02 Mar 2012


There are other options for getting 3D content to your TV.  We cannot really cover all the options in great detail, so much of this is a grand overview with some specific examples in the mix.

For the remainder of the article, except in my own personal example, I will leave the topic of buying a receiver out of the mix.  However, the general concept for receivers is that if you have Blu-Ray, a TV or a PC etc, you will get the best overall experience by throwing a multi-channel receiver / speaker setup into the mix (5.1 or 7.1 surround sound).  If you have or will have Blu-Ray content, then you will want to make sure that the receiver you choose can do the previously mentioned lossless codecs found on Blu-ray such as TrueHD and DTS-HD MA (master audio).  So the key factor to be future proof here, is spending $350 for a decent HDMI 1.4(a) receiver and you should be covered as in my case.  Of course you can get much more advanced audio receivers for a lot more money.

Lets move on to the another content player, that of a gaming console

Xbox 360 and PS3

If you purchase one of these (with the Xbox, make sure its the newer one with HDMI), you will be able to play some demos and full versions of games in 3D.  As is the often the issue, there isn't a ton of content that is 3D capable just yet.  I personally tried out a game called "Invisible Tiger:  The Legend of Han Tao" via the demo on the Xbox 360 and the effects were pretty amazing.  There was a lot of "pop" with this game.  Pop usually refers to objects sticking out of the screen while depth is just like "looking into an aquarium".

3D tested lists Xbox 360 games as below (as of October 2011 though).  Compared to the PS3, there are very few 3D games available for the Xbox 360.

Since the list for the PS3 is so extensive, I'm just going to provide the link to their list right here.

  Blu-ray players

If you choose to go the route of 3D capable Blu-ray players, then you will want to make sure the specs on the player match that of your TV.  You will usually need to know what type of 3D your TV can handle (checkerboard, side-by-side, etc) and then find a Blu-ray player that has the same output.  For instance, if you have a checkerboard 3-D TV (DLP) such as my older 61" Samsung, then you will probably have a hard time finding a checkerboard 3D player.  There are a few but they are generally in the $175 and up range.  The easier bet, is that you could still get a blu-ray player that supports other formats such as side-by-side and still make it work with your TV in some cases, with a special adapter.  The overall price-range on 3D Blu-ray players can be from $69 to $300.

3D Format Converters

In my case, for devices like Xbox 360 games that only support side-by-side (there are some that give you an option on formats), I found the Mitsubishi 3DA-1 DLP adapter for $85 on ebay (New its around $160).  This device can also fall under the newer model number 3DC-1000, usually found in a kit.  This adapter is only for certain DLP sets such as Mitsubishi and Samsung.  I put this adapter on the video output of my receiver (the HDMI cable that goes to the TV).  As a result, any HDMI 3D device I run through my receiver can be supported on my TV.  The device is on all the time and acts as a passthrough, I need only use that devices 3D button when viewing content that ISN'T checkerboard in my case.  I'll list its full specs later on.  I should mention that at least with some Samsung and Mitsubishi DLP TVs in conjunction with this 3DA-1 device, its best to find a build date that is prior to January 2011.  If you manage to find one that has this build date, then it won't be necessary to do what is called an EDID override on your TV, though doing one isn't really that hard or dangerous.  With one of these earlier build date 3DA-1's, you can just plug it in and go to town.  There is much chatter on this subject here at AVS Forum for more information.  If your TV is fairly new and you buy a newer Blu-ray player or build a PC with a modern video card or Sandy Bridge motherboard, you won't need this type of an adapter.  This is mainly for TV's that are DLP and checkerboard only.

  HTPC (Home Theater PC)

Another option for getting 3D content onto your TV would be that of the home theater PC.  When we say HTPC, we generally are referring to a low form factor PC that is along the lines of the size of VCR and will fit nicely in your media cabinet and run 24/7 typically.  However, any PC will do the trick, as long as it meets a few requirements (see Movie Viewing regular PC below).  If your only intention is to watch TV and movies then the recommendation is to buy or build your own HTPC.  These types of PC's can be left on and use very little energy when idle.  Often less than a 75 watt light bulb equivalent.

The exact specifics on what will work and what will not can get pretty detailed here.  In Part 5 you can see the motherboard I use for HTPC 3D movie viewing.  The motherboard I use is a Micro ATX with the Intel H55 chipset (LGA1156), using the on-cpu Intel HD Graphics from the i3-540 series CPU.  This works fine with a checkerboard 3D TV.  If you want full-proof, so that it will work with any TV, not just a checkerboard 3D TV, you would probably want to get a Sandy Bridge Micro ATX board or wait until June 2012 for an Ivy Bridge. 

What also depends, is whether you will just be viewing movies in 3D or if you will play PC video games in 3D.  If you want to also play games in 3D, unless you build a beefy HTPC, you'll probably just want to go the regular PC route, with some good video and cpu hardware.

Movie Viewing regular PC, Requirements

Many of you are already aware that most modern computers can handle Blu-ray pretty well, even dual core intel processors.  If you aren't interested in a 24/7 dedicated movie playing HTPC as above, then its not that difficult to find or build a PC that will do the trick and can be used for more than just 3D movies.

For 3D playback of movies, you will need typically a decent 3D GPU as well (graphics card), though not high end necessarily.  For instance, you can take a look at the PowerDVD minimum requirements for 3D here.  As you can see some of the minimums for Nvidia are things like a Geforce 7600 series card, which is fairly inexpensive.  Or with the ATI variety, the x1600 series (minimum).  Those are for hardware accelerated 3D, which is better than the alternative, no hardware acceleration.  The Intel HD Graphics embedded variety also works very well.

Viewing the 3D movies

Media Browser, a Media Center plugin

Once you have all the hardware together, you would then need the software.  Media Player with Media Browser is my favorite combination.  That combined with either PowerDVD (PDVD) or Total Media Theater (TMT) and you have yourself a full-fledged movie viewing PC or HTPC.  Media Browser is a plugin for Media Center which basically allows you to organize all your media into nice icons,  thumbnails and IMDB information on the screen, while TMT or PDVD are the media playback players, which have embedded Media Center Players. 

Now to make things more seamless, particularly if you have that dedicated HTPC, throw in a USB IR receiver to pick up signals from your remote control and also the software to send those signals to your playback software and you are set.  These often come with the remote, which if you have a Harmony remote you won't actually need the remote.  You can find the receiver only with some vendors.  My particular usb receiver is the USB RC-6

Usually even with the remote they can be had for under $30.  For the software I recommend Intelliremote, this allows your remote to work seamlessly with Media Center and other applications via Intelliremote's profiles.  These profiles can even be customized, so you can fire off special commands from a button press on the remote.

If you want the ultimate, easy to use and configure remote, you should definitely check out the Harmony series of remote controls.  My remote is the Harmony 880 ($180), which has worked perfectly over the years.  These type of remotes use a usb cable, connected to a PC then to the internet to program the devices and commands.  It makes for very easier configuration.  No more looking up IR codes in manuals to figure out how to program the remote.

 3D game playing PC

Now onto playing games, which ups the hardware requirements by quite a bit.  Generally speaking you will need at least a quad core computer with a decent video card.  An i7 2600K makes an excellent 3D CPU and you can overclock it for greater frame rate performance.  We won't get into the overclocking in this article, however.

Couple this with an AMD/ATI 4800 series or higher GPU (or an Nvidia equivalent) and you should be set.  I should mention, for greater compatibility and less hassle, it may be recommended to go with an Nvidia GPU and get the Nvidia 3D Vision kit.   See this list for what games are supported with Nvidia and 3D Vision.


Many games support this kit right out of the box.  However, as in my case, I have the ATI 5850 card, so I ended up getting the Tridef 3D software. 

It seemed to be the best choice over the iZ3D option, which seems to be on its way out.  Both of these will support the ability to transform existing 2D content, including games, photos, pictures, into 3D fun, with some limitations.  For instance, some games like Batman Arkham City don't have a DirectX 11 working profile (at the time of this writing) for Tridef, you are forced to run the game in Directx 9 for the best 3D viewing, however at the cost of lesser quality graphics (see this list for what games are supported).  This is where 3D on a console is much easier to deal with, because the developers have 3D written into the game code.  All you need is a 3D console and a 3D game and your done with that option.  However, for the games that do work on a PC in 3D, such as Skyrim, it is very much worth the effort of getting things working.  These software packages on the PC add some overhead to the game, which can reduce your FPS.  Hence, overclocking the CPU or GPU can help, or just getting better equipment.

Now on to the final section, Part 5 (Personal setup full details and conclusion)...

 Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Source:  Wikipedia, Lge

Use this QR code in a QR reader application on mobile to open quickly on a mobile device

blog comments powered by Disqus

Flight-Stew Now Live

Be sure to visit our newest site, Flight-Stew, now active!

Recently Added



Which format do you prefer for buying games on Xbox One and PS4?

Show Results



       Support Tech-Stew
        Make a Donation

Recent Comments