There have been a ton of 3D movies released to theaters in recent times, and it's pretty easy to see why. Consumers are buying into it, plain and simple. According to a study released by The International 3D Society (I3DS), 3D flicks generated 33 percent of total domestic box office revenue since the release of Avatar on December 18.
Naturally Avatar claimed the lion's share of 3D revenue, but it's not the only movie cashing in providing viewers about 2 hours of three dimensional fun. Clash of the Titans, How to Train Your Dragon, and Alice in Wonderland have all contributed to the surprising revenue numbers, and when combined with Avatar, these four flicks alone have generated $1.2 billion in US ticket sales.
"This is truly remarkable performance in that out of 127 general market films released, just four 3D movies captured 33 percent of the total dollars so far this year," said I3DS President Jim Chabin.
What's more, 3D movies have been No. 1 at the box office 10 out of 14 weeks so far in 2010, or over 70 percent of the time.
With Tiger Woods making his comeback, it would be hard for another headline to steal the thunder from this year's Master Tournament, but Comcast is trying to do just that. The cable company has begun airing portions of the tournament in 3D.
"The 3D experience gives viewers a player's perspective of Augusta National, like they're looking through a window onto one of the most beautiful and scenic venues in the world," Comcast senior VP Derek Harrar said in a press statement. "We can't imagine a better setting than the Masters Tournament to give a glimpse of the future of 3D television."
The remaining 3D schedule breaks down like this:
April 8 and 9: (4-6PM ET) - Holes 14, 16, and 18 with rotating coverage of holes 10 through 13 and 17
April 10 and 11: (5-7PM ET) - Holes 14, 16, and 18 with rotating coverage of holes 10 through 13 and 17
Viewers must own a 3D-capable television and glasses, and will need to find out if their cable provider carries a separate 3D channel. Alternately, Comcast is also making available a live stream for 3D capable computers.
We can count on one hand the number of people we know who have bought into Nvidia’s 3D Vision gaming system—those shutter goggles haven’t exactly been selling like hotcakes.
The lackluster response to this 3D-gaming renaissance is no doubt due in part to the 3D Vision kit’s $200 admission price. On top of that, early adopters were also likely put off by the technological limitations of the requisite 120Hz monitors—another $400 wallet-draining investment—which maxed out at just 22 inches and a paltry 1650x1080 resolution.
Acer’s GD235HZ is a second-generation 120Hz panel that sheds those constraints, measuring 23.6 inches and running natively at 1920x1080 pixels.
In a pleasant surprise, the GD235HZ doesn’t cost any more than last year’s 22-inch $400 asking price. To keep the price in check, Acer omitted extras like USB ports and component inputs from this model. And aside from the 120Hz refresh rate, this is a pretty standard TN panel. Color fidelity fared respectably in our tests and contrast (rated at 1000:1) looked better in the darks than the lights. We didn’t notice any color banding defects at various settings, either. But like most LCDs, we could spot a bit of backlight bleed along the edges of the screen, though this was only noticeable with the lights off and a very dark image on the screen. We also thought that text looked a little off, with very light shadowing between characters. Tweaking Windows 7’s ClearType settings helped alleviate this issue.
3D TVs were all the rage at this year’s CES, and now you can buy your very own for about $3000. The content will be harder to come by though. A few providers like DirecTV have announced plans to start 3D broadcasts, but now Verizon is floating their own 3D plans. This is certainly big for the few people that have FiOS TV in their area and actually wants to get a 3D TV.
Verizon’s Shawn Strickland said the new 3D offerings should be available before the holiday season. Strickland seemed concerned about the level of current technology saying, ‘Our goal is to offer a product that has a fully automated HDMI format-switching capability that switches between 2D and 3D, not via ponderous access to the TV's setup menu.” Well, this would be nice, but can they do it? Having a smaller customer base could make them more nimble as this first generation of 3D technology inevitably grows and changes. Any FiOS customers out there? Is this good news, or are you just passing on 3D?
Samsung is pretty confident that this whole 3D craze is much more than just a temporary phase. So much so that the electronics maker is absolutely certain it will reach its goal of selling two million 3D LCD TVs around the world in 2010, and probably more, according to Samsung Taiwan president Smile Kim.
Kim says his company is planning to launch 46-inch and 55-inch 3D LED-backlit models in the Taiwan market next month for about $4,100 and $5,950, respectively. Both models will include two pairs of of 3D glasses and free 3D movies, though Kim didn't say how many.
Kim also talked up the overall specifications of Samsung's 3D LED TVs, including high contrast ratios, energy savings up to 50 percent, Internet access, and connectivity options to other electronics, such as handsets, notebooks, and more.
Those of you waiting for prices to come down will have to be patient. Kim added that Samsung typically drops prices of its products no more than twice, and that the company's LED-backlit TVs won't see much change in 2010.
Nvidia today announced its latest Verde notebook driver release, version 197.16 (WHQL). Verde, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a Nvidia's notebook driver program in which reference drivers can be installed on supported Nvidia notebook GPUs rather than waiting for your laptop manufacturer to port a custom version (in most cases).
The latest driver adds support for connecting 3D Vision-Ready displays to your notebook, while also boosting performance in a number of titles. Nvidia claims you'll see a performance boost up to 30 percent in Crysis: Warhead with SLI technology, or 13 percent with a single GPU. Left 4 Dead also receives a sizable performance boost, up to 28 percent with SLI and 30 percent with a single GPU.
Other changes include bumping up the PhysX System Software to version 9.10.0129 and the HD Audio driver to version 18.104.22.168 (for supported GPUs).
Best Buy found itself the target of heavy criticism and an Internet backlash when it came to light that the company's Geek Squad division was offering a $150 service to, among other things, "sync your 3D glasses for an amazing experience." Confused?
So was everyone else, and it looked as though Best Buy was trying to scam a fast buck by preying on unsuspecting customers who might be led to believe to that 3D glasses need syncing. Looking for an answer, the dudes over at HD Guru, where news of this service first broke, got in touch with Best Buy to hear their side of the story.
"I wanted to address any lingering confusion about the characterization of services support in the Best Buy Samsung 3DTV offer that was advertised in [the March 21] insert," Best Buy told HD Guru. "We by no means intended to confuse our customers or offer fraudulent services. The offer is new to our stores, and our own employees were trained on it just this past week."
Best Buy goes on to clarify what exactly is included in the $150 package, which includes making sure the 3D glasses work, since some of the TV sets the company sells need settings adjusted before the 3D glasses are enabled.
"We have some customers who aren’t quite sure how the 3D glasses work, or that the glasses automatically sync with their new 3D TVs," Best Buy explained. "So we wanted to convey that they can depend on Geek Squad to answer their questions during installation and set-up. There is no additional charge for this – and the Geek Squad 3D installation and networking services are included in the total price of this offer."
So what's the verdict? Are you satisfied with the response, or do see this as just another snake oil sales pitch? Hit the jump and sound off!
Nintendo's super sized DSi XL hasn't even been released yet, and already the company is talking up the next iteration of its popular handheld. It will be called the Nintendo 3DS and it will allow gamers to get their three-dimensional groove on without the need to don any dorky glasses.
"This will certainly stimulate demand for the DS, Rakuten Securities analyst Yasuo Imanaka said. "But, we need to keep in mind that this is a portable machine. If you expect the kind of full-blown 3D visuals shown on TVs or in movie theaters, you could be disappointed."
It's unknown exactly how the new system, which is slated for release in Japan by next March at the latest, will reproduce 3D effects without the aid of glasses, but one one approach would be to use some sort of head tracking mechanism. Arstechnica posted a video of a game that does exactly that, and the effect seems to work well.
You can’t swing a dead Na’vi without hitting a new 3D display product these days. Three-dimensional imaging was actually invented in the 1800s, and has been used sporadically in movies since the 1920s, but James Cameron’s sci-fi epic Avatar is bringing it into the mainstream.
Now that 3D is less of a gimmick, TV manufacturers are beginning to incorporate the technology into their products. Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony all announced new 3D TVs at CES this past January. And Avatar could be the best thing to happen to Nvidia and Zalman in their efforts to sell PC gamers on their respective videocards and 3D displays. Market research firm DisplaySearch projects that annual sales of 3D-ready monitors will grow from 40,000 units in 2009 to 10 million by 2018.
So, given that at least some early adopters will buy a 3D display in due time, it’s worth knowing how this visual trickery works. Knowledge is power in the world of upgrading.
Competing technologies may use different implementations, but all 3D video is based on stereoscopic imaging: An illusion of depth is created by presenting a slightly different image to each eye. Each image is of the same object or scene but from a faintly different perspective. Your brain then synthesizes the two images into a spatial representation. The most common 3D applications depend on the viewer wearing either active eyewear (e.g., liquid-crystal shutter glasses) or passive eyewear (e.g., linearly or circularly polarized 3D glasses).
What's that, non-Windows-7 users? You've never heard of the operating system's neat three-dimensional window organizer? Let's try it out together. Grab a copy of the operating system, do all that installation stuff, then hold down your Windows key and hit Tab when you're finally on your desktop. Presto - provided Aero's on, all of your open windows will shift out into a neat little three-dimensional display that you can quickly scroll through using your mouse wheel.
Of course, someone's made a Firefox addon to mimic this creative functionality. And while it might seem gimmicky at first glance, rest assured that you will be the coolest (and most organized) person on your block once you start showing off your brand-new way to keep tabs on your multiple browser... tabs.