Hi-Def Tri-Def: Is 3D All It’s Cracked Up To Be?

by Reads (9,975)

The glasses will require periodic charging or battery replacement.This 3D effect also requires more expensive monitors – since framerate is cut in half, these require 120Hz displays – that means that the monitor or all-in-one refreshes its image 120 times every second.

The other option is go to with a cheaper polarized monitor, or all-in-one. These work by shipping with a pair of polarized glasses that similarly change what image each eye sees by minute amounts. The 3D effect is often a bit less forceful than when using active shutter glasses, but the technology itself is much cheaper.  Monitors can be had for under $300, and the polarized all-in-ones ring in a fair sight cheaper than their 120Hz counterparts, too.

The other plus to the polarized model is that the glasses are inexpensive – often $10 or less – and never need charging. You can even game on these displays, as I recently discovered when using HP’s new 2311gt. I found that while the experience was acceptable, I had to concentrate a bit more on the 3D effect.  Additionally, this 3D doesn’t feel quite as smooth as the alternative, since it is usually used in conjunction with more affordable, 60Hz displays. Both versions of the tech also cut down on the brightness of the image – the active shutter system often does it by up to 50%, while the polarized models fare a good bit better.

It’s not all bad news!
Having said all of that, 3D is actually a really fun way to add excitement to your computing.  Watching a 3D version of your favorite new film might not be quite as thrilling on a 23-inch display that sits in your home office as on the multi-foot display in the front of the theater. It still adds a certain something to the experience that leaves the regular 2D movies feeling flat by comparison.

It gets better (worse?) when you move to 3D.  While a lot of games have had the 3D effects kind of kludged on top, a good many are now taking that sort of thing in mind when to comes to laying the initial groundwork. The games can really shine for it, too.

There’s more good news, especially if you’re a fan of the active shutter glasses model of 3D technology. Since these setups require 120Hz panels, you are almost guaranteed to get a better monitor than the average $150 LCD. The panels refresh much faster, which makes everything they display look smoother – even dragging a window across the screen.

Is the 3D craze enough to get you to buy into the frenzy and pick up a new PC or display this holiday season? Whether you’re planning on getting a new 3D machine, or staying as far away as you can, one thing is very clear – 3D in our computers is here to stay.

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