You’ve probably heard Intel talking about stereoscopic 3D support on their newer generation of processors with integrated graphics, but you haven’t seen much of these in action showing some stereo 3D content, right? Me neither, so I’ve decided to try and build a small form factor HTPC system based on Intel platform that will be used for stereoscopic 3D movie playback – both Blu-ray 3D and 3D video clips. This has turned out to be a bit of a challenge as apparently Intel is not very keen on sharing all the information that you may want to know if you want to make a 3D-capable PC based on their platform with no external graphics to handle the stereoscopic 3D output. Apparently when talking about integrated graphics from Intel playing games in stereoscopic 3D mode is not an option, but for 3D movies it should still be a good solution.
What you need when you decide to build an Intel-based video PC that should be capable of handling stereoscopic 3D playback is a motherboard with HDMI interface that supports HDMI 1.4 output and an Intel processor that supports Intel’s InTRU 3D technology. The InTRU 3D support is a very important thing, you should be aware that going for a Intel processor with no support for InTRU 3D technology will make it impossible to output 3D content in HDMI 1.4 frame packaged format that a 3D HDTV would be able to interpret and display in 3D automatically. You’d need a second generation Intel Core processor (Sandy Bridge) LGA1155 in order to have support for InTRU 3D, and this means Intel Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 CPU, Pentium processors won’t do as they don’t feature InTRU 3D support. I’ve went in for ASROCK H67M-ITX/HT motherboard with Intel Core i3 2100 processor as the most affordable desktop model that supports InTRU 3D technology in order for the HTPC to work with software Blu-ray 3D video players. The rest of the hardware – mini ITX case, 500GB 2.5-inch hard drive, 4GB DDR3 memory and an external Blu-ray drive connected over USB, although you can also use a mobile Blu-ray optical drive.
On the software side, Windows 7 OS and after that I’ve tried all three software players supporting Blu-ray 3D playback that are currently available – PowerDVD 12, WinDVD 11 and Total Media Theatre 5. The good news is that all of the three worked perfectly fine with the Intel stereoscopic 3D output for Blu-ray 3D movie playback, but the one that I’ve chosen to use in the end was PowerDVD 12. Cyberlink’s player works very well for a single click solution for playback for both 2D and 3D videos, regardless of the format, so this makes it very suitable for use on an HTPC, the other two solutions did not work that well or were not so easy to use the way I wanted them to be. In the end however I remain with the feeling that I could’ve made a very similar solution based on AMD platform with integrated graphics, for example AMD A75 with FM1 processor that would’ve been a bit more affordable in terms of price and still more than capable of handling Blu-ray 3D playback. The fact that Intel considers the support for InTRU 3D technology as a premium feature and makes it available only on the Core processor and not also on the more affordable Pentium lines, doesn’t make me that happy. Still if you are considering the idea of building an HDPC system for 3D video playback and you don’t know where to start, I hope that the above information could be helpful for you as some of it I had to find the hard way – trying different things until I made them work. Again I have to blame Intel for not being very talkative about the stereoscopic 3D support and their InTRU 3D technology which in the end is making it harder to users to take advantage of these features.
Tags:3D HTPC·3D Video PC·blu-ray 3d·intel 3d·intel 3d support·intel intru 3d·intel stereoscopic 3d·intru 3d·stereo 3d
One of the cool new 3D-related features that was introduced in the new PowerDVD 11 player and surprisingly not even mentioned is the support for a stereoscopic 3D menu and navigation for playback of DVD and Blu-ray movies in the extra Cinema Mode. This special Cinema Mode is intended for use with a remote control when you are playing back 3D movies on your 3D HDTV in order to ensure more convenient playback. You can of course also use it on a PC with a 3D monitor and without a remote control, but then you will probably be Ok with the traditional menu of the PowerDVD player. To switch from the traditional interface to the Cinema Mode you need to click on the small TV-like icon situated in the upper right corner of the player. Then you need to activate the Stereo View or just hit CTRL + T or press the button on the IR emitter if you are using 3D Vision system for example.
In the Settings section of the Cinema View mode you can change the type of 3D display you have, the type of the 3D source video as well as if yo wan to use 2D or 3D playback. However these should normally be auto-detected and you should not need to change them. Aside from support for 3D Vision, you can use this 3D mode with HDMI 1.4 HDTVs, 3D DLP TVs using DLP Checkerboard pattern, passive polarized 3D displays as well as the most common anaglyph with red-cyan glasses. As I’ve already mentioned in this mode you can only play movies from discs, you cannot playback 3D video files for example. Unfortunately I could not take screenshot of the actual menu in 3D that you get overlayed when playing back a movie as no software was able to do a capture of the displayed image in either 2D or 3D format.
So if you get the new PowerDVD 11 you should try this function, especially if you are building an HTPC system that you want to be able to play back Blu-ray 3D movies very easily in a similar fashion to a standalone Blu-ray 3D video player – easier control and navigation with an additional remote, especially if you have autorun active for Blu-ray movies and the Cinema Mode activated by default. Don’t forget that if you want all the features including the Blu-ray 3D movie playback support you will need to get the PowerDVD 11 Ultra version.
– For more information about the new features in PowerDVD 11, including the 3D ones…
Tags:3D HTPC·blu-ray 3d·Cinema Mode·PowerDVD 11·PowerDVD 11 3D·PowerDVD 11 Ultra·PowerDVD 3D·Stereo 3D Menu
Video PCs or HTPCs have evolved over time from simple tools to play back standard definition videos to 720p and 1080p resolution, so the next logical step for them is to be able to also play back stereo 3D content. Of course the hardware is not the issue here, as it is already quite powerful and capable of handling HD content in 3D format too, so it is more like having software support for easy playback of stereo 3D content on a 3D-capable 3D HDTV. The standalone multimedia players like Western Digital TV, Divco Tvix, Popcorn Hour and a lot of others using specialized multimedia processors from Sigma Designs or Realtek still don’t have the software support for 3D video playback, so you will have to go for a PC for now. The good news is that there is already an user developed plugin for one of the popular media center-like software – Media Portal, that will allow you to playback different format 3D videos with different output modes directly from the software interface. The plugin is called MP3D and is actually a wrapper for the 3dtv.at Stereoscopic Transformation filter that comes as a part of the Stereoscopic Player…
– For more information about the MP3D plugin for the Media Portal software…
Tags:3d hdtv·3D HTPC·3D Plugin·3D Video PC·Media Portal·Media Portal 3D·MP3D·stereo 3d·stereoscopic player·Stereoscopic Transformation filter