3D technology is the future - for movies, games and even stills. But just how good is the first generation? The What Digital Camera NVIDIA 3D Vision review...
The NVIDIA 3D Vision system allows monitor displays of 100Hz or greater to display 3D images, movies and games, via the magic of some clever 3D glasses. We’re not taking about the old school ‘red and green’ type here, as this is sophisticated kit (if not overzealously-styled). For those lucky enough to own a Fuji W1 3D camera, a quick conversion of the native MPO file types will allow viewing in convincing 3D on your PC; much more engagingly so than from the camera’s screen or optional 3D frame. Those also into movies will see the likes of Up, G-Force and various future releases such as Avatar and Alice In Wonderland in their best possible light. A number of games developers are already in on the act too.
However, you’ll need the correct set up and, of course, this comes at a cost, being up-front technology. For the time being this is a PC-only venture, and you’ll need a supported GeForce graphics card wired up – though a lot of PCs these days are shipped with them already fitted.
The initial NVIDIA 3D Vision kit itself can be picked up for around £120 with one pair of glasses; other pairs aren’t immediately easy to locate, but are likely to cost about £100 each. The cost of a compatible LCD monitor will vary depending on what you go for – the ViewSonic on test here is around £225 for the 22in widescreen model, though other Full HD 1080p screens are expected soon from various manufacturers. Or, if you’re happy to stay that little bit retro and have a CRT monitor that’s 100Hz or greater, you needn’t shell out on a newer model.
Setting up the software is, to be blunt, a royal pain. We had issues with driver incompatibility, the provided CD wanted to load the 32bit version to a 64bit Operating System (took a while to realise why this wasn’t working, as no prompts were provided) and various pop-up warnings and issues were tiresome to resolve; even the test section crashed out on multiple occasions. Furthermore, driver issues with some compatible digital projectors caused crashes. Once it’s all up and running, however, it’s quite a sight to behold. It’s tricky to explain unless you actually don the glasses (not ideal if you happen to already wear glasses, as these are rather tight-fitting) and see for yourself. But it genuinely works and raises the game as far as 3D is concerned.
However, this is all in its infancy. Not just the NVIDIA system, but the display technology and, further afield, other manufacturers’ systems. This year’s Consumer Electronics Show proclaimed loud and clear that 2010 is the advent of true 3D and with input from big-guns, including Sony with the hefty weight of Playstation 3, among others, the future is questionable. Not in terms of quality – there’s no doubt it’ll get better – but more to which way the market will lean, and whether that’ll be in NVIDIA’s favour.
As much as this is on the tipping-point of revolutionising display, it currently falls marginally short of the mark for bugs in the system, set-up issues, cost and – what may become the most important measure – just what other manufacturers are due to come up with and whether compatibility will remain. Should you want to treat yourself right now though, you could do no better than buying an NVIDIA 3D Vision set up.