While the latest 3D TV revolution has had a slow start, the use of 3D technology for video games has proven more popular with over 600 3D-supported games currently available on the PC. However, one of the big downsides 3D gaming solutions, such as NVIDIA's 3D Vision, share with 3D TV is the noticeably dimmer image that results from wearing active shutter glasses. NVIDIA has now updated its 3D gaming technology with the unveiling of 3D Vision 2, that uses a new technology called NVIDIA 3D LightBoost that is claimed to increase the brightness of 3D images by up to two times.
To compensate for the reduction in the amount of light reaching the user's eyes when using active shutter glasses, the new LightBoost technology works by letting 3D Vision 2 monitors go beyond their standard level of brightness when used in 3D mode. LightBoost also allows the lenses on the 3D glasses to stay open longer, which has the added benefit of brighter ambient lighting so it's easier to see the keyboard.
This is accomplished by having the new LightBoost monitors switch off their backlight during frame transitions, instead of closing the lenses on both eyes during right-to-left and left-to-right transitions, as the case with the original 3D Vision glasses. NVIDIA says the new 3D Vision 2 technology, which delivers 1080p resolution to each eye, also offers reduced 3D ghosting.
The lenses of the new 3D Vision 2 glasses are also 20 percent larger than NVIDIA's first generation glasses to provide a wider viewing area, while a light blocker on the top of the glasses has been added to the ones located on either side to cut out unwanted external light from overhead lighting.
Despite the larger lenses and extra light blocking, the redesigned glasses have been slimmed down thanks in part to a new earpiece design and use of lightweight composite materials, resulting in glasses that NVIDIA claims are more comfortable to wear for extended gaming sessions. The glasses have also been designed for a better fit when wearing gaming headphones and can be worn over corrective eye-wear using the included adjustable nose-pieces.
In addition to upsizing the lenses on the 3D glasses, the 3D monitors have also been upsized with the first LightBoost-enabled display being the 27-inch ASUS VG278H LED monitor. It features 120 Hz refresh rates and 2 ms response times and is priced at US$699 with a pair of 3D Vision 2 glasses included. 3D-LightBoost compatible notebooks are also available, including Toshiba's Satellite P770/P775, Dynabook Satellite T572, Dynabook T572, and the Qosmio X770/X775.
NVIDIA says additional 3D LightBoost-enabled monitors from the likes of Acer and BenQ, along with additional LightBoost-enabled notebooks, are expected in the coming months. Although it won't provide the brightness benefits of the new monitors, NVIDIA's 3D Vision 2 glasses are also backwards compatible with older 3D Vision panels.
NVIDIA will begin selling its 3D Vision 2 glasses kit from this month,including one pair of glasses and a wireless USB IR emitter. At US$149, the kit will be priced the same price as the original 3D Vision kit, while extra glasses will cost $99.