I have tried out two 3D simulators, the one in PowerDVD 14, and the one in my Sony 2013 year TV, but I don't use them for normal viewing. For my vision they create too many artefacts, though they add a bit of interest to the viewing experience.
I've tried PowerDVD 14. It analyses layers in considerable detail and spaces them at different 3D depths. However it seems unable to estimate the depth change between layers accurately.
For example, there's a scene about 9 minutes into the Doctor Who
episode Inthe Forest of the Night
where Mr Pink accepts Bradley's offer to be the navigator for the class. They are all in a forest and there is a London Underground Railway sign amongst the vegetation. Here is an example of what such a sign looks like in 2D:
In that Dr Who
scene, PowerDVD 14 placed the word UNDERGROUND on a separate layer, well in front of the red circle, making the word UNDERGROUND look like a separate physical structure to the rest of the sign. In the same scene it placed Bradley's head, partly covered by vegetation, well behind the rest of his body. The software is fairly good at detecting the order of layers but fairly poor at allocating appropriate strengths for the depth values. To get around that problem, I set the PowerDVD depth control at about 25% of full. This still leaves an obvious 3D effect but softens the impact of the more obvious depth exaggerations.
In testing, I have found that the PowerDVD simulation copes well with sudden scene changes.
I would agree.
Of course the scene must have enough layer cues in it for a 3D simulator to use. I find with my 2013 year Sony TV, that it attempts little 3D depth simulation with certain (ambiguous?) scenes but on others it will "go to town" in identifying layers and allocating different depth values.
Good questions! I can only offer a few comments.
Passive vs active should make no difference. These are different technologies for displaying
the left and right images. Simulation is about creating
the left and right images. [Simulation software can use the 2D source as one view, and synthesize a second view. Both of these views are then sent to the display.]
2013 year Sony 4k TV
I have a Sony 2013 year 65" 4k passive 3D set released in Australia (model KD65X9004A). For my eyes it performs badly on off-air (50Hz) material when there is a change of scene. There's often a momentary discontinuity in the 3D effect. This doesn't happen so much with a signal from a pc, or from a Blu-ray movie. In fact the simulation quality is not too bad with a Blu-ray movie. The highest setting for the 3D effect would suit people who like a strong effect, but it will occasionally create odd exaggerations, e.g. a newsreader's head may seem to protrude forward excessively compared with the rest of their body. I would use the medium setting. For those very averse to seeing artefacts, the low setting would be the safest to use.
The effect seems quite arbitrary at times, e.g. a pc screen of application icons will be processed so as to place some individual icons forwards and some backwards and will layer parts of some icons. This might be experienced as "interesting" and adding "spice" but there is no reality to adding 3D to a pc desktop of icons!
With real life content, the algorithms seem to get the order of the layering correct most of the time, but the extent of change in 3D depth from one layer to the next is at times exaggerated.