How 3D Vision works
Unlike many of the other 3D stereoscopic solutions out there, NVIDIA uses active shutter glasses for 3D Vision. Unlike passive solutions, which are considerably less expensive as they rely on simple polarized filters, these active shutter glasses essentially act as two displays – one for each eye – with each lens shutting off every other frame. The lenses constantly alternate between on/off back and forth for each eye, with one lens allowing light to pass through so you can see, while the other is blacked out. As a result, each eye sees alternating frames, with each frame slightly offset from the previous frame. This creates the illusion of 3D to our eyes, even though you’re actually looking at a 2D image.
For everything to seem fluid to your eyes, a lot has to happen behind the scenes. For starters, the lenses in the 3D glasses have to be capable of flicking on and off multiple times per second, while the monitor itself must support a high refresh rate in order to eliminate headache-inducing flicker. This is why NVIDIA requires a 120Hz display for 3D Vision: 60Hz are dedicated to each eye.
An IR emitter is then used to link the 3D glasses wirelessly to the display. The IR emitter is critical to the whole process, as it plays a key role in synching the image currently being displayed by the monitor with the active shutter glasses. According to NVIDIA it has a range of 20 feet and requires line-of-sight with the glasses in order to communicate.
It’s here where things could potentially get a little dicey in LAN situations with multiple 3D Vision glasses in use simultaneously. With each pair of glasses requiring their own IR emitter, and multiple emitters in close vicinity to each other, you have the potential for conflicts. When setting up 3D Vision NVIDIA asks how you plan to use it: hooked up to a PC with no IR devices nearby, home theater environment with IR remotes for your TV, DVD, etc may exist, or LAN. As you can imagine, the NVIDIA setup screen recommends the first scenario, although we didn’t have a problem running it with a TV/remote nearby.
3D Vision displays
As we mentioned above, you’ll need a 120Hz capable display for 3D Vision to work. As of right now there are two LCDs on the market that fit that description, Samsung’s SyncMaster 2233RZ, and the ViewSonic FuHzion VX2265wm. Both displays are 22” with a max resolution of 1680x1050, 5ms typical response time, and MSRPs of $399, with the FuHzion VX2265wm sporting a contrast ratio of 1000:1 (typ), while the Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ’s contrast ratio goes up to 20000:1.
You’ll also need to use the dual-link DVI cable bundled with the monitor in order for 3D Vision to work.
Keep in mind that many LCD TVs boast 120Hz support, but they aren’t true 120Hz devices.
Besides monitors, 3D Vision is also compatible with many DLP HDTVs from Mitsubishi, as well as projectors. Here you’ll want to look out for the “3D-Ready” logo. ViewSonic for instance has announced a 3D-Ready DLP projector, the PJD6220-3D, which retails for $1,499. It’s limited to a native res of 1024x768 though.
NVIDIA provides a list of 3D Vision compatible devices here
. You’ll see that 3D Vision also supports any 100Hz CRT, so those of you who hate to throw things away may want to whip that old 20” CRT out of your closet to experience 3D Vision until the prices on 3D-Ready TVs and 120Hz LCDs comes down.