Probably stupid question, see title, but I read this article and wondered if I could apply it to my tv,
Many thanks in advance,
It could be a while before studios release home versions of big pictures like Coraline and Monsters vs Aliens in 3D. But you don't need to wait. Provided that you have a 3D-capable HDTV, turning it into a 3D home theater that is capable of playing any off-the-shelf DVD in 3D is surprisingly easy. Here's how to make the conversion.
BY SETH PORGES
March 30, 2009 3:25 AM
First things first, you need to find out if your TV is 3D-capable. Because it's still a fairly niche feature, TV manufacturers often don't state whether their sets come loaded with the capability. Still, a surprising number do. In fact, every single new DLP set is 3D-capable, and a fair number of new plasmas are. (Samsung is making a big push in this area.) If you're unsure about your set, call customer service or check the instruction manual.
A 3D-capable TV. For the purpose of this story, we used the Samsung PN50A450 50-in plasma, which retails for $1200.
The Samsung SSG1000 3D Accessory Kit, which includes one pair of 3D shutter glasses (to get other glasses, it will cost more), a 3D emitter, and all the software you need. It retails for $130.
A PC (preferably one with an HDMI jack)
Your favorite DVDs
How It Works
3D works by tricking our brains into thinking each eye is watching the same image from a slightly different angle. When you see a 3D movie in the theaters, the process is simple. Just plop on the cheap plastic glasses and try not to plow through the popcorn too quickly. But those glasses only work with special 3D-enabled projectors and movie screens. Your home TV doesn't have these filters and lenses, and so it needs to use a bit more technical trickery to enable each of your eyes to see a different image. To do this, it uses what are called shutter glasses. The TV's image is refreshed 120 times per second. These glasses have lenses that effectively split the image between each eye by "shuttering" open and closed 60 times per secondfast enough that you can't tell what's going on. This flickering is tuned so that each eye is open at alternating times, receiving completely different images from the same screen and resulting in the 3D effect.
DDD, the company that makes the software that converts the two-dimensional DVDs and media files into 3D live as they play, explains how this works on its website: "The technology analyzes the color, position and motion characteristics of objects in a sequence of video frames and uses depth estimation to render stereoscopic views. The approach is broadly applicable to any 3D display device including glasses-based and glasses-free systems."
What It's Like
It's a mixed experience.
I tested the program on about a dozen test subjects, and the response was pretty much the same across the board. For the first few minutes, jaws were dropped to the floorpeople couldn't believe what they were seeing. Freaks and Geeks in 3D! My DVD of old Residents music videos in 3D. Whoah! ("Amazing!" "Wow!" "How the heck is that happening?")
But the initial excitement soon subsided, and my guinea pigs inevitably asked me to turn the 3D off. ("Can we just watch the movie regularly now?") Fact is, the experience is cool, and initially impressive, but it just isn't very enjoyable. At least not yet. The main problem is the lack of subtlety. The best digital 3D movies make deliberate and extensive use of the third dimension, either by throwing stuff at the audience's face, or by immersing it in the environment. The instant 2D-to-3D software doesn't do that. It just pops some things into the foreground.
Most of the 3D effect appeared to be coming from a few simple tricks. The program seemed to push the bottom of the screen into the foreground, and progressively slope the upper part of the image into the background. This is presumably done based on the belief that the bottom of the screen is more likely to contain the subject of the scene, but it had the effect of making you feel as if you were looking up at something from belowlike a tall building or a Big Mac on a highway billboard. "The basic assumption is that whatever is on the bottom of the screen is in the front," says Douglas Hunter, vice president of licensing for DDD. "Yes, but that's just one of about 15 different things the software looks for in deciding the depth values for each object. It's also looking at things such as color, contrast, motion, and object structure."
While the TriDef experience pales next to the carefully calibrated shots of Coraline, the promise is there. The program came with a "3D Demo Reel" of specially made footage, and these videos looked absolutely spectacular. The 3D version of Google Earth was similarly impressive, as was a 3D-ified Command and Conquer. Producing decent 3D footage is an art, and it's not one that a simple PC program is able to replicate on the fly. At least not yet.
How to Set It Up
Step 1: Plug in the Emitter.
In order for these shutter glasses to work, you need to use an emitter that tunes the glasses' rapid-fire shuttering with the image on the screen. This emitter, which comes with the glasses, needs to be plugged into the back of your TV. If you have a 3D-enabled TV, there will be a small jack in the back labeled "3D Sync Out." Plug the transmitter in and place it next to your TV, facing forward.
Step 2. Install the enclosed software on your PC.
The shutter glasses also come packaged with a program called TriDef Media Player. Pop the disc in your computer and install it, then hook the PC up to your TV. The best way to do this is with an HDMI cable. With the Samsung TV we tested this out on, the 3D only worked if it was plugged into the "HDMI 2" jack, so read your TV's instruction manual to make sure you've plugged into the right input. Then go to the TV's menu and look for a setting called "3D Mode." Turn it on.
Step 3. Turn on Your Glasses.
Now it's time to turn the glasses on. There is a small button on the bottom of the glasses. Press it. Note that the glasses stop working if they aren't facing toward the emitter, so make sure there is a clear line of sight between the two objects.
Step 4. Pop in a DVD and Adjust the Settings.
TriDef Media Player acts just like any media-playing program, only it gives you the option of playing your video files and DVDs in 3D. You should only play a saved file if it is very high qualityotherwise TriDef will automatically shrink it to an unwatchably small size. DVDs provide a better experience. To play a DVD, pop it in the PC's drive and press "F4."
The DVD will begin playing. On the bottom right of the window will be a big circular button labeled "3D." Click it to switch between 2D and 3D modes. Directly to the right of this button will be two setting bars that you can adjust. One changes how "deep" the 3D is, and the other adjusts how much of the picture is in the foreground. Cranking both of these settings up will result in a more intense 3D experience, but will also make the movie slightly nauseating. I found the best experience came from keeping both settings slightly under 50 percent.
Read more: How To Make Your Television Play Anything in 3D - TV and DVD 3d Emitter - Popular Mechanics