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Vivitek D538W-3D - 3D Picture Quality

John Archer

By John Archer


Our Score


Review Price £682.80

The D538W-3D is understandably rather limited, though, when it comes to optical image adjustments. Optical zoom is restricted to 1.16x, and there’s no vertical or horizontal image shifting. This will leave most people having to resort to digital keystone correction to get the edges of their image straight - a process which effectively involves digitally distorting the native source image. But we’ve yet to see a projector at the Vivitek’s price level that offers our preferred optical image shifting solution instead.

The D538W-3D’s 3D capabilities essentially come about because it manages to fit into its diminutive form the same core technology employed by Optoma’s 3D-XL 3D projection ‘adaptor’. What this does is take in either Blu-ray’s frame-packed full HD 3D images or Sky’s side by side 3D images and convert them to DLP’s 3D-Ready format, which essentially involves converting them into a 120Hz signal divided into two, so that 60fps goes to each eye.

There is one unfortunate difference between the D538W-3D and the Optoma 3D-XL adaptor package, though, in that the D538W doesn’t ship with any 3D glasses included as standard. So you’ll have to factor in the (starting at £60 or so a pair) cost of these when deciding whether Vivitek’s projector fits in with your budgets.

Vivitek D538W-3D

The D538W-3D’s 3D pictures really aren’t bad at all. For a start, as noted during our Optoma 3D-XL review, there’s very little crosstalk ghosting noise at all over 3D pictures - a result, presumably, of the relatively high frame rate that’s being presented to each eye, in conjunction with DLP technology’s relatively fast response time.

There’s a good sense of depth to 3D images, too, and best of all the projector’s mighty brightness output proves highly effective at combating the dimming effect of DLP’s active shutter glasses, leaving 3D pictures looking punchy and colourful.

One catch with the DLP 3D-Ready system is that it currently can’t operate beyond a resolution of 720p. And this fact does result in Blu-ray pictures looking markedly less detailed and sharp than those you would see from a full-HD 3D projector. On the upside, the D538W-3D does seem more at home with Sky’s reduced-resolution side by side 3D broadcasts, which are probably a more ‘comfortable’ fit with the projector’s 3D conversion processing than Blu-ray’s full HD 3D streams.

Vivitek D538W-3D

Other issues with the D538W-3D’s 3D images find them feeling just a touch flickery, and sometimes pushing the depth too hard, so that during shots containing lots of depth the 3D effect can become a little tiring. But crucially none of these issues prevent the D538W-3D from being a very watchable bit of 3D family fun.

So far we’ve talked about the projector’s reproduction of 3D sources. But it also carries a 2D to 3D converter. And while this isn’t as consistently accurate with its calculation of relative depths within a converted image as the best 2D-3D converters we’ve seen, its results are mostly clean and contain a little more depth than the ‘ultra-safe’ conversion systems we commonly see. So while it’s a feature we’re not sure we’d ever personally use, if you do fancy EastEnders in 3D, then you do so on the D538W-3D without struggling to see the 3D effect or getting a headache.

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July 26, 2011, 7:21 pm


Thanks for posting this review!

I have recently purchased this one and having difficulties getting the 3D effect from the 3D blue ray discs. I am using PS3 ,optoma DLP link glasses and able to play 3D movies downloaded from Sony's playstation store without any issue and I see good 3D effects (but they are 720p 3D and not 1080p 3D). I tried my friend's 3D blue ray player too but no 3D. I am wondering if I got the bad product or is there any specific setting on a projector or something else.



July 28, 2011, 4:25 pm

did you solve this problem?,someone else has a similar problem.


July 31, 2011, 7:49 pm

No, I have reported this issue to Vivitek(USA), haven't heard back from them yet.


August 3, 2011, 8:17 am

Vivitek tech support replied back saying that this does projector does not support 1080p 3D. I wonder how this reviewer got the 1080p 3D working and can compare it with Optoma's 3D-xl adapter which converts 1080p 3D to 720p 3D.

John Archer

August 9, 2011, 4:26 pm

Hi swa01

Sorry about the delayed response to you; after reading your comments we actually took the review down for a while so that we could get into exploring your issues.

I knew that the model I tested originally had worked with Blu-rays, but when I read your comment that Vivitek's own tech support didn't think that it did, I got concerned that maybe I'd had an early sample that didn't have the same spec as the final released versions.

Vivitek Europe immediately assured me that this was not the case, but I ordered a new projector in anyway, just so I could do a paranoid check for myself.

I've done that this morning, and can confirm that the D538W does play 1080p/24 Blu-rays straight from my Samsung Blu-ray player.

Obviously, as I state in my original review, the projector only has a native 720p resolution, so although it will play 1080p Blu-rays in 3D, the final output resolution is only 720p. So you don't get the full resolution on screen from a full HD 3D Blu-ray.

Apologies if you didn't pick this up from my review, but I do make it pretty clear I think, to the point where I include it as a 'Con' in the pros and cons section.

While the D538W reduces 1080p sources to 720p, though, it certainly CAN actually receive and handle 3D visuals from 1080p Blu-rays in ordinary Blu-ray players. So unless there are regional differences between the American and European versions of the D538W (I note that you are in America), the fact that you're not able to get your D538W to work with 3D must mean you're experiencing some technical problems with your particular sample or glasses.

If you contact us directly via Andrew's email address available through the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page, I will ensure that your details are passed on to someone technical at Vivitek who will be able to help get to the bottom of your problems.

John Archer


August 9, 2011, 5:44 pm

>>but when I read your comment that Vivitek's own tech support didn't think that it did

Sounds like a classic double meaning of 1080p, the problem is 1080p support could mean, does it support 1080p native playback, or does it support 1080p decoding. Vivitek's tech support must have thought the prior.


August 10, 2011, 8:11 pm

Hi John,

Thank you for reply.

Yes, it is a native 720p and downgrades 1080 to 720p. But this does not convert 1080p(3D) to 720p(3D) as the Optoma 3D-XL (at least US version which I have). I have had tried my friend's Samsung 3D blu-ray player too, but it did not work. There is definitely no issues with the glasses as they work fine with 720p(3D) contents. May be its the European version only that works for 1080p(3D). Its a good projector, I have been using it for a month now, my only gripe is that this 1080p(3D) incompatibility(for US version) was/is not "Clearly" mentioned anywhere.



October 14, 2011, 8:25 am

I just got this projector, noticed when zoom in more than 3/4 to full zoom the projector goes out of focus, very incovinient since I have a 100" screen and cant fill it up. About the 3d I haven't got my glasses but when I get them will be too late I allready requested an RMA. I prefer to pay the extra dollar for a projector that won't go out of filling my 100" screen.

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