Last week I was able to see a live demonstration of the Nvidia 3DTV Play in action. The software was running on Sony 3D and Panasonic 3D HDTVs and demonstrated on them was playing games in stereoscopic 3D mode as well as Blu-ray 3D movie playback using PowerDVD 10 Ultra Mark II. And after seeing it in action for the first time I was able to clarify some things for myself and it yet again has sparkled my interest into 3D-capable HDTVs, because with the general lack of other 3D content the part about PC gaming in stereo 3D mode on a big-screen 3D TV is what would actually justify the purchase of a high-end television set with 3D capabilities…
The 3DTV Play software seems to act like a kind of wrapper providing 720p 50/60Hz and 1080p 24Hz per eye resolutions for 3D playback and using the 3D Vision driver that is now a part of the video drivers for GeForce video cards. Trying Just Cause 2 running at Full HD 1080p resolution and with 24 frames per second in 3D actually felt surprisingly good, fluid just like playing most games on a console, and although not like the way PC users are used to play with higher framerates it is still Ok. Of course playing in 720p resolution with higher framerates might be better and actually the difference in perceptible quality between playing in 1080p and 720p taking the framerate aside is not so easily noticeable. The software seemed to work quite easy and problem free, although it most likely wasn’t the final version that should be soon released.
The Nvidia 3DTV Play software is expected to be available sometime later this month, so the wait is almost over for the people that were early in actually buying a HDMI 1.4(a) 3D-capable HDTV and want to easily use it for gaming in stereo 3D. And since the Panasonic Viera 3D HDTVs are currently on top of my personal list on deciding which 3D TV I should probably buy for 3D testing and personal entertainment, I was more interested in how it performed in stereo 3D mode and in this case it was the 50-inch VT20E available in Europe.
Something that caught my attention was the dithering on the Panasonic, and since it is a plasma TV these flashing colorful dots on black are to be expected to some extent. Of course they are visible only when watching the TV screen from very close distance and when you get to the optimum viewing distance you cannot actually perceive them as they blend nicely creating the full image. The above image shows the dithering in normal 2D mode…
Here is another picture with the same image displayed on the screen, taken when the TV is in 3D mode, but not through the glasses. The dithering is a bit more visible from closer distance, but again when getting back a bit from the TV things are again Ok. As I already said the dithering is normal for Plasma TVs, however it is less visible on some and more apparent on other TVs, so it is actually not an issue, I just expected it to be a bit less apparent as it is with the Samsung 3D Plasma TVs for example.
Anyway, another thing that differs the Panasonic 3D TVs is the fact that they do not feature a 2D to 3D conversion algorithm built-in, which is not exactly a bad thing and I personally can go just fine without such a feature. However I’m still not to happy with the design of the glasses, sure they do look quite nice and with a futuristic design, but the functionality part is a bit neglected… in terms of best 3D shutter glasses on my personal list Sony is still at the top spot. But anyway, I will not be making a purchase of a 3D HDTV before the 3DTV Play software comes out officially and I’m able to play a bit more with it on different TVs as for me the purchase of such 3D-capable HDTV at the moment will be mostly targeted at gaming… even if it is in 720p 50/60Hz, although quite a few games should be just fine when played back even in 1080p 24Hz too.
Tags:3d gaming·3d hdtv·3d tv·3d vision·3dtv play·blu-ray 3d·nvidia 3dtv play·Panasonic 3D·panasonic vt20e·powerdvd 10·sony 3d·stereo 3d
As promised Cyberlink has released the Mark II update for PowerDVD 10 that adds support for Blu-ray 3D Movie playback capabilities to the software player. The Mark II patch is free for the owners of Ultra version of the software and updates PowerDVD 10 Ultra to PowerDVD 10 Ultra build 1830. There is also an updated trial version of the player available that should also come with the improved 2D to 3D conversion algorithm. Now the big question is when we are going to have some live action movies in stereo 3D format available on Blu-ray 3D media, but not documentaries, as we already have a few animated movies released that do look good in 3D…
I’m also currently doing a comparison between PowerDVD 10 Ultra Mark II and ArcSoft’s Total Media Theatre 3 Platinum + Sim3D Plugin as at this moment only these two software players can provide you with support for playing back Blu-ray 3D movies from your computer. But that comparison will most likely be finished in a few days, so stay tuned for more information on the topic… ;)
– To download and test the CyberLink PowerDVD 10.0 new trial version of the player…
Tags:2d to 3d conversion·blu-ray 3d·blu-ray 3d player·Mark-II Update·powerdvd 10·PowerDVD 10 Ultra build 1830·PowerDVD 10 Ultra Mark II·software update·stereo 3d
Cyberlink is going to have the promised Mark-II Update for their PowerDVD 10 software in a few days, at the beginning of July and it is even possible for it to be available as soon as 6st of July. The main focus of the PowerDVD10 Mark-II update is to bring support for playing Blu-ray 3D movies on your computer using 3D Vision or another of the supported viewing methods. The Mark II update will be free for the owners of the PowerDVD 10 Ultra version of the player software as this is the version of PowerDVD that is targeted for users willing to play 3D content from their computer. The PowerDVD 10 also comes with function for converting 2D video to 3D, of course with an end result not as good as with video shot in stereo 3D, but it can still be useful considering the current general lack of video content in 3D. And PowerDVD will also be able to play other 3D video files in Side-by-Side or Above/Under formats pretty soon, but that functionality will come a bit later with another update, so meanwhile you can stick to the 3D Vision Video Player for playing back 3D videos other than Blu-ray 3D movies.
I was able to test the upcoming Blu-ray 3D video playback functionality thanks to CyberLink providing me with a PowerDVD Blu-ray 3D preview version for evaluation, and I can say that it works just great with playing back MVC encoded 3D videos and Blu-ray 3D content. I was able to try the Blu-ray 3D playback using 3D Vision on Samsung 2233RZ 3D LCD monitor and Acer H5360 3D DLP projector and both worked flawlessly with the latest 3D Vision Drivers version 257.21. Other than 3D Vision with supported display, Cyberlink’s PowerDVD 10 software also supports playback of Blu-ray 3D content on normal monitors with the help of plain red-cyan anaglyph glasses, row-interleaved 3D displays and even 3D-capable TVs. Now regarding the 3D HDTV support I need to make some things clear, as this mode will probably not work with all of the latest 3D television sets that are currently appearing on the market at this time, but they might be supported with a future update. This mode is intended to provide DLP checkerboard output of the 3D content that can be display mostly on 3D DLP TVs like the ones made by Mitsubishi, but this mode is also supported by some of the newer 3D HDTVs using HDMI 1.4(a) for stereo 3D support. One such example is the C7000 series of 3D TV’s by Samsung that should work just fine with PowerDVD 10 Blu-ray 3D playback as it supports both row-interleaved input as well as checkerboard pattern. On the other hand the Panasonic VT25 and VT20 3D HDTVs do not support any of those two modes, so you will most likely not be able to play Blu-ray 3D movies with PowerDVD 10 after the release of the Mark II update. But as I already mentioned, support for these 3D TVs will most likely be added at a later time with the help of future updates of both the software video player and
Another thing that I tried with the preview version of PowerDVD I got from Cyberlink was the new and improved 2D-to-3D conversion feature called TrueTheater 3D. If you remember I was not very impressed with what Cyberlink has offered in their trial version of PowerDVD 10 when it was first made available in terms of 2D to 3D video conversion. I simply expected more and Cyberlink has managed to get more done with their new conversion algorithm that provided better and more comfortable conversion for videos to 3D. Have in mind that the currently available trial version of PowerDVD 10 still uses the first generation of 2D to 3D conversion, but the people who purchased the full software and have updated it to version 10.0.1714 and later should already have the next generation of 2D to 3D conversion functionality available. What I’ve noticed at first is that the new algorithm is no longer using the frame offsetting to create the Pulfrich kind of effect based on the movement of objects in the frames next to each other. And that means that even in very fast switching scenes or movement the effect will not be a somewhat disturbing anymore because even for a brief moment you will not be seeing two completely different images from different scenes with each eye. So job well done on that too for Cyberlink.
And to be completely fair, I should also mention that I’ve contacted ArcSoft about an evaluation version of their Sim 3D plugin for TotalMedia Theatre 3 Platinum. They are already selling this plugin along with the TMT3 Platinum software – their two components that allow you to play Blu-ray 3D movies, but they did not even reply to me. So as a result there is no comparison between the TotalMedia Theatre 3 Platinum + Sim 3D plugin and PowerDVD10’s 3D capabilities. And since I’m quite satisfied from what I saw from PowerDVD and there is no other way to test ArcSoft’s solution other than paying $89.99 for the TotalMedia Theatre 3 Platinum software and another $19.99 for the Sim3D Plugin (total $109,98 USD) I would prefer to stick to PowerDVD 10 Ultra with the Mark II update that currently costs $89.95 USD ($71.95 if you are upgrading from PowerDVD 8, 9 or 10 Standard).
Now we just need more high-quality stereo 3D content available, as still we have only one Blu-ray 3D movie that just recently became available as a standalone product (not bundled with any 3D-capable hardware) is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. But more movies should be coming very soon, so stay tuned for more information about that as well as more information about PowerDVD Mark II update in the next few days.
– To download the free trial version of CyberLink PowerDVD 10 Ultra version of the player…
Tags:3d update·3d vision·arcsoft·blu-ray 3d·Mark-II Update·powerdvd 10·powerdvd 10 ultra·Sim3D Plugin·stereo 3d·TotalMedia Theatre 3 Platinum