As we've seen over the past few years, NVIDIA isn't content with simply doing what has been done well. Certainly their graphics cards are good at what they do and competition in the market is great today delivering amazing value to consumers. But they've forged ahead with initiatives like SLI for multi-GPU rendering and CUDA for general purpose programing on GPU. Now they're taking it a step further and getting into stereoscopic 3D.

To be fair, NVIDIA has supported stereoscopic 3D for a long time, but this is more of a push to get pervasive stereoscopic graphics into the consumer space. Not only will NVIDIA graphics cards support stereoscopic rendering, they will also be enhancing their driver to extract depth information and create left and right eye images for applications that do not natively produce or support stereo rendering. And did we mention they'll also be selling active wireless shutter glasses?

Packaged as GeForce 3D Vision, NVIDIA's shutter glasses and transmitter pair will run consumers a respectable $200. This is more expensive than some glasses and cheaper than others. We actually don't have any other glasses in house to compare them to, but the quality, freedom and battery life are quite good. If it becomes necessary, we will do a comparison with other products, but the real advantage isn't really in the hardware; it's in the driver. The package also comes with a soft bag and cloth for the glasses, alternate nose pieces, cables and converters, and a couple disks with drivers, stereoscopic photo viewer and video player.

Stereoscopic 3D shutter glasses have been around since the late 90s, but with the push away from CRTs to LCDs with a fixed 60Hz refresh rate meant that high quality stereoscopic viewing on the desktop had to be put on hold (along with hopes for smaller pixels sizes, but that's a whole other rant). With Hollywood getting really interested in 3D movies and some display manufacturers getting on board with 120Hz monitors, TVs and projectors, it makes sense that we would see someone try to push this back to the forefront.

Before we get into just how NVIDIA wants to make stereoscopic 3D on the desktop a reality, lets take a look at exactly what we're talking about.

More 3D than 3D: Stereoscopic Defined
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  • marc1000 - Thursday, January 08, 2009 - link

    I had one of these... and I had it with the 3d glasses!!! it was a 8bit console, with bad-looking games, the 3d glass was conected to the console via a cable, and the pace of changing the eyes was so slow you could se it if you pay enough attention. but it worked. and worked with any simple TV out there. however it was only FUN, no good images in reality... it's nice to see this technology come back to life! Reply
  • JonnyDough - Thursday, January 08, 2009 - link

    60hz should be the MINIMUM. Not the STANDARD. Even @ 60hz you tend to get a good bit of eye strain. I don't know how the monitor/tv industries get away with the mere 60hz. I for one STILL get headaches. Doesn't anyone else? Reply
  • ViRGE - Thursday, January 08, 2009 - link

    On an LCD? No. Which is why all this talk of strain is silly; the strain was a product of the flickering in a CRT, there's no reason anyone should be straining on a LCD. Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Thursday, January 08, 2009 - link

    120hz LCD panel is probably enough to say where your testing went wrong and your problems with ghosting and other issues began.

    You must use a display with a native almost instant response, and no LCD panel to date can provide that (regardless of how much overdrive is given to nasty poor-quality but fast-response TN panels). You should have went old-school and used a high-quality CRT at 120hz refresh-rate, like many pro-gamers still use, or if available an OLED display as they would also be able to cope properly with 120hz refresh. Hell, I've got an old 15" CRT sitting on my desk which is capable of 640x480 @ 120hz which would almost certainly have done a better job of testing your 3D goggles than whichever LCD panel you used.

    Ghosting would almost certainly have been a non-issue with a CRT running at 120hz, and having the left and right-eye images not having some of the other eye image also still visible (because of LCD response-time) would almost certainly have made it look a lot better.
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Friday, January 09, 2009 - link

    Not that kind of ghosting ... it didn't have to do with the panel -- everything looked fine on that end. I'm using the samsung 5ms 120Hz 1680x1050 monitor. the image looked smooth.

    after talking with nvidia, it seems the ghosting issues were likely from convergence being off (where the look at points for each eye camera are set) causing problems. convergence can be adjusted with hot keys as well, but i didn't play with this.

    eye strain didn't appear to be from flicker either -- it's more about the exercise of focusing on things that aren't there ... tweaking the depth (separation) and your distance from the monitor can make a big difference here. a CRT would not have made a difference. i do have a sony gdm f520, but its just not at the lab ...
    Reply
  • ssiu - Thursday, January 08, 2009 - link

    Yes you can use the NVIDIA glasses with analog CRT monitors with 100Hz-120Hz refresh rate. Reply
  • ssiu - Thursday, January 08, 2009 - link

    Anyone interested in this should also check out and compare it with the competitor solution from iZ3D http://www.iz3d.com/">http://www.iz3d.com/ The 2 solutions each have their pros and cons, but iZ3D is significantly cheaper (MSRP $400 versus $600 ($200 glasses + $400 120Hz monitor)). iZ3D works with both ATI and NVIDIA video cards, and ATI users get an extra $50 rebate. Reply
  • simtex - Thursday, January 08, 2009 - link

    This looks very promising, if nvidia really want to push this rather old technology forward again I'm sure they can do so.

    OpenGL have had built in support for the buffers you need to create stereoscopic images for years, in fact since version 1.1 if im not mistaken, so that is really no excuse for developers not using it.

    And the suggestion that nvidia should just make a 3d monitor, what technology do are you refering to here, because as far as I know there is no technology capable of creating 3d images on a tradiional flat 2d monitor.
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Thursday, January 08, 2009 - link

    I can only find one, and it's bundled with these glasses :)

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtool...">http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications...904&...
    Reply
  • ssiu - Thursday, January 08, 2009 - link

    The other announced 120Hz monitor is Viewsonic VX2265wm.

    http://www.viewsonic.com/company/news/vs_press_rel...">http://www.viewsonic.com/company/news/vs_press_rel...

    http://www.viewsonic.com/products/desktop-monitors...">http://www.viewsonic.com/products/deskt.../lcd/x-s...

    Reply

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