-ray players.

In fact, the Titan shouldn’t be able to handshake with any 3D Blu-ray players, though Digital Projection has found - and we can confirm this - that Samsung C5900 and C6900 Blu-ray players do seem happy to speak to the Titan, presumably on account of their not being as strict in looking for the v1.4 protocols as other players.

We tried a PS3, two standalone Sony 3D Blu-ray players, and a Panasonic 3D unit, and all of them refused point blank to acknowledge the Titan as a 3D device. We weren't able to test the newer Samsung D6900 Blu-ray deck, but we wouldn't be at all surprised if it didn't work.

Rob

December 30, 2013, 5:52 am

Comparing the Titan to the JVC X9 because it has a higher contrast ratio and costs less, is pointless. The manufacturers numbers really mean nothing when it comes to image quality.A 5000:1 contrast ratio for a 6000 lumen device is amazing. I doubt it is achievable in its brightest double lamp mode. The JVC is only 1300 lumen and less than 800 in its cinema modes. Getting 100,000 darker than 800 lumens vs 5000 times darker than 6000 lumens is less of a gap than just quoting the cr on its own. The difference is going to be most noticeable on all black screens.

The human eye notices large changes in brightness more than subtle ones. I find that blacks often look great on bright projectors next to the super bright, saturated colors. The exception is when the whole screen is black where brighter devices struggle next to the dim JVCs where you can barely tell they are switched on at all. That is an advantage if you like watching black screens. I prefer to watch movies.

On high end devices, the quality of the glass and the processing is noticeably better than on cheaper home theater devices which appear to have better numbers on paper. There are no free lunches and given the choice, i would go with the Titan. The manufacturers numbers really mean nothing. Read some reviews and you will often see cheap devices with higher claimed contrast ratios, that don't have the best blacks or image quality. The difference in the level of detail you get with high end glass is far greater than marketing specs can tell you. The first Sony 4k home theater projector which costs over $20k, didn't have high end glass, just entry level. The newer, cheaper model (at $10k less), uses a plastics lens. Until recently, 5000:1 was considered a great contrast ratio. The average DCI compliant digital theater projector is still only putting out 2000:1 and they can be more expensive than a Titan by 2-4x.

Specs make people feel better about their projector and make them buy new ones but a lot of the time, the incremental improvement is invisible to the naked eye when watching movie content. You can't see the difference between 50,000:1 and 60,000:1. Plus, for most people, their room won't let them get anywhere near that 50,000:1 cr.

In addition to a much better image quality from the glass and superior processing, you also get better features on high end devices such as more flexibility with motorized lenses, a choice of lenses for different throw requirements, better color management systems. One of my devices is a high end pro install device and it automatically adjusts the color to match the 6500k I set it to. It does this on a constant basis so as the lamp gets older, it still matches colors accurately which lets me get more life from the lamp. Sorry to state the obvious, but $90k projectors almost always put out a better image than $5k ones.

Rob

December 30, 2013, 9:40 am

Also, wouldn't most people who buy a $90k projector, also be able to afford a top of the line outboard processor with an HDMI input? It isn't that much of a big deal. Most professional installations use DVI inputs over HDMI, which is a consumer format.

I would be asking a more relevant question with this review which is, would I get better 3d performance with 2 $40k projectors plus lenses and a 3d outboard processor that is capable of converting 3d sources to 120hz. This would enable the user create a passive 3d set-up without losing any vertical resolution, just like you get at an IMAX theater. Projectiondesigns passive 3d technology doesn't even need a silver screen. It works on any screen, just like active 3d, except, with more comfortable lightweight passive glasses you can "borrow" from the theater. Also, less brightness is lost and there is less flickers plus, you can use any projectors, not just the more expensive 3d ready ones.

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