NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 Kit Review
Like many of you out there, stereoscopic 3D and I have had a love / hate relationship since it became the latest cultural meme. Even though Hollywood, HDTV manufacturers and everyone in between is contently occupying themselves by jamming all things 3D down our collective throats, positive experiences have been few and far between. Most blockbuster movies have done nothing but drive viewers away with shoddy stereoscopic editing (there are few noteworthy exceptions though) while HDTVs are a long ways off from eliminating their own set of highly publicized issues with this technology. So all intents and purposes, the current state of stereoscopic 3D is languishing simply because good examples of it are few and far between.
NVIDIA has arguably been a pioneer in this area since their original 3DVision was actually one of the first stereoscopic kits available to the mass market. Due to the issues mentioned above they’ve been waging an uphill battle against the stigmas associated with 3D. However, through a tightly controlled set of certification guidelines, this solution has remained a high quality, viable option for PC gamers who are looking for a more immersive experience.
Even though it was originally released more than two years ago, 3D Vision has been evolving on a number of fronts. The supported game list was at first an impressive 125 titles but that number is expanding at a rapid pace and now holds about 550 games. NVIDIA’s progression has been constant on the support structure as well by introducing Youtube3D compatibility and the 3Dvisionlive.com site where a wide variety of user generated stereoscopic content can be viewed and uploaded. 3DTV Play may have passed under many people’s radar but it has proven to be a significant milestone since it allows a PC’s 3D content to be displayed on most HDTVs.
As 3D Vision has matured, the technology within the supporting monitors and active shutter glasses has stayed at a relative constant but the display industry itself has been moving forward by leaps and bounds. Now NVIDIA is ready for the next logical step and by working closely with their partners, 3D Vision 2 has finally become a reality.
This new version of 3D Vision shouldn’t be considered a revolutionary leap into some magical world of stereoscopic viewing. Rather, NVIDIA improved things on two basic yet very important fronts: the way certified monitors push 3D content and the design of their glasses. New panels will sport “LightBoost” which is a feature that implements for a more lifelike picture while the new glasses sport larger lenses and a rugged material selection. When both are combined, the experience should be more refined than it was in the past while offering tangible benefits over the older system in terms of usability, comfort and lasting appeal. We’ll get into the specifics later in this review.
For the time being both the original kit and 3D Vision 2 glasses will be sold in parallel with the new design eventually taking over. So if after reading this review you want to stick with the new glasses, the time to buy is now.
NVIDIA has certainly started their 3D Vision 2 campaign off on the right foot by ensuring this new improved kit doesn’t cost a penny more than the current one. While a pair of glasses will be included with every LightBoost-certified monitor, the wireless kit (with the active shutter glasses and emitter) will retail for $149 and the wireless glasses will cost $99 if bought separately without an emitter. In our opinion, this continues 3D Vision’s tradition of being one of the more affordable stereo 3D technologies on the market.
In terms of compatibility things are looking great for those of you who already have a 3D Vision kit. The original glasses are forwards compatible with and will be able to take full advantage of new monitors that sport 3D LightBoost. Meanwhile, 3D Vision 2 can be used on older 3D Vision Ready products like the Samsung 2233RZ and Acer GD235HZ.
When taken at face value, it really does look like NVIDIA has hit all the right buttons with 3D Vision 2 but as we all know, sometimes change isn’t a good thing.
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