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Review of the Philips 236G3DHSB Passive 3D Monitor

February 8th, 2013 · 8 Comments · Other S3D Tech

philips-236g3dh-3d-monitor


It is time for another 3D monitor review, this time of the 23-inch Philips 236G3DHSB passive 3D monitor that promises nice 3D features, good performance at an attractive price point. This Philips monitor uses passive 3D technology (FPR 3D) on top of an TN LCD panel withe matte screen not a glossy one, it features two HDMI 1.4 interfaces with support for frame packaged content as well as Side by Side and Over/Under and there is also a built-in 2D to 3D conversion functionality. It seems to deliver what pretty much all other passive 3D monitors offer you, but the real question is what you can expect from the monitor in terms of performance and especially how good it handles stereo 3D content…

Philips 236G3DHSB Specifications:

Panel Size: 23-inches (58.4cm)
Monitor Type: TN TFT-LCD with LED Backlight
3D Technology: FPR 3D Technology
Pixel Pitch: 0.265×0.265mm
Brightness: 250 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio (typ.): 1000:1
SmartContrast: 20,000,000:1
Response Time (typ.): 5ms
SmartResponse Time (typ.): 2ms
Viewing Angles: 170° (H) / 160° (V) @ C/R > 10
3D Viewing Angle: 80° (H) / 12° (V) @ 3D CT < 10 Input: 2x HDMI 1.4, 1x VGA Power Consumption: On Mode 28.39W (typ.); Sleep (Standby) 0.5W; Off 0.3W Phys. Dimension with Stand (WxHxD): 566x426x219 mm Weight with stand: 3.26kg

What kind of surprised me here in a good way is that Philips, unlike most other manufacturers of FPR 3D displays lists the specifications for both 2D and 3D mode of the monitor. They list 12 degrees of vertical viewing angle (6 up and 6 down from the center) for when in 3D mode, something that most others kind of miss to mention in their specifications, and not everyone knows about the very narrow vertical viewing angle that is actually common for the passive 3D technology. And this technology limitation is more of a problem for the passive 3D monitors, because you watch them from closer distance, than for 3D HDTVs where you have larger screen that you watch from a distance. The other common drawback for passive 3D technology is the half vertical resolution you get when in stereoscopic 3D mode, though the technology also has its advantages over active 3D solutions as well. These are things like more affordable glasses, no flickering etc.


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With the monitor you get two pairs of passive 3D glasses, one is traditional with full frame (the lenses are solid plastic, not from foil) and the other one is a clip on to use over prescription glasses. So not the cheapest possible solution for the 3D glasses, and the lenses and the frame are comfortably big as I’ve seen other manufacturers presenting a bit smaller and not so comfortable glasses. The good thing with passive 3D technology is that you can easily find a lot of alternatives for 3D glasses that will be compatible, from more affordable traditional solutions to specially made designer glasses, they just need to be compatible with the RealD technology that is also used in many 3D movie theaters.


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As already mentioned, this monitor has two HDMI 1.4 inputs and supports Frame Packaged 3D input, but you should be aware that using this is not always the best choice, especially if you plan on using the 3D monitor for gaming. HDMI 1.4 frame packaging is limited to 720p 50/60Hz 3D (good for gaming) ор 1080p 24Hz 3D (good for movies), and while you also get support for Side by Side (both L-R and R-L) and Top/Bottom and Bottom-Top modes that you can manually activate from the monitor menu, these do come with additional reduction in resolution resulting in not so good quality on top of the already halved vertical resolution that you get with FPR 3D. One of the best things of the passive 3D monitors however is that regardless of what interface you are using you can directly feed them with Row Interleaved 3D data and have it displayed in stereo 3D, and this is the best choice for gaming as it helps in minimizing the input lag and gives you the best possible resolution and refresh rate you can get out of the monitor – 1080p at 60Hz in stereo 3D mode with half vertical resolution. The monitor comes with the TriDef 3D software as a solution for playing games in stereo 3D mode, though if a game (of application) has native stereoscopic 3D support and works with Row Interleaved output you can directly use that without the need of intermediate software.


philips-236g3dh-uncalibrated


Time to check the color performance of the Philips 236G3DHSB passive 3D monitor as well as to see how the measured default brightness and contrast levels measure up to the specifications announced by Philips. As expected from a TN LCD panel the color reproduction out of the box is nothing special, but it is still Ok for a TN panel, though we’ve seen models that perform worse. The maximum brightness level measured with the factory settings was 262 cd/m2 which is a bit over the officially announced 250, the black level is 0.24 cd/m2 bringing the contrast up to 1103:1, again over the 1000:1 typical from the specs.


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With a color calibration performed trying to retain the maximum possible brightness level with best color reproduction quality we actually can achieve surprisingly good results. With maximum brightness level of 222 cd/m2 the display is able to provide really good color reproduction as with average of 0.5 Delta E it is really comparable to good higher-end panels in that aspect. The black level remains at 0.24 cd/m2, so the contrast has to suffer a slight reduction, but it still remains quite high at 920:1. So up until now we are seeing very good performance results, but lets us see how things will be in stereoscopic 3D mode.


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Starting with the extreme black and white crosstalk test photos to see how things look in close to worst case scenarios, though you’ll hardly get in similar extreme conditions when using the display normally in stereo 3D mode. The situation with the white is really good, the black is also quite good and these are extreme case scenarios with really high contrasting objects on completely white or black. Here the results are very similar to what you can get from pretty much any more recent passive 3D monitor.


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The sailboats 3D video test shows great results, no visible crosstalk at all. Most 3D monitors show a bit at this test, so not having any here means very good performance. Most 3D monitors show a just bit if they are performing well, while 3D HDTVs usually don’t have crosstalk at all in this test.


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And finally some real-world tests using the game Tomb Raider Underworld in stereoscopic 3D mode, a good example to show that the Philips 236G3DHSB does indeed have just a little bit of crosstalk and performs very well in stereoscopic 3D mode. The monitor has a Smart Response mode available in the OSD menu that is intended to control the overdrive functionality of the monitor (to make the pixel response time faster, from 5ms to 2ms), but there is not that much of a difference visual in terms of actual responsiveness of the display, it does not visually influence the level of ghosting/crosstalk either. This feature probably could be beneficial for a 120Hz refresh rate monitor, but for a 60Hz model like this one it does not make a visual difference.

The conclusion about the Philips 236G3DHSB passive 3D monitor is that it offers all the features that you’d expect to get from an FPS 3D monitor, provides very good performance in stereoscopic 3D mode and comes at a decent price (you can find it for about 200 Euro in Europe or even a little less). It might not be the best passive 3D monitor out there, but it certainly shows good potential to be among the ones that provide really good results. Of course there are passive 3D displays with IPS LCD panels available, but that does not help much in stereo 3D mode and can be considered as an extra only for when using the monitor in 2D mode. So if you are looking for a 23-inch passive 3D monitor and are on tighter budget, you might want to check the Philips 236G (236G3DHSB) out as an option if it is available on your local market, as it seems that this particular model is not available everywhere.

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AOC d2757Ph is a New 27-inch Passive 3D Monitor with IPS Panel

November 6th, 2012 · 7 Comments · General 3D News


Following the release of the AOC d2357Ph 23-inch passive 3D monitor with thin bezel earlier this year (5.8 mm thin frame), AOC has just announced a new larger model with the same style and functionality – the AOC d2757Ph. The new bigger model uses LED backlight IPS panel, supports HDMI 1.4 interface with frame packaging as well as row interleaved 3D and comes with built-in 2D to 3D conversion capabilities. Another interesting feature of the d2757Ph is that it comes with a detachable stand, which allows to transforms the display in no time at all into a large presentation monitor or giant digital picture frame. This also makes it a perfect second display for your notebook. The new 27-inch FPR (Film-type Patterned Retarder) 3D monitor from AOC comes with 2 pairs of polarized 3D glasses, 1 normal and 1 clip on for people wearing prescription glasses. And it is bundled with the TriDef 3D software for stereoscopic 3D gaming support on your PC.

AOC d2757Ph 3D Monitor Specifications:

– Monitor Size: 27″ (68.6cm)
– Panel type: IPS, LED backlight
– Viewing Angle: 178°/178° (CR 10)
– Response Time: 5ms
– Maximum Brightness: 250 cd/m²
– Contrast Ratio: 20.000.000:1, 1.000:1 (typical)
– Pixel / Dot / Pitch: 0.311 (H) x 0.311 (V)
– 3D technology type: 3D FPR (Passive 3D)
– Maximum Resolution: 1920×1080@60 Hz
– Video Connectors: 1x D-SUB 15, 2x HDMI 1.4
– Power Consumption: On: <29 W, Standby: <0.5 W, Off: <0.5 W

The AOC d2757Ph passive 3D monitor should be available on the market starting sometime in this month with a recommended retail price of 319 EURO or £259 (UK Pounds) in Europe.

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Review of the 23-inch Asus VG23AH Passive 3D IPS Display

June 21st, 2012 · 23 Comments · Other S3D Tech


Back in April, when Asus announced their VG23AH passive 3D monitor with IPS panel I was quite interested in the product and now, a bit later I’ve got the chance to do some testing with a sample unit that I got from Asus for this review. I’m assuming that you already know what are the differences between an active and a passive 3D solution, so I will not be comparing the two technologies here, but instead will focus on the features and performance of the Asus display in question. The 23-inch Asus VG23AH 3D monitor uses passive 3D technology (FPR 3D) on top of an IPS LCD panel, it features HDMI 1.4 interface with support for frame packaged content as well as Side by Side and Over/Under and there is also a built-in 2D to 3D conversion functionality. What is more interesting, especially for stereo 3D gamers is the fact that Asus does not bundle this 3D monitor with any kind of stereoscopic 3D solution for transforming 3D games into stereo 3D ones. This is neither an “Optimized for GeForce” product, not it comes with the TriDef 3D software or the iZ3D Driver, however the good news is you can use pretty much any product that provides you with Row Interleaved output together with the monitor to output in 3D.


Asus VG23AH Specifications:

Panel Size: 23.0″(58.4cm), Full HD 1920×1080
Panel Type: IPS LCD, LED backlight
Pixel Pitch: 0.2652mm
Brightness(Max): 250 cd/m2
ASUS Smart Contrast Ratio (ASCR): 80000000:1 (dynamic)
Viewing Angle (CR>=10): 178°(H)/178°(V)
Response Time: 5ms (Gray to Gray)
Display Colors: 16.7M
3D Technology: FPR 3D Technology
Signal Input: 2x HDMI 1.4, D-Sub, DVI-D
Power Consumption: <40W (Typical), Power Saving/Power Off Mode <0.5W Phys. Dimension with Stand (WxHxD): 550.2x419.5x250mm Net Weight (Esti.): 6.5kg



The Asus VG23AH monitor comes bundled with two pairs of passive 3D glasses – one normal and one clip-on for use with prescription glasses. This is a typical configuration for passive 3D monitors and the good news is that the monitor is compatible with pretty much any RealD-compatible passive 3D pair of glasses, these can be found really cheap, but you can also use them together with a better quality, more comfortable and nicer looking while still affordable glasses such as the ones made by Oskav that I’ve also tested the display with and they work perfectly fine. There are of course much more expensive designer passive 3D glasses available, but going for such is a bit more of a personal preference, I probably am not going to spend a three number figure for passive 3D glasses, unless I really like the design a LOT. With that said, the standard glasses that Asus bundled with the display are quite OK, but they were a bit small for me personally and the larger Oskav glasses (both the frame and the lenses) that I’ve had handy were more comfortable for use with the display. The clip-on glasses were OK, but I prefer to wear normal glasses on top of my prescription glasses when using stereo 3D monitor than to use clip-on glasses, again this is more a matter of personal preference.



The monitor comes with two HDMI 1.4 connectors that support 3D as well as with a single DVI and single VGA connectors and there are some things that you should know when using these different video interfaces, especially regarding the viewing of stereo 3D content. Officially only the HDMI 1.4 interfaces support stereo 3D since the monitor does not come with a software solution to allow you to output any kind of stereoscopic 3D content, but since this is a traditional passive 3D display you can use most of the stereoscopic 3D software configured to output in Row Interleaved mode. There are some functions however that will only work with the HDMI interface for example the manual switching capability to Side by Side or Over/Under mode from the monitor’s menu is only active when using the HDMI interface. The built-in 2D to 3D autoconversion functionality is available for all interfaces and it does quite a decent job, although I won’t recommend it over any software that supports stereoscopic 3D output or a video that has a 3D version. You can also control the level of simulated depth when using the 2D to 3D conversion feature, something that is good to play with if you are getting more ghosting if you increase the strength of the simulated effect more. And a bit more on the levels of ghosting that the VG23AH provides you with in a bit.

If you’ve seen the active 3D model VG236HE from Asus that was released back in 2010 you may notice quite a few similarities between it and the VG23AH, at least in terms of the external appearance of the two products. Of course being able to review the Asus VG236HE 3D monitor I’ll have to compare it to this one in terms of performance and the good news is that the new model performs better in terms of stereoscopic 3D quality compared to the older active 3D solution. That of course does not necessarily make it the better choice and if it did not perform better I’d personally be disappointed, especially since there is quite a big time difference between the release of the two products. One of the things that I was not too happy when the VG236HE was released was the glossy display that it used, now that drawback has been improved significantly with the VG23AH, it is still a glossy display, but with much better coating that behaves almost like a matte display than a glossy one.



Considering the fact that we have an IPS LCD panel used in the Asus VG23AH it is normal to expect good out of the box results in terms of color reproduction, however the factory settings disappoint a bit. The most likely reason for that is that Asus wanted to really keep up to their specs and provide really high brightness – the one they list in the specs is covered. It is hard to say anything about the incredibly high dynamic contrast ratio that Asus claims for this monitor, however at the factory settings I’ve measured around 0.29 cd/m2 black point with 855:1 contrast ratio.



Calibrating the monitor does bring really good results with very little brightness loss, still over 200 cd/m2. The color accuracy after calibration is what you’d expect from an IPS panel, but the funny thing actually is that the latest generation of 120Hz TN panels such as the one used in the Asus VG278H active 3D monitor does provide just slightly worse results after calibration. This just means that TN LCDs are starting to catch up to IPS at least in color accuracy, although they are still behind in terms of the width of the viewing angles, on the other hand you can say that IPS is also catching up in terms of response time and getting close to what TN can do. After the calibration the black point of the monitor remains at pretty much the same level, but due to the decrease of the total brightness level you can expect that the contrast level will be lower. Don’t forget that this calibration is done in a way to achieve best results while retaining the highest brightness level possible, so at the cost of some more brightness you may also achieve better results if you need.

Now, since I’ve mentioned the response time I’ll have to talk a bit more about it here as it is something important that may affect your experience using this monitor in stereo 3D mode. You should know that the response time of the pixels in a 3D display is a very important factor as if they are not fast enough you are going to be getting more of the so called crosstalk or ghosting. And while IPS is still not fast enough in terms of response time for 120Hz panels in active 3D monitors, it is quite Ok for use in the 60Hz passive 3D displays. With that said you should not expect perfect results on the Asus VG23AH with the stock settings as the Trace Free function of the display is set to 60 (this controls the level of overdrive used to improve the response time of the pixels) and this actually introduced quite a lot of crosstalk/ghosting with contrasting objects that are moving. So you’d want to lower the Trace Free value than the stock 60, going down to 20 makes things more acceptable and you may want to even go to 0.



Time for some crosstalk/ghosting testing, starting with the extreme black and white test photos that I’m using to see how things look in close to worst case scenarios, though you’ll hardly get things so bad when using the display normally in stereo 3D mode. The moire effect you can see on the white in the photo is caused by the “interlacing” of the display when viewed trough one of the lenses of the glasses, when viewed normally you will not see this effect, so don’t be bothered by it. The situation with the white is really good and the black is also quite good and these are extreme case scenarios with really high contrasting objects on completely white or black. Here, as with other passive 3D solutions you should be aware that you should keep within a very narrow vertical viewing angle in order not to loose the stereoscopic 3D effect, otherwise the level of crosstalk may significantly increase to a state where you’ll completely loose the feeling of volume. The tests here were performed at a vertical viewing angle of zero, normally you should be OK within 5 to 7 degrees, but not more, so be careful when you setup a passive 3D monitor and don’t blame it if you are getting bad results just because you are not using it right.



The sailboats 3D video test exposes just some faint and very hardly visible ghosting, so again very good performance here, although not perfect as there are some 3D displays that don’t show any crosstalk at all on this test.



And finally some real-world tests using the game Tomb Raider Underworld in stereoscopic 3D mode, a good example to show that the Asus VG23AH does indeed have just a little crosstalk and performs very well in stereoscopic 3D mode. The top of the screen does not show any crosstalk at all if you lower the Trace Free, if you keep it at the default value of 60 you will see some afterimage. The bottom part has some faint crosstalk visible, but no color ghosting due to the overdrive (something we’re used in seeing with active 3D monitors).

So what is the conclusion about the 23-inch Asus VG23AH passive 3D IPS monitor? A very good IPS monitor for use in 2D mode and very well performing in stereo 3D mode passive 3D display, not to mention that it comes with quite attractive price for a monitor with an IPS panel and 3D features. If you don’t have a license for iZ3D or TriDef 3D you’d probably have to add in the expense for getting one as there isn’t one bundled, but you’ll need that only if you plan on playing games in stereo 3D mode on it. And if you are not bothered by the fact that you are limited to 60Hz in 2D mode and you have only half vertical resolution when you are using the display in stereo 3D mode, then you might as well go for the Asus VG23AH instead of a more expensive active 3D monitor. It is a bit of a shame that this monitor did not get into the “Optimized for GeForce” Nvidia program as it would’ve made it an almost perfect solution for stereoscopic 3D use out of the box, but still Asus did a surprisingly good job with this product. So if you are considering to go for a passive 3D monitor you’d probably want to put the Asus VG23AH among the top models in the list of possible candidates.

If you want to get the Asus VG23AH 23-inch LED-lit IPS Passive 3D Monitor…

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