It's been a busy weekend, guys, so this is a little later than I thought it would be.
IMO the 3D-Bee can be great, but it's real time conversion, so it can be counted on to miss the mark fairly frequently. The type of content will determine how well it performs, as well as your own personal tolerance when it doesn't quite get it right.
I did all my viewing on a Samsung D7000 plasma, 64", in side by side mode.
First the good:
The 3D-Bee creates zero artifacts that I can pick up on. The image is probably the best side by side 3D I've ever watched. If you showed me a full HD left image and then the scaled half-res left image from the 3D-Bee, I doubt I would be able to tell the difference. It looks that good. I had been concerned that a side by side image might be soft, or might show excessive MPEG artifacts, as I've experienced with other side by side videos. That fear evaporated immediately. The image looks much cleaner and more detailed than images being scaled by the Samsung with its built-in conversion.
I put in a Blu-ray disc of "Over America," a high def fly-over of much of the country, from east coast to west, Alaska to Hawaii. The approach is simple, but I've always liked it. I had planned to watch only a few clips and move on, but I ended up watching the whole thing. Practically from start to finish, the sense of depth was rich and satisfying. You'd have to have a relatively wide interaxial 3D camera to achieve the same degree of separation between trees, roads, canyons and rivers. I've only found one example of a 3D video converted by the expensive Teranex, and it was a remarkable fly-over of a river which ends in a waterfall. I didn't expect the Bee to come close to that level of performance. I was wrong. The Bee's conversion of similar 2D material looked every bit as good to me as the Teranex. I was shocked. Cityscapes were equally convincing. Looking straight down while the helicopter flies over New York or LA never disappointed. The Bee got the buildings, elevated roadways and bridges right almost without fail. And it didn't matter how much fine detail was in the scene. In fact, it seemed to make it easier for the Bee if there was tons of it. It never faltered or struggled to keep up at scene changes, like my Samsung does. It was instantaneous. My LG LM7600 passive display is closer than the Samsung in conversion performance, but it still doesn't match the Bee. (And contrast sucks on the LG anyway, so I seldom watch 3D movies on it. I use it primarily to edit 3D.)
Another positive about the Bee is that it performs well even in low light scenes that the Samsung can't handle. Even clouds can show some depth. Cities at night in "Over America" maintained accurate dimensionality.
Note that I was using the "Movie" preset for my viewing of "Over America." It's a more "subtle" setting, not too exaggerated and not too flat. Different settings on the Bee will give you very different results, but generally speaking I found the "milder" settings best for my own personal taste.
Up next, "Cars." I had watched several scenes from this film last week on the LG display with its built-in conversion. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it performed. For this title at least, it was on par with the Bee. I also have "Cars 2" in native 3D, and I wouldn't confuse either conversion for real Pixar 3D animation, but it was respectable nonetheless and added to my enjoyment of the scenes. There were, however, many more "Oh, that's not quite right" moments than in "Over America."
I've always liked the live Broadway production of "Rent." It's been a good test for my projectors, in terms of high contrast lighting and black level. The set is simple, but the Bee performed quite well with it, giving a good sense of the depth of the stage. Like all conversions I've watched, though, the Bee can be fooled easily into thinking that bright objects are closer than darker ones, even when they're not. That can be jarring, no matter which converter is causing it. The Bee gets such things wrong about as frequently as other conversions I've seen.
Then I turned to a few TV shows. I watched scenes from "Eureka," a favorite of mine. The Samsung does an OK job of "Eureka" conversions much of the time, and I think it's because the DPs built up good "layers" within many of their shots. What always disappoints with the Samsung's "Eureka" conversions, though, is the frequency of the cardboard cut out effect. Objects may be placed accurately in z-space, but a person, and especially a person's face, may look flat. That's a nasty slap in the face that pulls me right out of the story. The Bee does a better job of mitigating the "flat face" look than the Samsung conversion, although it can still intrude unless you exaggerate the depth. When you do that with the Bee, you can give form to the flat features lost completely to built-in converters. I don't know this for a fact, but it's my understanding that the Teranex has no variable depth settings at all.
Next, I dropped in MLB's Blu-ray disc of the 2011 baseball playoffs and World Series. As a native St. Louisan, baseball is in my blood.
This was hit or miss for me (honestly, I just now saw the pun). I tried all the settings and I favored "Game" best, but not by much. It never quite clicked for me in 3D. My brain and eyes seemed in a constant state of confusion with one another. I don't give the conversion an F here, but certainly not an A or B.
I also watched a few episodes of "Ben and Kate" from my DVR. I don't know exactly why, but this is one of my favorite new shows. This type of material was similar to baseball for me. I found it quite distracting at times, with inconsistent z-space placement of people and objects around the home. I had a hard time trying to make up my mind if I wanted to introduce more or less exaggeration to the 3D effect, but I ended up using less.
To sum up my early impressions, I don't think the 3D-Bee is going to make converts of those who don't value 2D to 3D conversion. It misses too often for that. For those of us who think conversion has its place, it's a really good performer. For me, documentaries such as "Over America" make it worth the asking price. IMO, it's definitely better than my Samsung's conversion, but the LG sometimes gets really close. Unfortunately, I couldn't do a better comparison, since my LG is in the video editing room, where I don't have access to my DVR signal.
As always, YMMV, but I like the Bee. It doesn't perform equally well for all material, and it is after all real time conversion, so it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea. Had I just watched one or two TV shows with it, I might not be as positive as I am, but I get a real sense that I'll be using it fairly often when I get hungry to see what programs might have looked like if they'd been shot in 3D.
I"m keeping it.