3D Vision Blog

A normal user's look into the world of 3D Stereo Technologies

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3DTV Desktop Tool for Use With a 3D HDTV in Side by Side 3D Mode

August 25th, 2011 · 1 Comment · Other S3D Tech


3DTV Desktop is a new tool developed by the Taiwanese company Radiant Star, the one that made the 3Dfier 2D-to-3D DirectShow filter that I’ve already written about here in the blog. Their new tool has nothing to do with autoconversion to 3D however, instead it is targeted to help 3D HDTV users that manually switch to Side by Side 3D mode in order to watch some 3D content from their PC that does not support automatic activation of the 3D mode on the TV set. For example if you open a Side by Side 3D video using a normal video player and want to be able to watch it in 3D on the 3D HDTV that is connected to your computer you need to manually activate the Side by Side 3D mode on the TV, but after the video finishes and you are back on your desktop you will again have to switch to normal mode and then again the next time you wan to watch another 3D video or a 3D photo, or even a game that supports Side by Side output. In order to save you from the need of that constant switching of the TV from the remote control the 3DTV Desktop tool can instead reconfigure your desktop and 2D work environment in a way that it won’t be unusable when you have the TV set in Side by Side mode and it does not display such content. To do that when activated the tool will turn your normal work window into a Side by Side one (squashed) where the actual desktop will be shown in the left side and the right side of the display will be all in white color. This way you will be actually sending Side by Side content to the TV, so your desktop (although it will be shown in 2D) will be visible through the 3D glasses (this will not work well on autostereoscopic 3D displays) and thus saving you from constant switching of the display mode of the 3D HDTV.

Now this may sound as really useful tool for some people and it actually can help quite a lot, but there is some more work needed to be done on it in order to have it even better and more functional, especially considering the fact that it is a commercial product and not a free one. There are also some important requirements that you have to meet in order to have the 3DTV Desktop tool working properly on your computer and doing exactly what it was meant to. There is already an evaluation version available that you can download and test on your computer, it is time limited to 10 minutes of use and to remove the time limit you will have to spend $25 USD for a license, a bit high if you ask me $10 USD for it (the $25 USD price was set there initially by mistake). Be sure that you have the Windows 7 with the Aero interface active as it is required for 3DTV Desktop to work properly, not sure if it will work with Aero on Vista, but it may as well. Another important thing that you should be well aware of is that when at 3DTV Display tool is active there would be 2 cursors on the screen. The thinner one is the one you should look at, and as this is the limitation of the product there are no plans for fixing it. A good thing is that the 3DTV Desktop tool does not need installation, you can just run the executable and it will appear in your system tray, from there you can enable and disable it and you can switch to the Side by Side output “CTRL + 3” and hitting “CTRL + 2” will bring you back in normal output of the display, so there is no need to actually stop the program. When active the 3DTV Desktop tool will monitor the top Window in focus and when it becomes in fullscreen it will automatically switch to normal mode so that you can watch the full screen video in 3D automatically. This is especially useful when you play Side by Side 3D videos from a video player or from a website such as YouTube for example.


         


I did play a bit with the tool and have to mention a few things that I’ve noticed that you should know about. First of all having the right part of the picture sent to the 3D HDTV all in white will make the image from the left part of the Side by Side output seem brighter, but it may also make what is displayed there look distorted. A better solution for that would be to just have the left and right parts (frames) of the Side by Side output show exactly the same image, so you will still see a slightly darker 2D version of your desktop for example. That however can be done at the cost of some extra performance loss, but some things better be done with some performance loss and retaining the best possible quality than not. And talking about quality another thing comes to mind, the halving of the actual resolution of the display and then stretching it again when displayed on the 3D HDTV means some loss in image quality and detail due to the use of image resizing (Side by Side squashed image). And here apparently not very high quality resize algorithm is being used, again probably due to concerns of requiring more resources, however here it is totally justified to sacrifice some performance for better quality. The resize algorithm being used does produce bad quality and loss of more detail in my opinion and after replicating the effect using Bicubic resizing produces better results and retains higher image quality. The algorithm currently being used for resizing currently leads to loss of detail, so that some text with small font size can easily become unreadable while it may still remain readable with Bicubic resize. The two photos above show the original output of the 3DTV Dekstop tool in Side by Side format as well as a simulation of how it will look on a 3D HDTV by resizing the already squashed left frame to full resolution.


         


The two photos above show a simulation of the same thing that the 3DTV Desktop tool does but using Bicubic resize method. On the left you see the Side by Side squashed output, retaining higher quality than what the tool’s resize method does as well as the simulation of how it will look like on a 3D HDTV after being stretched again to full screen. There is huge difference in the readability and usability of text with small font size such as the browser’s menu, the URLs of websites, even the names under the icons of programs on the Desktop for example. The authors of the tool recommend to just scale the font size, a solution that may help, but can also be not so comfortable to the way you are used to working on your computer. So using a better resize algorithm and producing better quality is a must here in order not to hurt the usability for the sake of not sacrificing some performance. And finally the dual cursors, that can be quite annoying, but it seems that the issue cannot be avoided according to the authors of the software. But if you happen to know a way how to do it, then you might as well give them a tip to fix it. Still you are welcome to try the 3DTV Desktop tool, you might find it useful in your way of using your computer with a 3D HDTV as a display instead of a 3D monitor.

For more information and to download and try the 3DTV Desktop tool…

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Impressive Realtime 2D to 3D Video Conversion for 3D Vision

December 21st, 2009 · 30 Comments · 2D to 3D Conversion

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I have just found an impressive piece of software, or not actually a standalone software, but a DirectShow filter that can transform normal 2D video files into Stereoscopic 3D in real time and with very good results. I’m talking about the 3Dfier DirectShow filer developed by a Taiwanese company called Radiant Star that in my opinion is the best real time 2D to 3D video conversion solution available so far. That said I’m not meaning that the 3Dfier is absolutely problem free, but still it gives really good results when converting the 2D videos to 3D. You might notice some issues mostly on fast moving and more blurry objects and maybe some jaggy edges on straight lines, but still the depth feeling it quite good having in mind that we actually don’t have the needed depth information as with a true stereoscopic 3D videos. But enough about that, you better try it yourself, the only problem is that the DirectShow filter is not free, but a time limited version (30 days trial, 10 minutes of playback and no depth level control), but maybe Nvidia could license it and provide it free with their future Player software… ;)

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For usage of this filter with 3D Vision (the filter can also be used with other S3D systems!) we are going to first need the latest version of Nvidia 3D Vision Video Player and the 3Dfier 2D-3D transform DirectShow filter side-by-side demo v0.2. Download and install them, then run the 3D Vision Video Player, open the File menu, choose Settings… and go to the Decoder panel. From the Preferred Filters menu you need to select the Video Processor and click on the Add button, then select the 3Dfy 2D-to-3D Transformer filter from the from the list of available filters on your system. This is it, now you are done and ready to test the real time 2D to 3D video conversion…

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When you try to open a normal 2D video file after you’ve selected to use the 3Dfier DirectShow filter with the 3D Vision Video Player you’ll be asked what is the stereoscopic video format, here you need to choose Side by Side format with the default Aspect Ratio in order for things to work. Have in mind that when the player is in window mode you’ll still see everything in 2D, but when you switch to full screen mode and 3D Vision gets activated you’ll see the filter at work. That is is, you are ready to enjoy your 2D video in automatically converted stereoscopic 3D mode…

For best results you’ll need higher quality, preferably HD videos, but even low quality clips might still look quite well when converted… and you can as well try some DVD Videos you have. One of the issue you’ll face is that you’ll have to remove and then add again the filter in the settings every time you decide to watch 2D or true stereoscopic 3D movies as with the 3Dfier loaded things will get a bit messy when you try to open a stereoscopic video file. Also if you use a Media Player Classic and maybe some other players for normal video playback you might notice that the filter is automatically loaded when you open a movie and you see it side by side. This is something you can manage to fix, but you’ll have to play a bit with the filter settings for the player. And please do not forget to share your experience and comments should you decide to test what was described in this guide.

You can find more information about the filter on the official 3Dfier website…

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