The company 3DTV Corp is a maker of more affordable “generic” 3D active shutter glasses for different 3D-capable products and they apparently also offer alternative glasses for 3D Vision as well… or more precisely said compatible with 3D Vision. The 3DTV Corp shutter glasses model NV1 pictured above with orange frames are available for $68 USD. They should be compatible with the Nvidia IR emitter and work with 3D monitors and 3D projectors (3D laptops may or may not be compatible, there is contradicting information) that have the infrared emitter either built-in or connected externally, so you can use them as an extra pair that comes cheaper than Nvidia extra pair of glasses only. The glasses should also be compatible with DLP Link 3D HDTVs and 3D DLP projectors as well as other devices that do come with the standard 3-pin mini-DIN VESA stereo connector (Nvidia Quadro cards for example) by using an additional 3DTV Corp GEN2 Emitter. Have in mind that these glasses are cheaper for a reason and in order to make them more affordable, their maker decided to go for the use of a standard single use CR2032 battery instead of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The operating range is up to 10 meters according to the manufacturer.
The other more interesting offering from 3DTV Corp is their 3D Window PC-RF Kit that uses an RF (radio) emitter instead of IR (infrared light) for communicating with the shutter glasses. This kit is also compatible with Nvidia’s 3D Vision, but it does not need the IR emitter, apparently the bundled RF emitter in the kit is emulating the infrared emitter effectively replacing it. This kit including the RF emitter and a pair of glasses is available for $125 USD, and here the glasses use a rechargeable battery and they actually look more like the original glasses from Nvidia. Having RF emitter instead of IR one means that you get up to 15 meters, no direct line of sight is needed anymore and you should not have interferences with other infrared devices. The RF emitter also has support for plugging into standard 3-pin mini-DIN VESA stereo connector, making these radio glasses compatible with other 3D devices as well.
Have in mind that I have not personally tested these two types of alternative glasses and that you should be careful as some of the non-original shutter glasses that claim 3D Vision compatibility actually do have some trouble and can give you a lot of headaches. So anyone that actually has tried these glasses is more than welcome to share feedback on how well they work and how they compare to the original shutter glasses from Nvidia!
Neil Schneider from MTBS3D.com has managed to find and take an interview from James Mentz, President & CEO of Bit Cauldron while at CES 2010. I’ve already written a bit about them and their plans to Offer Alternative to Nvidia’s 3D Vision Shutter Glasses a few days ago. Bit Cauldron still don’t reveal every detail, but have told some interesting things and they sound quite convinced about the advantages of their glasses, although we’ll still have to wait for the second half to see them on the market. It seems that Bit Cauldron has been working for quite some time together with AMD/ATI in order to bring stereoscopic 3D support to the owners of ATI-based GPUs. But when talking about gaming you’ll still have to use some sort of middleware software like iZ3D’s Driver or DDD’s TriDef as it seems that these two companies will be supporting Bit Cauldron’s glasses at first. James Mentz said that they are also open to work with Nvidia (the green company) and others of course in order to work on standards that in the end will benefit the end customer the most, because he’ll be able to use just one solution for all his stereoscopic 3D needs – TV, movies, games, photos… no mater if it is for the PC, the HDTV, the console or something else. So lets see how things will develop and meanwhile I’m getting more and more eager to test these glasses…
I’m sure you probably haven’t heard about the company Bit Cauldron, I sure haven’t up until recently. It is a relatively new company that is just starting to be mentioned regarding the exponentially increasing interest around Stereoscopic 3D everything. Bit Cauldron was formed in November 2008 to focus purely on enabling a world-class 3D experience at home by addressing multiple critical gaps in the 3D ecosystem. The three founders of the company are quite interesting with Sam Caldwell, VP of Engineering at Bit Cauldron that is also founder of a ZigBee RF/ID company, with ZigBee being the wireless radio communication technology that is being used by Bit Cauldron’s products. Bit Cauldron has an advisory board, also made up of quite interesting people, including guys like Geoff Phillips, ATI Vice President and General Manager of the Digital Television Business Unit. I’m mentioning ATI as it seems that Bit Cauldron and their first product in the form of active shutter glasses for stereoscopic 3D support will be used by ATI for providing a complete Sterescopic 3D solution to be used with ATI cards. This will however require you to have a high refresh rate display – one of the new 120Hz LCDs for instance, along with additional software that will be able to provide the stereoscopic 3D content to the display such as iZ3D’s driver.
Currently there are two types of shutter glasses being listed on the company’s website and these are: BC3000 DLP Link 3D Glasses and BC5000 Radio Frequency 3D Glasses. The first one – BC3000 is designed to be used with 3D HDTVs or 3D-ready projectors that utilize DLP Link technology with the glasses having a built in DLP Link receiver. The second product – BC5000 is designed to be used with 3D-Ready computer displays, these glasses incorporate an IEEE 802.15.4-2003 (ZigBee radio) transceiver for communicating with the computer (using USB connector) or again with a 3D HDTV incorporating a VESA 1997.11 standard stereoscopic connector. One thing to note regarding the BC5000 glasses is that they seem to be designed for usage with ATI GPUs as the official website mentions on the product page that there are: Transmitters available for 3D-Ready TVs and PCs with AMD GPUs. So this might as well be what ATI has been referring to Stereoscopic 3D support available for their current line of Radeon HD 5xxx series GPUs.
A USB transmitter can attach the BC5000 shutter glasses to an Advanced Micro Devices’ GPU to create the word’s best 3D experience for 3D Blu-ray movie viewing and Gaming.
The BC5000 3D Glasses achieve their 3D Synchronization using Radio Frequency Technology (the ZigBee radio) which is claimed to offer: no line-of-sight interferences, no infra-red remote control interference, no florescent light and sunlight interference – things that might sometimes create problems to solutions that use IR (infrared) transmitter for synchronization like 3D Vision for example. Bit Cauldron’s synchronization technology is also claimed to eliminate ghosting with multi-microsecond accuracy, offer adjustable duty cycle for multiple display types and provide glass lenses that have clearer and brighter picture. The lenses of the glasses should offer multi-frequency 50/100Hz, 60/120Hz, 84 Hz operation and be even 240 Hz display ready, which is something that still needs to be verified when the true high Hz TV sets hit the market later this year (3D Vision glasses should also be compatible with these). The battery inside the BC5000 3D Glasses is a rechargeable Lithium Polymer one that can be recharged over a micro USB connector up to 500 times with each full charge providing at up to 60 hours of use.
Bit Cauldron states that their shutter glasses are available only under private labels and to OEM’s, meaning that you won’t be able to get it directly from them, but buy it with your video card for instance or branded with another name. Most likely ATI will offer these as a kit with a suitable display to complement a stereoscopic 3D solution that will work on PCs with ATI video cards, but we’ll have to wait and see along with checking of the shutter glasses are as good as Bit Cauldron claims they are. Also these shutter glasses are expected to be more affordable than other alternatives, but there is still no word on what the prices will be. Another thing to not is the fact that if they will rely on iZ3D’s Driver is the fact that the latest software still has only beta shutter support that is having issues with syncing the signal, so we’ll also need new driver. So don’t wait to see these right away available on the market, but I’ll try to keep you updated as I’m quite interested in how will things develop…