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3D Crosstalk In Projectors: Why Does It Happen?

3D Crosstalk In Projectors: Why Does It Happen?

If you were born in the last century, there is a fair chance that you have had the opportunity to watch 3D technology develop and grow.

In this article, the issue of crosstalk in 3D technology will be dissected and explained.

Know that if you experience crosstalk or “ghosting” from your 3D projector you are not alone, let us examine why this happens.

What is 3D Crosstalk in projectors?

3d crosstalk in a projector

A human is incapable of seeing in the third dimension, we only have the ability to perceive our world in 2D.

Due partly to the existence of light and partly to the fact that we have two eyes, our brain is able to trick us into perceiving depth. Our brain uses light, shade cues, and two angles of vision that give us depth perception and allow us to see in “the third dimension”.

This is the same way that your 3D projector presents you with a 3D picture, by tricking your brain into seeing the illusion of depth. The way this is done is with a 3D camera, the attribute which sets it apart from a regular camera would be its dual lenses.

Basically, these two lenses are meant to replicate the way a human perceives the world. This gives two different perspectives of the same image and thus dupes the brain into seeing depth.

Our 3D projectors and televisions take these two separate images and overlap them. The easiest way to help our eyes with perceiving the two images correctly is with 3D glasses, but as technology advances, we are slowly moving away from the need for those as well.

A 3D projector lets us view our favorite movies with an added level of immersion by allowing the images we see to “break” the two-dimensional plane. As with most advancements in technology, it isn’t without its downfalls, and one of the most common is referred to as crosstalk.

Crosstalk in a 3D projector happens when portions of an image that are intended for one eye become visible to the other. This means that one eye is picking up both images and creates a blurred or double vision effect.

Another name for crosstalking is “ghosting” as the unfocused image can appear ghostly due to the double image it gives the picture.

3D glasses are meant to help cut this effect down by regulating the colors which each eye takes in, thus reducing your brain’s ability to distinguish the two separate images.

What causes 3D crosstalk?

3d crosstalk image of a 3D projector

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a concise conclusion on the cause of cross talking in 3D projectors. The majority of explanations boil down to mere speculation, making crosstalk a common nuisance which leaves users scrambling to find solutions.

Ghosting has been attributed to everything from issues with the 3D eyewear to the timing of the two pictures being off by nanoseconds.

There are also certain movies and video games which frequently take flak from the 3D community, as they commonly bear the dreaded crosstalking. This leads to the belief that it isn’t necessarily the equipment which can be the cause, but also the content played.

There seems to be no escape from crosstalk between the active and passive modes. Although after researching, it seems as though the cheaper non-battery powered passive glasses seem to produce the ghosting issues less frequently.

The synchronization between the 3D glasses and projector itself is often sighted as a possible source.

Some projector owners even reported that while they experienced no crosstalk or distortion of the picture while watching a film, their guest sitting directly beside them had a completely different and obviously less satisfying viewing experience. This means that crosstalk can be brought on by something as simple and hard to control as someone’s position in relation to the projector screen or TV.

Finally, the experience of crosstalk appears to be stronger for some people in comparison to others, simply depending on the person’s susceptibility to this effect.

What does this mean for me and my 3D projector?

cross talking in a 3D projector

This can all sound pretty frightening for 3D projector owners as there is nothing worse than sitting down with your new set up only to find that your movies and video games run with a headache-inducing double vision.

Fear not!

While the popularity of a three-dimensional home theater experience has maintained a steady fan base since the technology debuted in 1953, it has simultaneously battled with the crosstalk problem.

As the demand to keep 3D technology around persisted, the suppliers and its supporters have been looking for ways to cut down on the nuisance of ghosting. Both of these groups have numerous resources and suggestions on how to tame your crosstalk to a manageable and almost unnoticeable level.

Obviously, depending on the severity of crosstalk you are experiencing, some of these suggestions may not be the solution you are looking for. As a quick reference, the following are a range of suggestions or possible rectifications:

  • Turning down the brightness
  • Adjusting a wide range of settings on the projector (the amount of settings is too vast to list)
  • Adjusting your positioning in relation to the screen
  • Changing to a higher quality HDMI cable
  • Upgrading your glasses
  • Upgrading your projector

The solutions listed above (with the latter admitting submission but not defeat), range greatly price-wise and might not solve your specific problem.

However, if these don’t work for your home theater set up, don’t lose hope! The 3D community is large, and they are continuing to come up with solutions to deafen the effects of crosstalk.


A 3D projector attempts to achieve an illusion that has only previously been accomplished by the human brain. There is no question that this would come with its hiccups and setbacks, the 3D crosstalk being one of these.

Nevertheless, as the advancements in 3D technology continue to improve these systems, there is no doubt that eventually crosstalk will be a thing of the past. Until then, rely on the 3D community for support to achieve that perfect picture and enjoy the oddity that is 3D home entertainment.

Related post: 10 Most Common Projector Display Problems

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