Mitsubishi is now shipping the 3D adapter it showed at CES in January, which allows the company's legacy 3D-compatible DLP-based rear-projection televisions, released between 2007 and 2009, to work with new 3D formats. Contrary to what was previously reported, Mitsubishi has confirmed that its adapter will not support legacy Samsung 3D-compatible DLP and plasma TVs.
The adapter, renamed model 3DA-1, costs $99. It's the only official way we know about to get 3D Blu-ray, PS3, DirecTV, and other 2010 sources in the home without having to buy a new 2010 3D-compatible TV.
The 3DA-1 is designed to convert current 3D formats, namely "frame packing" (used by most 3D Blu-ray content); side-by-side (used by DirecTV's 3D broadcasts); and top-and-bottom to the "checkerboard" display format employed by those Mitsubishi DLP TVs.
The small box has just an HDMI input and output, as well as connections for an IR emitter (not included). In addition to a 3D source and 3D content, owners of legacy Mitsubishi 3D-compatible TVs will also need to purchase 3D glasses and an emitter, or "DLP Link" glasses that do not require an emitter, to enjoy new 3D sources.
To that end, Mitsubishi will in July begin selling its 3D Starter Pack, model 3DC-1000, for $399. The kit combines a 3DA-1 adapter with an IR emitter, two pairs of 3D glasses, an HDMI cable, and "a Disney 3D showcase Blu-ray disc featuring 3D trailers of 'A Christmas Carol,' 'Alice In Wonderland,' and 'Toy Story 3,' along with an educational short on 3D presented by Disney's infamous Timon and Pumba," according to the press release.
Mitsubishi reps also confirmed that its legacy TVs will work with Panasonic's DMP-BDT350 Blu-ray player without the need for an adapter, since that player can output the checkerboard format directly. We've also heard reports that legacy Samsung 3D TVs will work with the Panasonic player--although in both cases you'll still need glasses and an emitter (or emitter-free glasses that handle the DLP Link protocol, which uses light emitted by the TV for syncing).
Samsung, for its part, has announced no official support for its legacy 3D products, which include DLP TVs from 2007 and 2008, as well as PNB450 series and PNA450 series plasma TVs. When we asked company reps about releasing a converter box similar to Mitsubishi's they were noncommittal, and if we had to guess, we'd say Samsung won't follow suit.
Millions of Samsung 3D-compatible TVs were sold in those years, however, so we assumed Mitsubishi would be happy to step in and allow its box to work with those sets. When we asked Mitsubishi's reps why they decided not to support those TVs, they cited customer support hassles (they didn't want customers to blame Mitsubishi for problems that were the fault of another company) and that not all Samsung models could accept a 1080p input via HDMI.
Unfortunately, for now, Samsung owners who want their 3D-compatible TVs to work with today's 3D sources will have to find another way. Know of one that works? Let us know in comments.