3D Vision Blog

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

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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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AMD HD3D Technology – What You Should’ve Know from the Start..

October 31st, 2010 · 25 Comments · Other S3D Tech

After a few days of trying different things and with the help of other readers I was finally able to make everything work as it should with the new AMD HD3D Technology by displaying a stereoscopic 3D content from a PC equipped with ATI Radeon HD 5970 video card to a Panasonic 3D HDTV with both the iZ3D Driver and DDD’s TriDef software. There were quite a few issues and a lot of things unknown from the start, but after trying out a lot of different things finally everything seems to be working alright, so below I’ll just summarize some of the important findings we had to figure out by ourselves to make it much easier for others. The one thing that puzzles me however is why the hell AMD did not summarize these things right from the start to make the process as easy and as painless for the end users willing to take advantage of their new AMD HD3D Technology? Maybe their concept for openness means something different than what everyone else considers an open initiative, which should also mean open communication with your customers and not being so “full of holes” to call something open… ;)

So in brief what you need to know should you decide to connect your computer with an ATI/AMD video card inside to a 3D capable HDTV by taking advantage of the AMD HD3D Technology, although I suppose that the same may apply to when using a 120Hz LCD monitor too.
– You need to have an ATI Radeon HD 5000 series or AMD Radeon HD 6000 series of GPU, older video cars are not compatible with the AMD HD3D Technology.
– You will need to download and install the latest Catalyst graphics driver, which is currently Catalyst 10.10c Hotfix – Download here.
– If you have more than one video card or a dual-GPU solution such as 5970 you should disable Catalyst AI from the driver, Crossfire does not yet work, but if you have trouble with a single GPU try disabling the Catalyst AI… it might help as well.
– You can use both the iZ3D Driver (version 1.12, build 4016 or newer) and the DDD TriDef 3D Software (version 4.3.1 or newer) for enabling stereoscopic 3D output to your 3D HDTV, although the output methods may be a bit confusing and even misleading.
– If you are using iZ3D you need to select “120Hz 3D Devices” as an output method, although the name does not suggest that at all, and for TriDef it is much more clear – “AMD – AMD HD3D Technology (HDMI 1.4a)”, although here there is another misleading thing – that you can use it in any resolution, when the truth is that you are good to go only for 720p 50/60Hz and 1080p 24Hz modes!
– You should set your desktop resolution and refresh rate to 1920×1080, 24Hz in order to make it easier to run some games with the right settings from the start – otherwise if the game tries to run at 1080p with 60Hz you might just see a black screen. If the problem continues you might have to disable the S3D software, run the game normally, set the right resolution from its in-game menu, enable the S3D software and try running it again. Some games do not have option to set the refresh rate, just the resolution and these might still be problematic for the 1080p, 24Hz 3D mode, however the 720p 50/60Hz mode should be Ok.
– If you are using the iZ3D Driver you can test if everything is working with the built-in test in the iZ3D Control Center, under Help menu – use the “Static test” and not the dynamic one as only the static 3D image will switch to full screen and work in 3D.
– If you are using DDD TriDef 3D, after enabling the right mode you can test if it is working right by running the “TriDef 3D Experience” launcher, before going to try out some games, if this works in 3D then you are all set.
– If you want to play in the 1080p 24Hz stereo 3D mode, then make sure that you have V-sync for the game disabled in order to make it more comfortable to be played and not so choppy, especially for fast action oriented games as with 24 frames per eye and V-sync enabled you will probably not be very happy. But you will need to be able to get higher framerate in the game in order to feel more comfortable and to avoid a lot of visible tearing.
– iZ3D is currently running a promotion that allows you to get a license for their driver supporting the AMD HD3D Technology (if you have a compatible GPU) for just $19.99 USD which is half the regular price… For more information.
– DDD is also running a promotion with a half price license for their TriDef 3D software, meaning that if you have a 5000/6000 series of GPU you can get it for just $24.99 USD… For more information.
– Before actually going to buy or decide which of these products is Ok for you, you can first test your 3D setup for 14 days using the TriDef 3D software or for 30 days for the iZ3D driver, so you will have some time to evaluate which one from the two or even if you want to get both..
– The list of supported hardware available on AMD’s website regarding 3D-capable HDTVs is not complete, in theory every HDMI 1.4(a) capable 3D HDTV might work, although when trying it out you might have trouble because of lack of information and as a result you might think it is actually not working… List of supported hardware.

There will be probably more things to come and hopefully AMD will soon address some of the issues with updates, especially the multi-GPU support, because the graphics performance is very important when playing games in stereo 3D mode and the more you have – the better! Another good idea for AMD is to start a dedicated forum in their forums especially for the AMD HD3D Technology…

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AMD HD3D Technology + Panasonic 3D HDTV (TX-P50VT20E) and iZ3D

October 30th, 2010 · 19 Comments · Other S3D Tech

After trying the Panasonic 3D HDTV (TX-P50VT20E) with the latest DDD TriDef software with no success in making the TV work with stereo 3D content from the PC, I’ve decided to switch to iZ3D. And I was not even sure if the iZ3D Driver actually does have support for working with 3D HDTVs using HDMI 1.4(a)’s frame packing through AMD’s video driver.The reason for that is due to the fact that they don’t clearly state that and the naming convention of their stereo 3D outputs in the driver is not helping for that at all. But after some discussion about it here and going through the iZ3D forums I saw people confirming that the driver has the support and should work, so back again to the testing…

Unfortunately after a few hours spent in making sure everything is right – reinstalling video drivers with the latest Catalyst 10.10c, the latest iZ3D Driver 1.12 build 4016, trying with different cables and cable adapters there was still not luck in making things work the way the should. The closest thing was kind of making them act as they should, but not exactly as you can see in the video above. I’ve managed to get the same results as with the TriDef Ignition software – the picture is there, you can see some depth of the objects on screen when wearing the glasses, but there is annoying flicker and artifacts all over the screen making it totally unusable in this state.

As you can see from the video the driver shows “ATI Presenter”, which means that it is using the Quad buffer support which in turn should mean that the sync should be perfect and everything should be working just fine, however it is not. Note in the video that even before activating the stereo 3D mode the on-screen image is having the same strange behavior, just no 3D, and after activating the 3D mode the FPS counter still shows 120 fps in the game which is kind of strange… shouldn’t it be 24 or maybe 48, after all this is in the 1080p/24Hz? After switching to 720p resolution from the game to ensure support for 60/120 fps the strange behavior of what is being displayed on the screen is still not gone – the artifacts and flashing are still there. So still no luck with the AMD HD3D technology in terms of support for my Panasonic 3D HDTV, and the problem is that I’ve only seen a lot of complaints from other people trying to make their 3D HDTVs work too. But since both iZ3D and DDD have the same issue I’m starting to think that they are not at fault here (although they can improve in a few areas too), but the actual problem lies withing AMD’s Catalyst driver that probably needs an urgent update or yet another hotfix to resolve the issue.

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