3D Vision Blog

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

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Sony BRAVIA KD-84X9005 is Another 84-inch 4K Passive 3D HDTV

August 29th, 2012 · 2 Comments · General 3D News

Following the recent announcement from LG for an 84-inch 4K Ultra Definition 3D HDTV, Sony is also up to the 4K game as they have announced a similar product – Sony BRAVIA KD-84X9005. Sony is also going to release an 84-inch 4K resolution passive 3D HDTV like what LG is going to start offering in September, however Sony should have their product on the market by the end of the year. The 4K (3840×2160 pixels) LCD HDTV from Sony will also be equipped with HDMI 1.4 interface capable of supporting the panel’s native resolution in 2D mode, but not stereo 3D mode higher than 1080p. So you’ll be getting Full HD 3D support as maximum over the HDMI 1.4 interface that will be upscaled to 4K by the TV set. The fact that the 3D is being achieved with passive 3D technology however will make it possible to use Row Interleaved output to the display to have 3D content at 3840×1080 resolution per eye in stereo 3D mode at 24, 25 or 30Hz, so no the 60Hz that some of you might expect as we are hitting the HDMI 1.4 interface bandwidth limit. So don’t be i a hurry to be an early adopter of 4K 3D HDTV if you really want to be able to fully enjoy the higher resolution in 3D as well, though there is still total lack of consumer accessible 2D and 3D content at 4K resolution anyway.

For more infrmation about Sony’s BRAVIA KD-84X9005 4K 3D HDTV…

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What Should Nvidia Do With the “Optimized for GeForce” Solution

July 24th, 2012 · 3 Comments · Other S3D Tech

Probbaly not many of you are aware what exactly is this thing called “Optimized for GeForce” that Nvidia actually does not promote a lot, so you don’t have an idea what it is. Nvidia puts the “Optimized for GeForce” logo on products that have licensed their 3D software for use on passive 3D solutions or autostereoscpic 3D ones. Nvidia actually calls this 3D support for entry level glasses-free and passive 3D displays and unfortunately there are just a few products that carry that logo and provide support for the same thing that 3D Vision offers on active 3D displays with the difference being that on passive 3D displays you get half vertical resolution in 3D mode and half horizontal resolution in 3D mode on autostereoscopic 3D displays. The rest is essentially the same – the same number of profiles of 3D games, the same interface and control of the 3D effect, the same support and software for playing back 3D videos and opening 3D photos.

So why isn’t the “Optimized for GeForce” solution more popular and widely used on different 3D-capable products that have passive or autostereoscopic 3D displays? It is hard to properly answer that, but considering that DDD has teamed up with the two major OEMs making 3D displays in general as well as 3D monitors for PC – Samsung for active 3D and LG for passive 3D, it is probably not that easy to convince them or other makers of 3D displays that you have better alternative. You either have to offer better price for the license agreement or coming in other way, but there is one other major disadvantage that “Optimized for GeForce” has and that is the fact that it will only work on systems that have Nvidia-based 3D-capable graphics cards, so that essentially limits the users a bit. So the question here is why Nvidia is not more active with their “Optimized for GeForce” solution now, especially considering the fact that the other competitor besides DDD and their TriDef 3D software – iZ3D, has stopped developing their software also supporting passive 3D displays for a while now?

At the moment there are only two 3D-capable passive 3D monitors supporting the “Optimized for GeForce” solution and they are both from Acer – ACER GR235H and ACER HR274H, and there are two series of autostereoscopic 3D-capable laptops from Toshiba – TOSHIBA QOSMIO F750 and TOSHIBA QOSMIO F755. But in reality out there there are a lot of passive and autostereoscopic 3D capable display devices that should be compatible and may be able to work with “Optimized for GeForce”. So why doesn’t Nvidia go the same way with “Optimized for GeForce” as they did with their 3DTV Play software for 3D HDTVs – offer users of passive 3D displays to purchase a license and use the software with their 3D-capable hardware (with glasses-free solutions it may be a bit harder as there are various implementations available). This would actually give an alternative solution to those that use the bit outdated already iZ3D Driver or the TriDef 3D software and want to have another solution that might work better on other hardware, provided that they have a compatible Nvidia-based video card. Of course there are always other methods to make things work on not officially supported hardware like to use an EDID override driver from another compatible monitor, but while this works well most of the time, there is no guarantee that it will work in your case or will not give you different trouble, so it is not very recommended… but when you don’t have another choice.

What do you think, should Nvidia reconsider their strategy for “Optimized for GeForce” and offer it not only as a licensing option for hardware manufacturers to bundle it with their 3D-capable displays, but also to offer licenses of the software to end users of passive and autostereoscopic 3D solutions as well?

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Review of the 23-inch Asus VG23AH Passive 3D IPS Display

June 21st, 2012 · 23 Comments · Other S3D Tech

Back in April, when Asus announced their VG23AH passive 3D monitor with IPS panel I was quite interested in the product and now, a bit later I’ve got the chance to do some testing with a sample unit that I got from Asus for this review. I’m assuming that you already know what are the differences between an active and a passive 3D solution, so I will not be comparing the two technologies here, but instead will focus on the features and performance of the Asus display in question. The 23-inch Asus VG23AH 3D monitor uses passive 3D technology (FPR 3D) on top of an IPS LCD panel, it features HDMI 1.4 interface with support for frame packaged content as well as Side by Side and Over/Under and there is also a built-in 2D to 3D conversion functionality. What is more interesting, especially for stereo 3D gamers is the fact that Asus does not bundle this 3D monitor with any kind of stereoscopic 3D solution for transforming 3D games into stereo 3D ones. This is neither an “Optimized for GeForce” product, not it comes with the TriDef 3D software or the iZ3D Driver, however the good news is you can use pretty much any product that provides you with Row Interleaved output together with the monitor to output in 3D.

Asus VG23AH Specifications:

Panel Size: 23.0″(58.4cm), Full HD 1920×1080
Panel Type: IPS LCD, LED backlight
Pixel Pitch: 0.2652mm
Brightness(Max): 250 cd/m2
ASUS Smart Contrast Ratio (ASCR): 80000000:1 (dynamic)
Viewing Angle (CR>=10): 178°(H)/178°(V)
Response Time: 5ms (Gray to Gray)
Display Colors: 16.7M
3D Technology: FPR 3D Technology
Signal Input: 2x HDMI 1.4, D-Sub, DVI-D
Power Consumption: <40W (Typical), Power Saving/Power Off Mode <0.5W Phys. Dimension with Stand (WxHxD): 550.2x419.5x250mm Net Weight (Esti.): 6.5kg

The Asus VG23AH monitor comes bundled with two pairs of passive 3D glasses – one normal and one clip-on for use with prescription glasses. This is a typical configuration for passive 3D monitors and the good news is that the monitor is compatible with pretty much any RealD-compatible passive 3D pair of glasses, these can be found really cheap, but you can also use them together with a better quality, more comfortable and nicer looking while still affordable glasses such as the ones made by Oskav that I’ve also tested the display with and they work perfectly fine. There are of course much more expensive designer passive 3D glasses available, but going for such is a bit more of a personal preference, I probably am not going to spend a three number figure for passive 3D glasses, unless I really like the design a LOT. With that said, the standard glasses that Asus bundled with the display are quite OK, but they were a bit small for me personally and the larger Oskav glasses (both the frame and the lenses) that I’ve had handy were more comfortable for use with the display. The clip-on glasses were OK, but I prefer to wear normal glasses on top of my prescription glasses when using stereo 3D monitor than to use clip-on glasses, again this is more a matter of personal preference.

The monitor comes with two HDMI 1.4 connectors that support 3D as well as with a single DVI and single VGA connectors and there are some things that you should know when using these different video interfaces, especially regarding the viewing of stereo 3D content. Officially only the HDMI 1.4 interfaces support stereo 3D since the monitor does not come with a software solution to allow you to output any kind of stereoscopic 3D content, but since this is a traditional passive 3D display you can use most of the stereoscopic 3D software configured to output in Row Interleaved mode. There are some functions however that will only work with the HDMI interface for example the manual switching capability to Side by Side or Over/Under mode from the monitor’s menu is only active when using the HDMI interface. The built-in 2D to 3D autoconversion functionality is available for all interfaces and it does quite a decent job, although I won’t recommend it over any software that supports stereoscopic 3D output or a video that has a 3D version. You can also control the level of simulated depth when using the 2D to 3D conversion feature, something that is good to play with if you are getting more ghosting if you increase the strength of the simulated effect more. And a bit more on the levels of ghosting that the VG23AH provides you with in a bit.

If you’ve seen the active 3D model VG236HE from Asus that was released back in 2010 you may notice quite a few similarities between it and the VG23AH, at least in terms of the external appearance of the two products. Of course being able to review the Asus VG236HE 3D monitor I’ll have to compare it to this one in terms of performance and the good news is that the new model performs better in terms of stereoscopic 3D quality compared to the older active 3D solution. That of course does not necessarily make it the better choice and if it did not perform better I’d personally be disappointed, especially since there is quite a big time difference between the release of the two products. One of the things that I was not too happy when the VG236HE was released was the glossy display that it used, now that drawback has been improved significantly with the VG23AH, it is still a glossy display, but with much better coating that behaves almost like a matte display than a glossy one.

Considering the fact that we have an IPS LCD panel used in the Asus VG23AH it is normal to expect good out of the box results in terms of color reproduction, however the factory settings disappoint a bit. The most likely reason for that is that Asus wanted to really keep up to their specs and provide really high brightness – the one they list in the specs is covered. It is hard to say anything about the incredibly high dynamic contrast ratio that Asus claims for this monitor, however at the factory settings I’ve measured around 0.29 cd/m2 black point with 855:1 contrast ratio.

Calibrating the monitor does bring really good results with very little brightness loss, still over 200 cd/m2. The color accuracy after calibration is what you’d expect from an IPS panel, but the funny thing actually is that the latest generation of 120Hz TN panels such as the one used in the Asus VG278H active 3D monitor does provide just slightly worse results after calibration. This just means that TN LCDs are starting to catch up to IPS at least in color accuracy, although they are still behind in terms of the width of the viewing angles, on the other hand you can say that IPS is also catching up in terms of response time and getting close to what TN can do. After the calibration the black point of the monitor remains at pretty much the same level, but due to the decrease of the total brightness level you can expect that the contrast level will be lower. Don’t forget that this calibration is done in a way to achieve best results while retaining the highest brightness level possible, so at the cost of some more brightness you may also achieve better results if you need.

Now, since I’ve mentioned the response time I’ll have to talk a bit more about it here as it is something important that may affect your experience using this monitor in stereo 3D mode. You should know that the response time of the pixels in a 3D display is a very important factor as if they are not fast enough you are going to be getting more of the so called crosstalk or ghosting. And while IPS is still not fast enough in terms of response time for 120Hz panels in active 3D monitors, it is quite Ok for use in the 60Hz passive 3D displays. With that said you should not expect perfect results on the Asus VG23AH with the stock settings as the Trace Free function of the display is set to 60 (this controls the level of overdrive used to improve the response time of the pixels) and this actually introduced quite a lot of crosstalk/ghosting with contrasting objects that are moving. So you’d want to lower the Trace Free value than the stock 60, going down to 20 makes things more acceptable and you may want to even go to 0.

Time for some crosstalk/ghosting testing, starting with the extreme black and white test photos that I’m using to see how things look in close to worst case scenarios, though you’ll hardly get things so bad when using the display normally in stereo 3D mode. The moire effect you can see on the white in the photo is caused by the “interlacing” of the display when viewed trough one of the lenses of the glasses, when viewed normally you will not see this effect, so don’t be bothered by it. The situation with the white is really good and the black is also quite good and these are extreme case scenarios with really high contrasting objects on completely white or black. Here, as with other passive 3D solutions you should be aware that you should keep within a very narrow vertical viewing angle in order not to loose the stereoscopic 3D effect, otherwise the level of crosstalk may significantly increase to a state where you’ll completely loose the feeling of volume. The tests here were performed at a vertical viewing angle of zero, normally you should be OK within 5 to 7 degrees, but not more, so be careful when you setup a passive 3D monitor and don’t blame it if you are getting bad results just because you are not using it right.

The sailboats 3D video test exposes just some faint and very hardly visible ghosting, so again very good performance here, although not perfect as there are some 3D displays that don’t show any crosstalk at all on this test.

And finally some real-world tests using the game Tomb Raider Underworld in stereoscopic 3D mode, a good example to show that the Asus VG23AH does indeed have just a little crosstalk and performs very well in stereoscopic 3D mode. The top of the screen does not show any crosstalk at all if you lower the Trace Free, if you keep it at the default value of 60 you will see some afterimage. The bottom part has some faint crosstalk visible, but no color ghosting due to the overdrive (something we’re used in seeing with active 3D monitors).

So what is the conclusion about the 23-inch Asus VG23AH passive 3D IPS monitor? A very good IPS monitor for use in 2D mode and very well performing in stereo 3D mode passive 3D display, not to mention that it comes with quite attractive price for a monitor with an IPS panel and 3D features. If you don’t have a license for iZ3D or TriDef 3D you’d probably have to add in the expense for getting one as there isn’t one bundled, but you’ll need that only if you plan on playing games in stereo 3D mode on it. And if you are not bothered by the fact that you are limited to 60Hz in 2D mode and you have only half vertical resolution when you are using the display in stereo 3D mode, then you might as well go for the Asus VG23AH instead of a more expensive active 3D monitor. It is a bit of a shame that this monitor did not get into the “Optimized for GeForce” Nvidia program as it would’ve made it an almost perfect solution for stereoscopic 3D use out of the box, but still Asus did a surprisingly good job with this product. So if you are considering to go for a passive 3D monitor you’d probably want to put the Asus VG23AH among the top models in the list of possible candidates.

If you want to get the Asus VG23AH 23-inch LED-lit IPS Passive 3D Monitor…

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