3D Vision Blog

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

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HP Envy 17 3D Shutter Glasses are Modified Xpand X103 Glasses

January 23rd, 2011 · 3 Comments · Other S3D Tech

The 3D shutter glasses that are bundled together with HP’s Envy 17 3D laptop do look like Xpand’s X103 universal shutter glasses, but they do have a minor difference and that is the fact that the version for HP does not have the power button and the led indicator that are present on the original X103. On their website Xpand says that their X103 universal glasses also do have support for the HP laptop, so if you need another pair of shutter glasses to go with the Envy 17 3D you should get the X103. But the question I’m more interested in is actually if the X103HP glasses can be turned into a pair of universal X103 glasses with a simple modification…

So I disassembled the X103HP glasses to see if they will have traces left for soldering a power button and a SMD LED indicator, but unfortunately I could not find such to be very apparent. So I’ve taken shots of both sides of the shutters and electronics in the X103HP glasses, so that I might be able to compare them at a later time when I may be able to get a pair of X103 universal glasses to compare. But if you do have a pair of Xpand X103 universal glasses and are not afraid to take them apart and take some photos, you are welcome to share the photos here. Although I doubt that a simple modification would be possible to HP’s glasses… It would’ve been nice if HP has decided to go for the more functional universal glasses that would also work with 3D HDTVs, so that they would save you from buying one more pair of glasses if you decide to also get a 3D-capable television set.

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Monster Vision Max 3D Universal vs Panasonic TY-EW3D10U 3D Glasses

January 21st, 2011 · 9 Comments · Other S3D Tech

As an owner of Panasonic 3D-capable Plasma HDTV I was not very happy with the design of the default Panasonic TY-EW3D10U shutter glasses that are coming with the TV, but that did not prevent me from getting a VT20E 3D HDTV, because it is still one of the best HDTVs for 3D content at the moment (and the very similar models from the same VT series for different regions with slight variations). So when I’ve got the universal Monster Vision Max 3D glasses (powered by BitCauldron technology) for testing I’ve started to compare them with the Panasonic TY-EW3D10U 3D shutter glasses, although meanwhile Panasonic also introduced the slightly improved Panasonic TY-EW3D2 (SU/MU/LU) glasses.

Comparing the Monster Vision Max 3D glasses (bottom / left) with the Panasonic TY-EW3D10U 3D glasses (top / right) you can see some of the major differences, like for example the difference in design and size. The Monster Vision shutter glasses have a bigger lenses, especially in terms of height to cover wider area, they seem more like traditional glasses and do not let that much external light like the standard Panasonic 3D glasses. And although the Panasonic TY-EW3D10U 3D glasses seem with a more futuristic design, they are not very well thought in terms of design and functionality, not blocking some of the external light that yo may have and resulting in visible flicker as well as not very convenient nose-pieces for longer use. Also, the Monster Vision Max 3D glasses are universal (can be used on different 3D HDTVs), they use RF (radio) instead or IR (infrared light) for communication and they do come with a built-in rechargeable battery that can be charged through USB. And as you can see from the photos above the Panasonic glasses have a slight yellowish tint on their lenses whereas the Monster Vision lenses are a bit more bluish/greenish.

Due to the fact that the Monster Vision Max 3D universal glasses use radio instead of infrared technology for communicating you need to connect a special infrared to radio transmitter that is a part of the with the Monster Vision Max 3D universal glasses kit. This transmitter is powered over USB, so you can easily connect it to one of the two free USB ports at the back of the VT20E 3D HDTV for example or use an additional USD power adapter, but that may require you to turn it on/off manually. When you have the transmitter connected to a USB port of the TV whenever you turn on the TV set the adapter also turns on and when you turn off the TV the adapter also powers off.

In order to be able to sync the Monster Vision Max 3D glasses with the infrared signal coming from the HDTV you will also need to connect the additional infrared adapter to the transmitter kit and place it somewhere in front of the TV’s infrared emitter so that you can get a good signal. Aside from the infrared adapter for capturing infrared signals and converting them into radio frequency that can be understood by the Monster Vision Max 3D glasses, you also have an option to use a standard VESA mini-din 3-pin stereo connector if your 3D TV has such. For example Sony’s Bravia 3D-capable TV sets that do require an external IR emitter do have a similar connector at the back of the TV, but not exactly the same, meaning that you will not be able to directly use the cable with them, so you will need Sony’s IR emitter for these models and again the IR adapter for the Monster glasses. But thanks to the presence of the standard VESA mini-din 3-pin stereo connector you will also be able to use the glasses together with professional graphic adapters that do support stereo 3D and have the right output on the back of the card. Such are usually the higher-end Nvidia Quadro and ATI/AMD FireGL professional series of video cards that are used together with the OpenGL Quad-Buffer mode by some professionals. Unfortunately the Monster Vision Max 3D universal glasses are not currently compatible with 3D Vision if some of you may wonder about that, although that would offer a nice alternative to the already a bit old as technology and performance 3D Vision shutter glasses.

But how do the Monster Vision Max 3D universal glasses compare to the Panasonic TY-EW3D10U 3D shutter glasses in terms of performance? In terms of comfort they are most certainly better designed, although they felt a bit loose on my head as compared to the tighter Panasonic glasses, but that could be due to the fact that I have an earlier sample and not the final product for testing. The Monster Vision glasses are performing better in blocking external light, especially if coming from the sides as compared to the standard Panasonic glasses. Due to the yellowish tint of the Panasonic’s lenses I thought that the little crosstalk visible on the Panasonic plasma display seemed yellow because of that, but after trying the Monster Vision Max 3D glasses I can confirm that this is not the case, as with them also the crosstalk is still absolutely the same.

After comparing for a while I could not find any difference between the levels of crosstalk on the 3D HDTV with both pairs of glasses and this simply means that the level of crosstalk on the Panasonic’s plasma 3D HDTVs is probably not related to the glasses and cannot be further decreased with improvements in the shutter glasses. And besides the same level of crosstalk, although quite minimal and quite hard to notice in normal use, the visual quality is the same as I could not find any significant visible difference between the two pairs of glasses. The only thing I could notice visually was a very slight difference in color saturation, but normal people probably won’t be able to notice any difference at all. This slight difference can be caused by either the difference in the tint of the lenses or due to the fact that the Monster Vision Max 3D glasses are a bit brighter as compared to the standard Panasonic glasses. That difference in the level of the light blocked by the shutter glasses is hardly visible at all, however it can be measured to about 10-15% in favor of the Monster Vision Max 3D glasses with the help of a lux meter.

And now a bit about the prices of the different types of shutter glasses:
The Monster Vision Max 3D universal kit will be available for $229.95 USD.
The Monster Vision Max 3D universal glasses only will be available for $159.95 USD.
The Panasonic TY-EW3D10U standard shutter glasses are available for $96.17 USD.
The new Panasonic TY-EW3D2 (SU/MU/LU) glasses are available for $149 USD.

The Monster Vision Max 3D universal glasses are not yet on sale, so currently you can only pre-order them, but they should soon be available and as you can see their prices are not much different as compared to non-universal brand specific 3D glasses with similar features (rechargeable battery). The only difference is that you will need to get one full kit that includes the RF transmitter and then you can get only additional pairs of glasses. And the only thing that is kind of missing from the Monster Vision Max 3D universal glasses, the thing that can make them truly universal and not just universal for use with 3D HDTVs is if a user controlled learning mode is added. This way you will be able to make the glasses work with all of your 3D-capable equipment, so that you will not have to have multiple different pairs of 3D glasses for your computer, laptop, television set etc. Meanwhile next in line is a comparison between the Monster Vision Max 3D universal glasses and Samsung and especially Sony’s glasses which I still consider to be one of the best among all currently available shutter glasses…

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More About the Viewsonic V3D241wm-LED 3D-capable LCD Monitor

November 3rd, 2010 · 9 Comments · Other S3D Tech

We’ve head about the Viewsonic V3D241wm-LED 3D-capable LCD monitor back at the beginning of this year when there was information that Viewsonic is working on a 120Hz gaming LCD with a LED backlight that was supposed to come as a 3D Vision certified product. However that monitor has been delayed quite a lot and just recently there was the official announcement as a solution supporting AMD’s HD3D Technology. So far that is pretty much the only 120Hz 3D-capable LCD monitor that was announced as compatible with it and it is hardly available on any markets. What is interesting is the fact that the monitor comes bundled with a pair of wired, yes I’ve said wired, shutter glasses that you need to use to get the 3D effect and apparently it uses the iZ3D Driver. According to iZ3D’s website you will be able to use that monitor not only with the latest Radeon HD 5000 and 6000 series of GPUs, but also with 4000 series of ATI/AMD-based graphic cards as well as with Nvidia GPUs, although with the Radeon 4000 series and Nvidia 4xx/2xx series you might have some sync issues.

iZ3D has a specific version of their driver available for that monitor (version 1.12 build 3907) that also has the required support for the wired shutter glasses, although they seem to connect to the monitor itself and not directly to the PC.

Viewsonic V3D241wm-LED Specifications:

Display size: 23.6″ (60 cm) Wide, 16:9 Full HD
Panel Technology: TN (Twisted Nematic)
Resolution: 1920?1080 @ 120Hz
Response time: 5ms (typical) / 2ms (G to G)
Colours: 16.7M (6 bit + HiFRC)
Contrast ratio: 1000:1 (20,000,000:1 Dynamic)
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Viewing angle: 170°/160°
Pixel pitch: 0.2715 mm
PPI (pixels per inch): 92
Integrated Speakers: 2x 2w (SRS Premium Sounds)
Wall-mount: 100 mm x 100 mm
Connections: Analog (D-sub), Digital (DVI-D), HDMI, Internal Power Supply, 3.5mm audio jack in/out, USB type-B for 3D glasses
Power consumption: 35 W (typical) w/o Audio / 38 W (maximum) with Audio
Dimensions: 563.6?417.8?260.8 mm
Weight: 5.1 Kg

Looking at the picture of the monitor with the shutter glasses I can’t stop wondering how were they able to make them so ugly looking, like a product from 10 years ago, because nowadays people do want to have not only good working products, but also nice looking. Anyway, that is not the point here, there is one question that immediately pops into my mind regarding the glasses and that is what has happened with BitCauldron, who were supposed to offer better performing wireless RF and not IR shutter glasses with lenses that do not block so much light and with all that be more affordable for the end customer? There was a lot of talk that BitCauldron will be the company that will partner with AMD to provide one of the important parts in their open stereo 3D initiative, namely the shutter glasses. And after more than just a few months what we’ve seen so far from them is just a paper launch of a pair of universal active shutter glasses designed for 3D HDTVs and not for PC. Glasses under the brand of Monster Cable with the name MONSTER VISION “MAX 3D” that were initially announced for September launch, but are still not yet available (there is talk about launching them this month, but who knows). Meanwhile the competition in the form of the universal 3D shutter glasses for 3D-capable HDTVs – Xpand X103 is already shipping at a much more affordable price, although the product is based on IR technology. But what about the PC, where are the shutter glasses that you can use with your ATI/AMD-based computer?

HP is now starting to ship their HP Envy 17 3D-capable laptop that is based on a AMD’s solution for stereo 3D, but unlike Viewsonic who use the iZ3D Driver and wired shutter glasses, HP has opted out for using the alternative DDD’s TriDef 3D solution with a pair of different wireless IR shutter glasses that do look better than what Viewsonic is apparently bundling with their monitor. Currently the only other solution based on AMD’s 3D technology is the MSI Wind Top AE2420 3D AIO PC that besides S3D also offers multi-touch capabilities, bundled with iZ3D and a different set of own shutter glasses that supposedly are wireless. What seems to bug me here is that it seems with all the openness nobody has decided to go for a standard pair of wireless shutter glasses that will offer interoperability if you lets say decide to go for two different AMD-based S3D products. What will happen if you want t have two or three pairs of 3D glasses for your 3D computer, monitor or laptop… or if you want to get a 120Hz LCD monitor now and later on just buy a pair of shutter glasses and get stereo 3D support? And what about if you already own a 120Hz LCD (made to support 3D Vision from Nvidia), but you’ve got it to play games at 120Hz and not in 3D and never got the 3D Vision glasses, but now you just want to add a pair of glasses and go for 3D? That would of course be easy of you have a compatible Nvidia-based GPU and get 3D Vision, but what about if you’ve got ATI/AMD-based video card and you want to get S3D support for it? Questions, questions, question… and no answers.

I’m quite happy that I was finally able to make my new 3D HDTV somewhat work as it should with AMD’s HD3D technology, but that took quite a lot of efforts and frankly the whole process is not easy even for a 3D enthusiast like me, let alone for a normal person. I hope that the same situation will not be repeating for the other 3D-capable products, but unfortunately I seriously doubt that. AMD has a lot of catching up to do regarding stereo 3D support and if you ask me they either do not have the resources or more likely the will to properly push their own solution and technology as a competitive solution to 3D Vision. It seems that they kind of rely too much on their third party partners for everything and these companies are much smaller and with much more limited resources as compared to AMD. I’m seriously thinking that AMD does not have very serious interest in stereo 3D or at least they are not showing such, it is more like they just wanted to say we also have the same technology as our competitors in their business presentations. Need I have to mention that competition is not only a healthy thing to have, but also helps drive the further improvement of technology and of course is making things more affordable for the end customers, aside from the fact that they have a choice.

Getting back to iZ3D and DDD, their software solutions were available much longer before AMD started being more active on the stereo 3D front, and these solutions were always GPU independent, meaning that they’ve work on different video cards. However they did not have support for 120Hz displays and active shutter glasses up until now (iZ3D had some not so useful beta support for a while), but were focused more on solutions using passive polarization. So the big push that AMD did was to make available the support for 120Hz technology and active shutter glasses, but there seems to be a lot of work ahead of the company in that area. And while I’m eager to test some of the other 3D products being able to take advantage of AMD’s HD3D technology I’m not too optimistic for the next too months, especially of AMD continues to follow the same policy regarding stereo 3D support that they’ve had up until now. Maybe some time next year things will look much brighter for them, and I do hope this happens sooner than later… ;)

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