We’ve head about the Viewsonic V3D241wm-LED 3D-capable LCD monitor back at the beginning of this year when there was information that Viewsonic is working on a 120Hz gaming LCD with a LED backlight that was supposed to come as a 3D Vision certified product. However that monitor has been delayed quite a lot and just recently there was the official announcement as a solution supporting AMD’s HD3D Technology. So far that is pretty much the only 120Hz 3D-capable LCD monitor that was announced as compatible with it and it is hardly available on any markets. What is interesting is the fact that the monitor comes bundled with a pair of wired, yes I’ve said wired, shutter glasses that you need to use to get the 3D effect and apparently it uses the iZ3D Driver. According to iZ3D’s website you will be able to use that monitor not only with the latest Radeon HD 5000 and 6000 series of GPUs, but also with 4000 series of ATI/AMD-based graphic cards as well as with Nvidia GPUs, although with the Radeon 4000 series and Nvidia 4xx/2xx series you might have some sync issues.
iZ3D has a specific version of their driver available for that monitor (version 1.12 build 3907) that also has the required support for the wired shutter glasses, although they seem to connect to the monitor itself and not directly to the PC.
Viewsonic V3D241wm-LED Specifications:
Display size: 23.6″ (60 cm) Wide, 16:9 Full HD
Panel Technology: TN (Twisted Nematic)
Resolution: 1920?1080 @ 120Hz
Response time: 5ms (typical) / 2ms (G to G)
Colours: 16.7M (6 bit + HiFRC)
Contrast ratio: 1000:1 (20,000,000:1 Dynamic)
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Viewing angle: 170°/160°
Pixel pitch: 0.2715 mm
PPI (pixels per inch): 92
Integrated Speakers: 2x 2w (SRS Premium Sounds)
Wall-mount: 100 mm x 100 mm
Connections: Analog (D-sub), Digital (DVI-D), HDMI, Internal Power Supply, 3.5mm audio jack in/out, USB type-B for 3D glasses
Power consumption: 35 W (typical) w/o Audio / 38 W (maximum) with Audio
Dimensions: 563.6?417.8?260.8 mm
Weight: 5.1 Kg
Looking at the picture of the monitor with the shutter glasses I can’t stop wondering how were they able to make them so ugly looking, like a product from 10 years ago, because nowadays people do want to have not only good working products, but also nice looking. Anyway, that is not the point here, there is one question that immediately pops into my mind regarding the glasses and that is what has happened with BitCauldron, who were supposed to offer better performing wireless RF and not IR shutter glasses with lenses that do not block so much light and with all that be more affordable for the end customer? There was a lot of talk that BitCauldron will be the company that will partner with AMD to provide one of the important parts in their open stereo 3D initiative, namely the shutter glasses. And after more than just a few months what we’ve seen so far from them is just a paper launch of a pair of universal active shutter glasses designed for 3D HDTVs and not for PC. Glasses under the brand of Monster Cable with the name MONSTER VISION “MAX 3D” that were initially announced for September launch, but are still not yet available (there is talk about launching them this month, but who knows). Meanwhile the competition in the form of the universal 3D shutter glasses for 3D-capable HDTVs – Xpand X103 is already shipping at a much more affordable price, although the product is based on IR technology. But what about the PC, where are the shutter glasses that you can use with your ATI/AMD-based computer?
HP is now starting to ship their HP Envy 17 3D-capable laptop that is based on a AMD’s solution for stereo 3D, but unlike Viewsonic who use the iZ3D Driver and wired shutter glasses, HP has opted out for using the alternative DDD’s TriDef 3D solution with a pair of different wireless IR shutter glasses that do look better than what Viewsonic is apparently bundling with their monitor. Currently the only other solution based on AMD’s 3D technology is the MSI Wind Top AE2420 3D AIO PC that besides S3D also offers multi-touch capabilities, bundled with iZ3D and a different set of own shutter glasses that supposedly are wireless. What seems to bug me here is that it seems with all the openness nobody has decided to go for a standard pair of wireless shutter glasses that will offer interoperability if you lets say decide to go for two different AMD-based S3D products. What will happen if you want t have two or three pairs of 3D glasses for your 3D computer, monitor or laptop… or if you want to get a 120Hz LCD monitor now and later on just buy a pair of shutter glasses and get stereo 3D support? And what about if you already own a 120Hz LCD (made to support 3D Vision from Nvidia), but you’ve got it to play games at 120Hz and not in 3D and never got the 3D Vision glasses, but now you just want to add a pair of glasses and go for 3D? That would of course be easy of you have a compatible Nvidia-based GPU and get 3D Vision, but what about if you’ve got ATI/AMD-based video card and you want to get S3D support for it? Questions, questions, question… and no answers.
I’m quite happy that I was finally able to make my new 3D HDTV somewhat work as it should with AMD’s HD3D technology, but that took quite a lot of efforts and frankly the whole process is not easy even for a 3D enthusiast like me, let alone for a normal person. I hope that the same situation will not be repeating for the other 3D-capable products, but unfortunately I seriously doubt that. AMD has a lot of catching up to do regarding stereo 3D support and if you ask me they either do not have the resources or more likely the will to properly push their own solution and technology as a competitive solution to 3D Vision. It seems that they kind of rely too much on their third party partners for everything and these companies are much smaller and with much more limited resources as compared to AMD. I’m seriously thinking that AMD does not have very serious interest in stereo 3D or at least they are not showing such, it is more like they just wanted to say we also have the same technology as our competitors in their business presentations. Need I have to mention that competition is not only a healthy thing to have, but also helps drive the further improvement of technology and of course is making things more affordable for the end customers, aside from the fact that they have a choice.
Getting back to iZ3D and DDD, their software solutions were available much longer before AMD started being more active on the stereo 3D front, and these solutions were always GPU independent, meaning that they’ve work on different video cards. However they did not have support for 120Hz displays and active shutter glasses up until now (iZ3D had some not so useful beta support for a while), but were focused more on solutions using passive polarization. So the big push that AMD did was to make available the support for 120Hz technology and active shutter glasses, but there seems to be a lot of work ahead of the company in that area. And while I’m eager to test some of the other 3D products being able to take advantage of AMD’s HD3D technology I’m not too optimistic for the next too months, especially of AMD continues to follow the same policy regarding stereo 3D support that they’ve had up until now. Maybe some time next year things will look much brighter for them, and I do hope this happens sooner than later… ;)