3D-enabled televisions are just breaking into the mainstream market, but computers have long had been able to screen 3D video because of sophisticated graphics cards. This article focuses on the ways to watch 3D movies on a home computer.
Guest post by Karishma Sundaram
Why watch movies on a computer? Many people opt to watch movies on their computer for a wide variety of reasons. Since computers usually come with a built-in DVD, it's a quick and affordable way to watch DVDs at home. And with the option to download or stream movies legally from the Internet via services like Netflix, computers can do double duty as a convenient media and entertainment center.
There are two ways to watch 3D movies on a home computer: one is similar to the television viewing experience, with appropriate glasses and a 3D encoded video; and the second is to use a graphics card to render standard two dimensional images as 3D video.
Computers and 3D Technology
Playing 3D encoded videos on the computer is not very different from the television alternative. Since most computers nowadays have adequate graphics cards and freely available video drivers, the video will play on existing hardware and you don't need to invest in anything else.
You don;t even need a special 3D-enabled monitor for the computer – a standard monitor works fine. For best results, it's ideal if you have a flat-screen monitor like and LCD. Since the video rendering is usually digital, these screens are better suited to optimal viewing.
3D Movies with Anaglyph Glasses
When using the computer to screen 3D movies, although there is no need to splurge on much, the right glasses are indispensible. The glasses will have to be of the anaglyph (red-cyan or magenta-green) variety, as the other kinds of glasses are designed for different 3D formats.
With a 3D-enabled monitor, it is possible to do away with the old fashioned anaglyph glasses in lieu of the LCD shutter glasses. However, these glasses work in conjunction with the video in question, and are designed to receive signals from the hardware. In addition to the 3D monitor, the 3D video should also be made using alternate frame sequencing 3D technology. Most 3D movies released for home movies are in this format.
A Better Graphics Card
Another way to watch 3D movies on a home computer is to use a good graphics card and a set of 3D glasses. While most graphics cards have some degree of basic 3D support, that is not usually sufficient to get a good quality viewing experience.
nVidia GeForce has released a home computer kit containing a graphics card and a pair of glasses. The graphics card is configured to screen stereoscopic 3D images and video, and comes bundled with the wireless LCD shutter glasses. In fact, the card can handle not only 3D movies, but can also convert 2D images, video and games into the 3D viewing format.
For the setup to work, the user has to install a 3D-enabled monitor, much like the 3D-enabled television. The main reasons are that the video has to be screened in a particular manner, and that the glasses need instructions as to when to shutter.The nVidia graphics card option works out to be more expensive, however it does have the advantage of being able to convert various 2D media into a 3D format.
Utimately, it's no replacement for the big screen experience and not as much fun as a full-blown home theatre, but if you're determined and want to try it, you can use a home computer to play 3D movies.Sponsored by Panasonic VIERA. Return to the world of AVATAR in stunning full HD with the Panasonic VIERA HD TV.
Have you watch AVATAR on a computer vs. a big-screen TV? How was it different?