The company was among the first to release a 120Hz 3D-capable LCD monitor with Full HD resolution and it seems that Acer is also on track to be with another first on the 3D LCD monitor market – this time with HDMI 1.4a capable 3D-monitors. Acer is preparing to release two new models – one with passively polarized 3D glasses and another one designed for Nvidia’s 3D Vision active shutter glasses and here we are talking about 23.6″ models. However the company is also working on a 27-inch model with 3D capabilities and it seems that Acer will be there first, beating the already announced 27″ Asus monitor that seems to be getting some delays and will probably be available sometime next year. Acer is expected to officially announce and after that soon to have on the market the three new 3D-capable monitors by the end of this year or early beginning of 2011 with the 27-inch model coming a bit after the new 23.6″ models.
So far everything seems good, I mean that a lot of people were asking for 3D-capable 120Hz LCD monitors that will also support the already gaining popularity HDMI 1.4a-based stereo 3D specifications. This in theory means that you will be able to connect not only your 3D PC to these monitors and play stereoscopic 3D content on it, but also your 3D-capable PlayStation 3 console, a Blu-ray 3D standalone player or a set top box that supports 3D TV and so on. And that is actually good, considering the fact that these 3D-capable LCD monitors do come quite more affordable compared to a 3D LCD HDTV or 3D Plasma HDTV, although with not so good panel and/or display size.
When considering to use the more affordable 3D display using a special polarizing filter applied on the LCD panel and a pair of passive polarized glasses to get the 3D effect you will pretty much not have any problem (in theory) with the 3D content coming according to the HDMI 1.4a stereo 3D specifications for frame packaging the left and right video frames. There should be no problems due to the fact that you don’t need active shutter glasses here that must be in sync to the content being displayed on the screen, although with the passive solution you will have to sacrifice half of the horizontal lines in terms of resolution which is not the case with the displays using active shutter glasses.
But if we consider the 120Hz 3D LCD monitor that is designed to be used with Nvidia’s 3D Vision shutter glasses things may become a bit messy, because you need to have the IR transmitter plugged in a USB port and a driver installed in order have them working in sync with the 3D image being shown on the screen. This works without any problems on a PC, since there are drivers for the infrared transmitter available for the PC, but what happens if you want to use the monitor with your PS3 console or any other device that outputs stereo 3D content through a HDMI 1.4a-compliant interface? It seems that the 3D Vision glasses will not be able to properly sync and thus will become unusable, unless some other solution is found like for example the monitor getting a built-in IR transmitter for the glasses that can also provide the proper signaling to the glasses if it is getting 3D content over the HDMI 1.4a interface. This is still something that we don’t know and we’ll probably have to wait a bit more for Acer to give us some more details about their upcoming products and if they’ve found a solution for that possible issue.
And when talking about the HDMI 1.4a stereo 3D specs there is another possible issue that however is not present in the currently available 120Hz 3D LCD monitors that use Dual-Link DVI interface for connection the PC. The limited bandwidth and the availability of only 24Hz per eye 3D mode for 1080p resolution that is present with the HDMI 1.4a (of course designed for movies) as compared to the 120Hz mode in Full HD that is available when using Dual-Link DVI interface. I suppose that the DL DVI will still remain as a main interface for the PC users and the stereo 3D support over the HDMI 1.4a will be used for consumer electronic devices like consoles and movie players, but that is also something to keep an eye on. I’m sure that nobody will be willing to trade the 120Hz Full HD support for HDMI 1.4a connectivity with stereo 3D support, however having both on a product is something to look for. I’m going to keep following on that to keep you posted as soon as more information becomes available…