Back in 2011 when Acer released their first Acer HN274H B 3D monitor with 3D Vision 2 and 3D Lightboost technology support and I’ve got a unit for testing I have noticed that the monitor had some problems with the resolution in stereoscopic 3D mode. When it was showing something in stereo 3D mode the image was like with only half of the vertical lines per eye and not all of them showing, very similar to what you are seeing in a passive 3D monitor though there in 3D mode you get half the horizontal lines per eye. After all one of the advantages of active 3D technology is that it is supposed to be offering full 1080p resolution per eye thanks to the shutters in the 3D glasses being used. Notice on the image above how on the 3D Vision setup wizard with the screen showing the hexagon and rectangle stereo 3D test screen how the 2D text above is just fine, however the geometric figures with stereo 3D effect applied to them are like with half horizontal resolution – you see a line of green pixels for the hexagon then a line of what seems to be white pixels then again a line of green and the same goes with the blue for the triangle. Normally these figures need to be a solid color and monitors with this vertical scanline-like or checkerboard-like issue are showing them as if they are with lower resolution then they should actually be. Note that the image above is not a very closeup shot of the screen and yet the effect caused by the issue is clearly visible, so it is easily noticeable at normal viewing distance when using the display.
Back then I’ve tried pretty much anything to see where the problem with the Acer HN274H B monitor not showing the full resolution per eye was, like using different video drivers, trying different GPU configurations, playing with different cables and so on, but nothing helped. So I ended up with the conclusion that there is something wrong with the monitor itself. Nvidia was also aware about the issue when I’ve checked with them and they were looking into what was causing the problem. I should note that when testing the Asus VG278H monitor that was the other 3D Lightboost-capable monitor back at that time there were no such problems as what the Acer monitor has shown in stereo 3D mode, so apparently not all monitors were affected by this. Since that time I’ve tested a few more newer 3D-capable monitor with 3D Lightboost technology and did not see the same problem present or that much apparent at least in any of them, however I just seen a forum post with people complaining of having very similar problem with most of the newer active 3D displays on the market though not all units seem to be affected. This includes monitors such as the Asus VG248QE, Asus VG278HE, Asus VG278HR, BenQ XL2420T and BenQ XL270T, so it seems that the problem is still there and the question is what is casing it? This issue has actually been identified as LCD inversion (alternating positive and negative voltages for pixels used within an LCD panel in order to prevent polarization and thus damage) and thanks to Mark Rejohn we already have a good online test to check your 3D monitor for LCD inversion artifacts, so check out the Moving Inversion Patterns Test.
With that said, if you have a 3D-capable monitor that is suffering from the same problem as described above (seeming like half horizontal resolution) when in stereo 3D mode and by the way this issue is also visible with moving objects when you are using the display in 120Hz 3D mode, though everything seems normal in 60Hz, you are welcome to report it in the comments below or the forum topic linked below. Please post the model of your 3D display as well as a production date (should be printed on the information sticker at the back of the display). You can easily check to see if your 3D monitor is affected by the same issue and how strong the problem is by going through the 3D Vision setup wizard and taking a closer look at the Hardware Test image with the geometric figures that is on the photo above, so you actually don’t need anything special to test, though the mentioned test above can also help if you are using a compatible browser.
By now all of you should be aware of the fact that the newer 3D Vision ready monitors (including 3D displays in gaming laptops) supporting the Lightboost technology are a much better choice for stereoscopic 3D gaming than the older models, but it turns out that going for a Lightboost-enabled 3D monitor can benefit 2D gamers that want to take advantage of the supported 120Hz refresh rate. What the Lightboost technology does is to strobe the backlight instead of having it always on like on traditional monitors, and while this leads a lower overall brightness in 2D mode (actually making it look brighter in stereo 3D mode and with less crosstalk). The strobing of the backlight with Lightboost enabled makes the backlight turn on only when the pixels have reached their final stage in building the new image and the backlight stays off while the pixels transition from one stage to another. As a result all motion blur is being eliminated, making fast movements appear much smoother now. You can see how the image is being shown on the display without Lightboost enabled and with Lightboost on on the slow-motion video above made by Mark Rejhon who has experimented a bit with Lightboost and shared his interesting findings in our forum.
If you already have a 3D Vision ready setup and are using Acer HN274H B, ASUS VG728H or BENQ XL2420TX Lightboost-enabled 3D Vision ready monitor with integrated IR emitter, or have ASUS VG248QE, ASUS VG278HE, BENQ XL2420T or BENQ XL2411T along with an external 3D Vision IR emitter you can easily enable Lightboost in 2D mode as well. In fact some of you may have unintentionally seen this happen after exiting a game played in stereo 3D mode with the monitor remaining in 3D mode when back in the desktop (it seems darker than normal). All you have to do is set the Nvidia driver to always have the 3D monitor set in 3D mode from the Stereoscopic 3D panel int he Nvidia Control Center. The only disadvantage of having Lightboost enabled in 2D mode (have the monitor always run in stereo 3D mode) is that the brightness is lower than it is with Lightboost not being enabled, so you may need to increase the contrast more than you need it in stereo 3D mode. And while the lower brightness caused by the backlight not being constantly on due to the Lightboost being active can be considered as a disadvantage, these 3D monitors have way too high brightness in 2D mode anyway, so the reduction isn’t that bad, it actually brings the level of brightness closer to the level that won’t tire your eyes that much over a long periods of use… and you have no motion blur anymore.
And if you are not using 3D Vision and only have a 3D Vision-capable display, but no integrated IR emitter or an external one you would have to resort to using and EDID INF override driver to make the Nvidia drivers think that you actually have a compatible 3D monitor with full support for 3D Vision. This actually makes the ASUS VG248QE, ASUS VG278HE, BENQ XL2420T or BENQ XL2411T 120Hz capable monitors a lot more interesting for people that are willing to be able to play games in 120Hz 2D mode and don’t care much about stereoscopic 3D gaming. The reason you need to trick the video drivers you have 3D Vision is that the Lightboost technology has been developed for use in stereoscopic 3D gaming, and though it can also benefit people playing in 2D, probably nobody though about that at the time is has been developed. So without the drivers thinking you have support for 3D Vision (even if you don’t actually have IR emitter) you can still enable Lightboost in 2D mode.
The BenQ XL2420T and BenQ XL2420TX are the first 3D Vision-ready 3D LCD monitors that come with support for 3D over DisplayPort 1.1, so you actually have an alternative to using the Dual-Link DVI interface they they are also equipped with for 3D. You should have in mind however that there are some specific limitations and requirements when using 3D Vision over DisplayPort with these displays and you should be well aware of these if you plan on purchasing any of these two displays for use in stereo 3D and that goes not only regarding the use of DP. The BenQ XL2420T/TX are still the only 24-inch 3D Vision-ready monitors that support the new 3D Lightboost technology for providing increased level of brightness when in stereo 3D mode, the other two alternatives are from Asus and Acer, but they are 27-inch models and they do not feature DisplayPort connectivity. The support for 3D vision over display port has been introduced in the R290 video drivers from Nvidia and more specifically in the 290.36 Beta drivers, so it will not work with older drivers.
The BenQ XL2420T is the more affordable version that does not come bundled with 3D Vision 2 active shutter glasses and it also does not feature a built-in IR emitter for the 3D Vision glasses. This is very important, because without the built-in IR emitter you will not be able to use the HDMI interface of the monitor for stereo 3D, even if you connect an external IR emitter to your PC. Using an external infrared emitter for 3D Vision glasses gives you only the ability to use the monitor in stereo 3D mode with a PC over the DL-DVI or the DisplayPort 1.1 interface. This means that the BenQ XL2420T monitor is more suitable for gaming in 120Hz 2D mode or using for stereo 3D content only with a PC, you should not get the T-only version of the monitor if you plan on using it with a PS3 in 3D or any other HDMI 1.4-based stereo 3D-capable devices, because you would not be able to. The HDMI interface present on the BenQ XL2420T monitor is 2D-capable only and you are of course not able to use 120Hz refresh rate over the HDMI, you need to use the other interfaces for the higher refresh rate.
The BenQ XL2420TX is the more expensive version that comes with a built-in infrared emitter and a pair of 3D Vision 2 active shutter glasses, so you are ready to use the monitor in 3D mode over DL-DVI, DisplayPort or HDMI 1.4. Using this monitor over the DisplayPort interface however has some limitations based on the GeForce GPU you have in your computer, so have in mind that if your video card is based on GeForce 8 series, GeForce 9 series, or GeForce GTX 295/280/260 GPU you would still need an external IR emitter to use the monitor over the DP interface. Of course this is only related to using DisplayPort, if you have any of these older GPUs you can still use the built-in IR emitter over the DL-DVI interface. If your GPU is any newer you would be able to take advantage of the DisplayPort 1.1 connectivity with the built-in IR emitter inside the display. And one more thing, currently NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround setups are still not supported over DisplayPort, so if you plan on using a three monitor 3D setup, then you’ll have to stick to using the Dual-Link DVI interface for now.