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Instant 3D Converts 2D to 3D and Gives Any Display 3D Capabilities

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

At CE Week in New York, I finally got to meet Gene Dolgoff, one of the most popular guests on my podcast. He was there to demonstrate his company's latest project, a real-time 2D-to-3D converter called Instant 3D that works with any TV, not just those with 3D capabilities. That's right—it creates true stereoscopic 3D on any 2D display.

 

How can it do that? The converter accepts a 2D signal from any source, converts it to right- and left-eye images, and displays those images alternately on the screen. To see the 3D effect, you need a pair of special RF (radio-frequency) shutter glasses that synchronize using a signal from the converter, not the display, and because they are RF rather than IR, the box can be hidden away if desired.

 

The effect can also be seen using Dolgoff's FullColor 3D bi-color passive glasses, which use specialized green and magenta filters, similar in theory to the red and cyan filters used in anaglyph glasses. But Dolgoff claims that his choice of filters results in a full-color image. From what I've seen, it works fairly well with the onscreen image, but anything in my peripheral vision was whacked out and distracting.

 

The technology behind Instant 3D is actually pretty interesting. According to Dolgoff, "Today's 3D TVs and other portable converters create an illusion of 3D when playing 2D videos by randomly horizontally offsetting different areas of the screen differently for each eye. This provides some feeling of depth, but has no direct correlation to the actual depth information in a scene. 

 

"Our patented Instant 3D converter, on the other hand, is the only system available that instantly provides true depth information from 2D video that was actually there when the videos were shot (or, for animations, when the animations were constructed within a computer).

 

"This is accomplished by comparing two frames at a time in a buffer. Actual differences in depth within a 2D scene can be detected because objects at different depths occlude each other differently when they move, have different vertical positions and sizes, and have different levels of brightness, contrast, color saturation, resolution, and sharpness, depending on where they are in depth. Using this information, coupled with the way our brains create the experience of 3D from two different images at a time, our converter produces stereo pairs in real time that provide real depth experiences."

 

 

The prototype being demonstrated at CE Week is big and bulky, but what do you expect of a prototype? The final design is much more streamlined, as seen in the rendering below.

 

 

This rendering is not entirely accurate—notice that the front-panel LCD display is joined by all the inputs and outputs. That's not how the final product will look; Dolgoff made the rendering this way to show the connections along with the LCD. On the actual box, the LCD will be on the front panel with some control buttons, and the I/O will be on the back panel. Along with four HDMI inputs and component and composite analog inputs, the converter will include a DVI and VGA input for computers, no matter how old they are. Outputs will include HDMI, component, and composite.

 

So how did it look? The 3D effect was very good, but it was fraught with lots of crosstalk/ghosting. Dolgoff explained that the duty cycle of the shutter glasses can be altered so that both lenses are briefly closed at the same time to eliminate ghosting, but that would also make the picture much dimmer, which he didn't want to do on a brightly lit show floor. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to see the system at work in a more normal environment with the adjustment to eliminate ghosting.

 

Now that the prototype is just about finished, Dolgoff is looking for capital to fund production. Like many entrepreneurs these days, he has started a Kickstarter campaign in the hopes that lots of people will contribute to the effort. The campaign's web page has more info; check it out!

post #2 of 21
Is this really any better than what LG and other TV makers have built in with their 2D-3D converters in the displays?

I don't think "randomly offsetting parts of the image" is at all how it works in our current sets and from what I have seen (and read) the technology is kind of the same where the scene is checked for content and the display tries to match it to one of several preset common types of scenes, then on top of that relies on cues such as brightness and parallax to getnerate 3D information.

I have noticed that in simple scenes with a lot of depth and steady movement (think overhead pans of cities or panoramic landscapes) the 3D is actually quite good, however it is easily thrown off by things like bright lights in backgrounds (that appear very close due to their brightness) and large simple areas with little movement (closeups of faces).

It sounds to me a lot like this box does basically that but tries to show you the result on a 60hz basis with active shutter glasses...
post #3 of 21
interesting, but I think this is several years too late. anybody interested in 3D is likely to simply buy a 3D display and watch 3D blurays. at the end of the day, it's still 2D-3D conversion, so unless his plan is get manufacturers to buy out his processing, I don't see a market for a stand-alone 3D convertor.

and I base this on the fact I hate 3D, can't see 3D, have no interest in 3D, yet I own a 3D plasma, a 3D projector, 6 pairs of active 3D glasses, two 3D bluray players(well one's a ps3), 3D receiver. you simply can't find good mainstream products these days that don't already support 3D. this would have been more interesting 10yrs ago when an 'upgrade' to 3D capabilities meant you needed top of the line stuff
post #4 of 21
This seems like an interesting engineering exercise but given the preponderance of 3D equipment and the lack of interest in 2D-3D conversion this is effectively a product without a market.
post #5 of 21
how do we get a box that destroys all 3d in the world? like forever?
post #6 of 21
Oh yee of little faith. I would buy this in a heartbeat if the price is right and it looks good. Forego all of the dedicated 3D devices. Keep most if not all of my existing equipment. And maybe just buy a bare bones 4K HDTV or projector in the future, with 1080p upscaling to 2160p to match with it. There is a market for it if the price is in the $200-$300 range.
post #7 of 21
The special green/magenta glasses are probably the better option here. Apparently that combination gives pretty good color. If the active glasses work with any TV, they probably run at 60hz (30hz per eye) which is half that of typical active shutter glasses. So you'll have a lot of flicker, and possibly a lot of ghosting depending on your 2D TV's pixel response.

Besides that, as a 3D enthusiast, I'm pessimistic about any kind of real time version. It's true that any image, especially in motion, has 3D properties. However, these are there when viewed in 2D. You don't need to turn it into stereoscopic 3D to see the 3D properties in a 2D image. The problem is that stereoscopic 3D information just isn't there. Part of the richness of stereoscopic images is that each eye sees unique angles, unique details. There are occlusion zones. That is, your right eye sees things your left can't because something's blocking it. That extra information isn't there in the 2D image, and you can't invent it in real time. Artists working on converting a film to 3D have the luxury of time and creativity to paint in these areas.

Looking a few frames ahead and using motion would work best if you have video that is in constant motion at a high frame rate. What about the more typical 24fps, motion blur, fast cuts, or scenes with little or no motion? There's less and less 3D information to work with. Perhaps the best example of real time conversion is with "reprojection" in video games. This technique uses a single 2D image and builds a second using the depth information contained in the game's engine. The great advantage here is that the game doesn't have to look at any clues to determine where things should be in 3D space. The information is actually there, in the game's z-buffer. Hard accurate data. But you still have the problem that I described in the previous paragraph. As a result, it never looks right. 3D gamers are generally split on the reprojection real time conversion method. Some find it to be an acceptable 3D solution. Others (the majority I believe) would rather play it in 2D or not at all if if true stereoscopic rendering is not an option.

So that's how much people like real time conversion even when the depth information is fully available and accurate. How good could this be without even that luxury?

That said, of course I haven't actually seen this particular device in action, and that's an important caveat. I'd love to find this works better than I would think. But I'm pessimistic.
post #8 of 21
This box sounds like the Teranex converter. Wonder what this box's price will be if it ever comes out.

The Teranex goes for close to $4k.

I could see these being a worthwhile investment if glasses free 3D ever comes.
post #9 of 21
Please note that this products functionality is split in two parts:
- 2D -> 3D conversion;
- 3D displaying.

So if you have a 3D capable display/projector, you can use its method of displaying 3D content.
You are not obligated to use colored glasses or RF shutter glasses that come with this unit.

So it is still possible to get 120Hz refresh rate, 60Hz for each eye.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bytec View Post

Please note that this products functionality is split in two parts:
- 2D -> 3D conversion;
- 3D displaying.

So if you have a 3D capable display/projector, you can use its method of displaying 3D content.
You are not obligated to use colored glasses or RF shutter glasses that come with this unit.

So it is still possible to get 120Hz refresh rate, 60Hz for each eye.

you aren't going to get 120hz (60hz per eye) over HDMI 1.4a you are gonna need HDMI 1.4b so a lot of existing displays or AVR's are not going to pass or work with 120hz.. If it has a DVI dual link or DisplayPort I'd feel a lot better about gaming in 3D through this over 60hz, otherwise I've only heard of some people sending 120hz 1080p over HDMI on the Seiki 4K and we probably wont see good support for 120hz 1080p inputs on TV's and projectors until HDMI 2.0 and 4K 60Hz panels become common since nothing broadcast of on blu-ray is going to do even 1080p 60hz and the display manufacturers don't seem willing to add updated HDMI 1.4b 120hz capable chipsets if nothing supports it except maybe a gaming PC.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by undermined View Post

you aren't going to get 120hz (60hz per eye) over HDMI 1.4a you are gonna need HDMI 1.4b so a lot of existing displays or AVR's are not going to pass or work with 120hz.. If it has a DVI dual link or DisplayPort I'd feel a lot better about gaming in 3D through this over 60hz, otherwise I've only heard of some people sending 120hz 1080p over HDMI on the Seiki 4K and we probably wont see good support for 120hz 1080p inputs on TV's and projectors until HDMI 2.0 and 4K 60Hz panels become common since nothing broadcast of on blu-ray is going to do even 1080p 60hz and the display manufacturers don't seem willing to add updated HDMI 1.4b 120hz capable chipsets if nothing supports it except maybe a gaming PC.

I'm talking about refresh rate not frame rate. There's a difference!
post #12 of 21
If it offered really good 2D to 3D conversion then I'd probably be interested -- I'd pay $4,000 for something that simulated the better 2D to 3D converted movies like Captain America or the Avengers. Something like this would allow me to watch nearly everything in 3D and that's the way I prefer to watch content.
post #13 of 21
I am wondering if it will allow my system to play a blu-ray on my non-3D TV. If so this would be a good option to allow me to watch 3D movies in other rooms beyond that of my current and only 3D capable system in my house. If I could turn My Panny plasma into a 3D playing TV I might just consider this option, if the price is right. 2D to 3D converter is a fail in my opinion, I have no need or desire.

John M.
post #14 of 21
The article says it works on any 2D TV. While I think it could work on a 60Hz TV, I don't think the active glasses will work on a 120Hz or 240Hz TV because those TVs interpolate the extra frames from the 60Hz input video frames. If you use this converter, then the 120/240Hz TV would create one or three extra frames by interpolating between the right eye frame and the left eye frame. This would have to ruin the 3D effect. I think it would work with the colored glasses, but who would really watch a 2 hour movie with a different colored glass on each eye?
post #15 of 21
Some quick thoughts:

1. There is no way to send 120hz or 240hz video to a TV, so for sure it is limited to 60hz maximum and 30hz per frame. That sucks.
2. 2D to 3D conversion sucks, there is simply no way to do it really well. Sure the video has depth properties but it has little to do with actual depth of objects in the video. Many 3D TVs (including my Sony projector) have this 'feature' but it is useless.
3. This can be useful for people with 2D TVs (I have a 2D plasma and 3D projector connected to the same sources) but I highly doubt it will be in the '$200-300' range that people are mentioning above. 3D TVs are so cheap that anything more (which I guarantee this will be) will not sell.
4. The rendering looks retarded, like something designed by a 5-year old.

I'm willing to bet money that this product will be a huge fail.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauwai View Post

The article says it works on any 2D TV. While I think it could work on a 60Hz TV, I don't think the active glasses will work on a 120Hz or 240Hz TV because those TVs interpolate the extra frames from the 60Hz input video frames. If you use this converter, then the 120/240Hz TV would create one or three extra frames by interpolating between the right eye frame and the left eye frame.

This is incorrect. Frame interpolation is a common feature of newer TVs but there is no requirement for 120hz 3D TVs to use it. You're confusing frames per second with hz. Most 2D TVs run at 60hz, but that doesn't mean that 24fps movies are displayed at 60 fps. They repeat the same frames to total 60hz.

Regardless, many people find frame interpolation to be beneficial in 3D.

EDIT: Actually I think I misunderstood somewhat. You probably meant 120hz 2D TVs, that are effectively only 120hz when doing frame interpolation. But I'll bet if you turned off frame interpolation, they would work as well as a 60hz TV for this device.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryan_chow View Post

1. There is no way to send 120hz or 240hz video to a TV, so for sure it is limited to 60hz maximum and 30hz per frame. That sucks.

HDMI 1.4 can handle frame packed 720p at 60 frames per second. On an active 3D TV, that gets displayed as 120 hz.
Edited by Airion - 7/16/13 at 5:37am
post #17 of 21
Here is one GIF, that demonstrates how looking at neighbor frames can actually give you 3D info:
This device does something similar.

post #18 of 21
Gene also ran a fundable campaign last year. The units were supposed to be out in the spring, but last we heard Sandy had damaged his headquarters and they were delayed. We haven't heard anything in months!

http://www.fundable.com/3-dvision
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bytec View Post

Here is one GIF, that demonstrates how looking at neighbor frames can actually give you 3D info:
This device does something similar.


You get 3D info above because your BRAIN interprets the image as 3D. The same way if you draw the outlines of a cube on a piece of paper your brain interprets it as a 3D cube.

Do you see any actual depth in your animated GIF? No.
post #20 of 21
Thanks for the fundable page link. Some good info there.

I was wrong regarding the pricing. Early funders get to 'buy' the product for $199 so it certainly is cheap. It's rather vague though - how many pairs of 3D glasses do you get? And passive or active? It doesn't say.

However, what would actually be useful for some of us is if it accepts a 3D HDMI input and allows you to watch it on your old 2D TV, but that is not supported. It only accepts 2D input.
post #21 of 21
I think it was $149 and one pair of glasses last year with the retail price being $300. All we have gotten so far is the promise of a mug or t-shirt. Hopefully it will ship before the 3-d boat has sailed.

The way I found out about the fundable deal was from Scott's Home theater geeks podcast nearly a year ago. Maybe he can remind Gene that his original supporters would like an update!
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