3D Vision Blog

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

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Playing with Tegra 3-powered Tablets in Stereoscopic 3D Mode

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

Back in March I’ve posted some information on how you can play games in stereoscopic 3D mode on an Android-based tablet using the Nividia Tegra 3 platform with the help of an external 3D HDTV, 3D projector or a 3D monitor supporting HDMI 1.4 input. Recently I’ve had the chance to try out the new Asus Transformer Pad TF300 tablet with Tegra 3 for a bit and I’ve used the opportunity to do some stereoscopic 3D testing with it on a Panasonic 3D HDTV as well as on a passive 3D monitor from LG. The Transformer Pad tablet comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS and an additional dock station/keyboard which makes it a great alternative to a netbook for example. In order to use the stereoscopic 3D capabilities of the Tegra 3 inside you’d need to get an extra micro-HDMI to HDMI cable as such is not included in the accessories by default, then you need to just plug the tablet to the 3D display and enable the stereoscopic 3D functionality.

To enable the stereoscopic 3D functionality of the platform you need to go to the Settings menu of the tablet, and under System / HDMI to put a tick on “Enable 3D” and you are ready to go. Now you just need to run a compatible game that supports stereoscopic 3D output or play some stereo 3D content on the device and you’ll be able to see it in stereoscopic 3D format on the external 3D display device you’ve connected to the tablet.

In the Settings of the tablet here is an option to “Adjust game’s 3D depth” in the settings of the tablet that works pretty much like the depth slider you get with 3D Vision on PC. But you’d probably want to use the slider you have available in the quick settings menu (called from the lower right corner of screen) to be able to adjust the game’s depth level on the fly while playing it.

With the help of an external stereoscopic 3D-capable display on devices such as the Asus TF300 that are powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 you should be able to play games in stereo 3D mode, and also view 3D videos and 3D photos. Now the situation with the games is such that only some titles optimized for Tegra 3 will be playable in stereoscopic 3D mode, you can find the list of these on the official Tegra Zone website. In March when I last wrote about stereo 3D support on Tegra 3 the number of these games was 16 and unfortunately now, almost 4 months later that number has not increased, but even with 16 games it is quite Ok as you have a choice. The situation with 3D video playback out of the box was also Ok, you can just play a stereo 3D video in Side by Side and have it displayed on the external 3D display in stereoscopic 3D mode. For example the DEUS EX HOMINE short 3D moco time-lapse video still looks impressive even when played back trough a Tegra 3 powered tablet. With stereo 3D photos out of the box however I’ve had some trouble, the tablet was not properly playing neither JPS, nor MPO 3D photos in stereoscopic 3D format, it was showing them as Side by Side photos in 2D. So more testing is apparently required and I’m going to put that in my to do list – more stereoscopic 3D testing with Terga 3 tablets…

I’ve already mentioned that the stereoscopic 3D support found on the Tegra 3-powered Android-based tablets is similar to 3D Vision on PC and the same can pretty much be said about the level of quality of the stereoscopic 3D conversion of the supported games. Apparently there are profiles for the supported games with preset convergence and you can only control the depth level, also you are not able to kind of force the stereoscopic 3D rendering on games that are not officially supported. The stereoscopic 3D output in games does look very nice, for example in Shadowgun that is on the photos above, but there are still some minor issues that you can notice. Again things that you’d be familiar with if you’ve used 3D Vision on PC, like for example the 2D crosshair that is available in Shadowgun when running the game in stereo 3D mode. But these are all minor issues that most of the not so experienced with streo 3D users may not even notice. I’ve also tried paying Samurai II: Vengeance and Riptide GP and they also looked very nice in stereoscopic 3D mode with no serious issues in the stereo 3D rendering on the external 3D display…

So if you already happen to have a Nvidia Tegra 3 powered tablet or a smartphone for that matter I’d recommend you to try out the stereoscopic 3D output of the device with an external 3D display supporting HDMI 1.4 frame packaged 3D input. What I’m already waiting for is the next step – a Tegra 3-powered tablet with an autostereoscopic 3D display built-in, so you will not need to use an external 3D-capable display to use the 3D features. Hopefully the wait for such a tablet won’t be very long as there is one such already in the works and it is called Wikipad with the release date for the device currently set for some time in the end of the 3rd Quarter of this year, so maybe just around the corner already.

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IOGEAR 3D Complete+ 4-Port HDMI Switcher with 2D/3D Video Processor

June 28th, 2012 · 2 Comments · General 3D News

The company IOGEAR is not new to 3D-capable products and more importantly to interesting and innovative such ones, you may remember their wireless 3D video streaming product. Now they’ve just announced another interesting device that centers around a 4-port HDMI switcher with some interesting 3D capabilities as extra. The device called 3D Complete+ comes with a built-in 2D to 3D autoconversion functionality, allowing you to convert pretty much any 2D source with HDMI output into stereoscopic 3D, though mind you it is still an automatic conversion, so it will not be as good as good real stereo 3D content being played back on a 3D-capable display. There isn’t a lot of information regarding the 2D to 3D conversion algorithm being used or what results should you expect, this is something that needs testing, but the interesting thing is that the user has control over not only the strength of the simulated 3D effect, but also on the level of depth and pop-out.

Furthermore the IOGEAR 3D Complete+ features some built-in video enhancement functionality intended to improve the quality of the content you are watching using the device, especially when playing back more seriously compressed video from Internet or and SD video that can be upscaled 480i/p to 720p HD and 720p to FULL HD 1080p). Support for de-interlacing, bad light correction and adaptive sharpening as well as de-blocking and noise reduction are among the built-in video enhancement function available with the device and apparently you have the ability to see a split-screen before and after image with and without the image enhancements active (you can disable them of course). But the extra functionality that doesn’t get that much attention in this device is the ability to output 3D content in “Page Flip” or “Frame Sequential” format intended for use with “3D Ready” (3D DLP) projectors connected as output 3D device. The device itself features HDMI 1.4 support for 3D content and you should be able to feed it with HDMI 1.4 frame packaged content from lets say a Blu-ray 3D player and output the 3D in frame sequential or page flipped format on a 3D DLP projector that does not feature HDMI 1.4 support. This extra functionality makes the IOGEAR 3D Complete+ even more attractive solution for people looking for an adapter to allow them to get HDMI 1.4 support on their earlier 3D-capable DLP projectors that don’t have hardware support for it.

The IOGEAR 3D Complete+ has an MSRP of $199.95 USD and should soon be available. The only problem with this device in particular as well as with all other IOGEAR products is that aside from North America they are not that easy to find elsewhere…

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Blu-ray 3D Movie Playback With PC on a 3D HDTV Using HDMI 1.4

May 16th, 2012 · 3 Comments · Other S3D Tech

Following up on the story about the Roxio Cineplayer BD With 3D not being available anymore and the fact that there remain only three software Blu-ray 3D-capable players I’ve decided to check the current situation with them as well. I often get questions if somebody would be able to watch 3D movies on his old PC or laptop on a new 3D HDTV, something that seems easy at first, but things may get problematic depending on what is the video card in the system. The problem is that not all software Blu-ray 3D players support every popular 3D output mode and not output modes are available for all output formats.

Below you can find the requirements for playback of 3D videos on HDMI 1.4 3D HDTVs with the different solutions for playing back Blu-ray 3D movies, these are as per the website of the software developers requirements and specifications published on their websites… and they are not that clear.

Arcsoft TotalMedia Theatre 5
– NVIDIA GeForce 200/100 Series (Mobile/Desktop) or newer
– AMD (ATI) HD 5000 series or newer
– 2nd generation Intel Core processors with Intel HD Graphics

Corel WinDVD 11 Pro
– NVIDIA GeForce 500/400/300/200/100/9 series/8 series or newer
– AMD Radeon HD 6000 series or newer
– 2nd generation Intel Core processors with Intel HD Graphics

Cyberlink PowerDVD 12 Pro/Ultra
– NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 or newer
– AMD Radeon HD 6800 series or newer
– 2nd generation Intel Core processors with Integrated Graphics

So if you have a system with these specifications as a minimum (the specific GPU depending on the manufacturer), in theory you should not have trouble playing Blu-ray 3D movies on a 3D-capable HDTV using HDMI 1.4 frame packaging. These software solutions of course also support Nvidia 3D Vision, 3D DLP Checkerboard and Row Interleaved (passive 3D), Anaglyph and maybe a few extra ones and with them things are generally easier to setup and they simply work. The real problem is making things work using HDMI 1.4 frame packaging and it might turn to be more problematic, in my experience, to make an integrated Intel GPU work, so as a good advice I’d recommend to download the trial version of the three software Blu-ray 3D players mentioned above and try them all on your PC before deciding which one you should buy. This can save you a lot of trouble in actually making thing work as you want them to and not having to rely only on some requirements listed by the software developer as practice tends to show that these not always turn out to be true or things simply don’t work as you expect them to. Also, another good advice is to always use the latest official video drivers and to have all the updates for the player software as these do help in resolving some issues, although in some rare occasions they also might break compatibility.

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