3D Vision Blog

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

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More TV Makers Are Apparently Going for Passive 3D Technology

March 7th, 2012 · 18 Comments · Other S3D Tech

Lately there were a lot of news and speculations that more and more 3D HDTV manufacturers are going to be releasing passive 3D products, even top names like Sony and Panasonic that were solely focused on active 3D solutions are apparently going to be making passive 3D HDTVs. But is passive 3D technology better than active and what is the reason it is getting more and more interest from the companies making 3D HDTVs? Well, the major advantage is that products based on passive 3D technology are cheaper and easier to produce, and you can get dozens of passive 3D glasses at the price of a single pair of active 3D ones. Does that make passive 3D better – no, it does not, but for more price conscious customers these solutions are considered more attractive. Of course there is the fact that passive 3D glasses are easier to adjust and less people are having issues wearing them as opposed to active shutter glasses, but then again there are disadvantages in the passive 3D technology as well, one of the major ones being the reduced in two vertical resolution when in 2D mode.

LG Electronics is probably going to be the big winner of all this increase in interest in passive 3D technology as it is one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers supporting passive 3D technology, but the company is already looking beyond passive 3D – into autosterescopic 3D solutions. The other big Korean brand – Samsung is still one of the largest active 3D HDTV supporter and although they also had interest into passive 3D technology they have apparently abandoned what they were working on in terms of next generation of passive 3D technology. Up until a few months ago the company was in partnership with RealD in order to develop a passive 3D solution with true Full HD resolution in 3D mode as well, but apparently the work on that has been suspended until RealD finds another partner.

Now, setting aside the use of 3D HDTVs for watching 3D movies, if you consider the use of the larger screen TV sets for stereoscopic 3D gaming, the passive 3D technology is not at a significant disadvantage. The reason for that lies in the limitation of the HDMI 1.4(a) stereo specifications that currently pretty much limit you to 1080p 24Hz 3D mode and that is good for movies, but for games you would need to play in the 720p 50/60Hz 3D mode. On passive 3D HDTVs however you are able to bypass the HDMI 1.4 frame packaging if your middle-ware software for providing stereo 3D output supports Row Interleaved output and thus get 1080p 60Hz with half vertical resolution in stereo 3D mode. And there are actually quite a lot of people that prefer to get passive 3D for gaming due to this limitation of the HDMI 1.4 interface specifics than to go for an active solution and be limited in playing at 720p resolution. This of course is true if you are going for a 3D HDTV with the main purpose to use it for gaming in stereo 3D mode, but most people still by 3D-capable television sets for watching TV or Movies on them, not to play games in 3D. And while the same thing about the resolution of the passive 3D technology applies to 3D monitors, the active 3D monitors on the other hand support full 1080p resolution with wither 120Hz refresh rate in 2D mode or with up to 60Hz in 3D mode per eye (if the monitor is equipped with DL-DVI or DisplayPort interface). So for stereoscopic 3D gamers active 3D monitors are still the proffered solution and more and more traditional gamers are also switching to these 3D-capable active monitors in order to be able to use them to play games in 2D mode with the 120Hz refresh rate.

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Pic3D Lenticular Lens for Making 2D Displays Stereo 3D Capable

February 10th, 2012 · 5 Comments · Other S3D Tech

Pic3D is another product in the form of a thin plastic sheet that you can attach to a 2D display to make it able to display stereoscopic 3D content without any hardware modification or additional hardware (no 3D glasses are required), you will of course need a special software player to be able to play the content in 3D. Pic3D has been developed by a Japanese company called Global Wave and although it has been announced a while ago, it is still only available on the Japanese market only. Pic3D comes in the form of lenticular sheets for different devices and screen sizes that when applied turns ordinary 2D displays into autostereoscopic 3D ones. Currently the Pic3D supports only for playback of 3D movies, and although the software players accept Side by Side input, the output of the device is neither row or column interleaved, but the lines are actually kind of angled in order not to have that much noticeable loss of resolution and detail in 3D mode, but more about that in a bit…

Pic3D is available for all more recent Apple mobile devices such as the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S (available for 2100 Yen or about $27 USD), iPod touch4G (available for 2100 Yen or about $27 USD) and the iPad 2 (available for 4725 Yen or about $61 USD). There is a free player application available for these devices on the AppStore, actually there are two – Pic3D and Pic3D II (pictured above) with the second one probably being with more intuitive and easier for use interface if you are not Japanese. The player application supports playback of Side by Side 3D videos only either available locally or from YouTube 3D video library, unfortunately there is no support for 3D photo playback and currently you will not be able to use the Pic3D with any game for the iOS.

The Pic3D is also available for some laptops as well as for desktop monitors. The mobile computer versions are designed for laptops with a screen size of 12.1-inches and resolution of 1280×800 pixels (available for 4725 Yen or about $61 USD) as well as for 15.6-inch laptops with a resolution of 1366×768 pixels (available for 6300 Yen or about $81 USD). The models for desktop monitors are intended for 21.5-inch Full HD displays and for 23-inch Full HD displays with a prices of 14700 Yen and 15750 Yen respectively or about $190 USD and $203 USD which is already quite a bit expensive. There are actually 3D monitors that you can buy for that much, although not autostereoscopic 3D ones, but still 3D-capable using passive 3D glasses. On the image above you can see a sample output from a Side by Side 3D video being played with the PC version of the video player that you need to use with the Pic3D attached to your screen. The video player for Windows can also benefit from some improvements in the interface and getting video controls while playing back the content, I’ve also noticed that it does consume quite a lot of system memory when playing back 3D videos.

Pic3D’s approach is a bit different as compared to some of the other similar products, although their product is in the form of a thin plastic foil, it does not completely stick to the display of the device, so you can easily remove and reattach it when you want to. The company also claims that through their filter the 2D image displayed on the screen will be left unaffected, so even with the filter applied the display should be quite useable when playing back normal 2D content. Pic3D also promises higher brightness, so after being applied it should reduce the maximum level of brightness of the device by just about 10% and is supposed to provide wide viewing angles of up to 120 degrees, so it does sound really promising. There are however some limitations that you should also be well aware of…

You should know that on mobile devices such as the iPhone or iPad, where you can easily rotate the screen you will not be able to use the 3D mode in all orientations, it will be available only in the landscape mode (the player locks it in when started). The same also applies for the versions of the product for laptops and desktop monitors, but there you are not very likely to rotate the monitor anyway, so it isn’t that much of a limitation for them as for the mobile devices. Furthermore there is no support for playing back of 3D photos using the Pic3D for the moment and you are also not able to play games in stereo 3D mode. Due to the non standard image input for 3D that the Pic3D screen filter uses you are not able to feed it with such output from an application such as iZ3D or DDD TriDef 3D in order to play your favorite games in stereo 3D mode for example. Maybe the developers of the product will do something about the current limitation of only being able to play Side by Side 3D videos using their product, but for now this is not making their product way too attractive for anything other than maybe Apple’s mobile devices. Still and interesting product to watch, especially if/when it also becomes available outside of Japan as well…

For more information about the Pic3D 2D to 3D lenticular sheets for various devices…

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GRilli 3D Film Overlay Turns 2D Displays into 3D-capable Ones

February 8th, 2012 · 1 Comment · Other S3D Tech

GRilli3D is a company making an interesting product called GRilli, a special film overlay in the form of something very similar to a screen protector that turns a 2D display of a normal device into a 3D-capable autostereoscopic 3D screen. Currently the GRilli is available for sale only for Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, but the way that the film overlay works can be applied to other devices as well (and versions for other devices are already in the works). The format that the 3D content needs to be stored in and displayed in order to work with the GRilli filters is stereoscopic vertical column interlace, so you can easily convert 3D photos and videos in it if you have them in Side by Side format for example. There is also a free application available on the AppStore to demonstrate how would a game work in stereo 3D mode with GRilli overlayed on an iOs device and the source code for that application is also available for developers and there is also a Unity 3D game engine plugin for using the Grilli filters. Also the CineXPlayer application for iOS-based devices has support for the Grilli 3D film overlay, so you can use this player for better quality when playing back vertical column interlaced 3D videos and you can also play Side by Side videos with it. Furthermore the CineXPlayer also supports 2D to 3D conversion of videos on iPad, so you wan take advantage of this feature as well.

The installation of the GRilli overlay filter on a compatible device is very similar to putting a screen protector on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, the only difference is that you need to open a special calibration image on the device in order to stick the plastic filter correctly and have the best effect. You can download some sample images and videos in the correct format for viewing from the Grilli3D website as well as the free GRilli SESCA application from the AppStore. You can get the from Amazon or from C3D Stereo. The price of the 3D film overlay is $14.99 USD for the iPod Touch and the iPhone version and $29.99 USD for the iPad version.

Now, there is one very important question that you are probably going to ask about the GRilli 3D filter, due to the fact that it is not that easily removable after being applied, and that is what happens to the ability to display normal 2D content when you apply the filter on your device. The good news is that the device remains capable of pretty much normal use in 2D mode, the textual content is mildly impaired, as single pixel text may need zooming for clarity. There is also a faint “rainbow” effect, but otherwise the use of the device is not limited by the GRilli in 2D mode and you get to play some cool stereo 3D content on your mobile Apple devices without the need of wearing any kinds of 3D glasses. Of course the 3D image would be with half horizontal resolution due to the way that the filter works by creating a sort of horizontal barrier between pixels (Grilli3D calls it “Corrected and Convergent” barrier system), but since the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad do offer quite high resolution, especially the models with the Retina display that should not be that much of an issue. And don’t forget that due to the way that the GRilli 3D overlay filters function you are going to be able to use your device in autostereoscopic 3D mode only in a Landscape orientation and not when in portrait mode.

You can visit Grilli3D’s website for more information about the product…

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