Cyberlink is going to have the promised Mark-II Update for their PowerDVD 10 software in a few days, at the beginning of July and it is even possible for it to be available as soon as 6st of July. The main focus of the PowerDVD10 Mark-II update is to bring support for playing Blu-ray 3D movies on your computer using 3D Vision or another of the supported viewing methods. The Mark II update will be free for the owners of the PowerDVD 10 Ultra version of the player software as this is the version of PowerDVD that is targeted for users willing to play 3D content from their computer. The PowerDVD 10 also comes with function for converting 2D video to 3D, of course with an end result not as good as with video shot in stereo 3D, but it can still be useful considering the current general lack of video content in 3D. And PowerDVD will also be able to play other 3D video files in Side-by-Side or Above/Under formats pretty soon, but that functionality will come a bit later with another update, so meanwhile you can stick to the 3D Vision Video Player for playing back 3D videos other than Blu-ray 3D movies.
I was able to test the upcoming Blu-ray 3D video playback functionality thanks to CyberLink providing me with a PowerDVD Blu-ray 3D preview version for evaluation, and I can say that it works just great with playing back MVC encoded 3D videos and Blu-ray 3D content. I was able to try the Blu-ray 3D playback using 3D Vision on Samsung 2233RZ 3D LCD monitor and Acer H5360 3D DLP projector and both worked flawlessly with the latest 3D Vision Drivers version 257.21. Other than 3D Vision with supported display, Cyberlink’s PowerDVD 10 software also supports playback of Blu-ray 3D content on normal monitors with the help of plain red-cyan anaglyph glasses, row-interleaved 3D displays and even 3D-capable TVs. Now regarding the 3D HDTV support I need to make some things clear, as this mode will probably not work with all of the latest 3D television sets that are currently appearing on the market at this time, but they might be supported with a future update. This mode is intended to provide DLP checkerboard output of the 3D content that can be display mostly on 3D DLP TVs like the ones made by Mitsubishi, but this mode is also supported by some of the newer 3D HDTVs using HDMI 1.4(a) for stereo 3D support. One such example is the C7000 series of 3D TV’s by Samsung that should work just fine with PowerDVD 10 Blu-ray 3D playback as it supports both row-interleaved input as well as checkerboard pattern. On the other hand the Panasonic VT25 and VT20 3D HDTVs do not support any of those two modes, so you will most likely not be able to play Blu-ray 3D movies with PowerDVD 10 after the release of the Mark II update. But as I already mentioned, support for these 3D TVs will most likely be added at a later time with the help of future updates of both the software video player and
Another thing that I tried with the preview version of PowerDVD I got from Cyberlink was the new and improved 2D-to-3D conversion feature called TrueTheater 3D. If you remember I was not very impressed with what Cyberlink has offered in their trial version of PowerDVD 10 when it was first made available in terms of 2D to 3D video conversion. I simply expected more and Cyberlink has managed to get more done with their new conversion algorithm that provided better and more comfortable conversion for videos to 3D. Have in mind that the currently available trial version of PowerDVD 10 still uses the first generation of 2D to 3D conversion, but the people who purchased the full software and have updated it to version 10.0.1714 and later should already have the next generation of 2D to 3D conversion functionality available. What I’ve noticed at first is that the new algorithm is no longer using the frame offsetting to create the Pulfrich kind of effect based on the movement of objects in the frames next to each other. And that means that even in very fast switching scenes or movement the effect will not be a somewhat disturbing anymore because even for a brief moment you will not be seeing two completely different images from different scenes with each eye. So job well done on that too for Cyberlink.
And to be completely fair, I should also mention that I’ve contacted ArcSoft about an evaluation version of their Sim 3D plugin for TotalMedia Theatre 3 Platinum. They are already selling this plugin along with the TMT3 Platinum software – their two components that allow you to play Blu-ray 3D movies, but they did not even reply to me. So as a result there is no comparison between the TotalMedia Theatre 3 Platinum + Sim 3D plugin and PowerDVD10’s 3D capabilities. And since I’m quite satisfied from what I saw from PowerDVD and there is no other way to test ArcSoft’s solution other than paying $89.99 for the TotalMedia Theatre 3 Platinum software and another $19.99 for the Sim3D Plugin (total $109,98 USD) I would prefer to stick to PowerDVD 10 Ultra with the Mark II update that currently costs $89.95 USD ($71.95 if you are upgrading from PowerDVD 8, 9 or 10 Standard).
Now we just need more high-quality stereo 3D content available, as still we have only one Blu-ray 3D movie that just recently became available as a standalone product (not bundled with any 3D-capable hardware) is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. But more movies should be coming very soon, so stay tuned for more information about that as well as more information about PowerDVD Mark II update in the next few days.