Last week I was able to see a live demonstration of the Nvidia 3DTV Play in action. The software was running on Sony 3D and Panasonic 3D HDTVs and demonstrated on them was playing games in stereoscopic 3D mode as well as Blu-ray 3D movie playback using PowerDVD 10 Ultra Mark II. And after seeing it in action for the first time I was able to clarify some things for myself and it yet again has sparkled my interest into 3D-capable HDTVs, because with the general lack of other 3D content the part about PC gaming in stereo 3D mode on a big-screen 3D TV is what would actually justify the purchase of a high-end television set with 3D capabilities‚?¶
The 3DTV Play software seems to act like a kind of wrapper providing 720p 50/60Hz and 1080p 24Hz per eye resolutions for 3D playback and using the 3D Vision driver that is now a part of the video drivers for GeForce video cards. Trying Just Cause 2 running at Full HD 1080p resolution and with 24 frames per second in 3D actually felt surprisingly good, fluid just like playing most games on a console, and although not like the way PC users are used to play with higher framerates it is still Ok. Of course playing in 720p resolution with higher framerates might be better and actually the difference in perceptible quality between playing in 1080p and 720p taking the framerate aside is not so easily noticeable. The software seemed to work quite easy and problem free, although it most likely wasn't the final version that should be soon released.
The Nvidia 3DTV Play software is expected to be available sometime later this month, so the wait is almost over for the people that were early in actually buying a HDMI 1.4(a) 3D-capable HDTV and want to easily use it for gaming in stereo 3D. And since the Panasonic Viera 3D HDTVs are currently on top of my personal list on deciding which 3D TV I should probably buy for 3D testing and personal entertainment, I was more interested in how it performed in stereo 3D mode and in this case it was the 50-inch VT20E available in Europe.
Something that caught my attention was the dithering on the Panasonic, and since it is a plasma TV these flashing colorful dots on black are to be expected to some extent. Of course they are visible only when watching the TV screen from very close distance and when you get to the optimum viewing distance you cannot actually perceive them as they blend nicely creating the full image. The above image shows the dithering in normal 2D mode‚?¶
Here is another picture with the same image displayed on the screen, taken when the TV is in 3D mode, but not trough the glasses. The dithering is a bit more visible from closer distance, but again when getting back a bit from the TV things are again Ok. As I already said the dithering is normal for Plasma TVs, however it is less visible on some and more apparent on other TVs, so it is actually not an issue, I just expected it to be a bit less apparent as it is with the Samsung 3D Plasma TVs for example.
Anyway, another thing that differs the Panasonic 3D TVs is the fact that they do not feature a 2D to 3D conversion algorithm built-in, which is not exactly a bad thing and I personally can go just fine without such a feature. However I'm still not to happy with the design of the glasses, sure they do look quite nice and with a futuristic design, but the functionality part is a bit neglected‚?¶ in terms of best 3D shutter glasses on my personal list Sony is still at the top spot. But anyway, I will not be making a purchase of a 3D HDTV before the 3DTV Play software comes out officially and I'm able to play a bit more with it on different TVs as for me the purchase of such 3D-capable HDTV at the moment will be mostly targeted at gaming‚?¶ even if it is in 720p 50/60Hz, although quite a few games should be just fine when played back even in 1080p 24Hz too.
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