Active Shutter >>> Polarized Lense
I just saw a 3D Panasonic Plasma with the active shutter glasses at a Best Buy today: Wow! I’m used to the disposable polarized lense glasses you get at movie theaters. Those are nice, but this is much better.
With polarized lense 3D (or even worse, the old anaglyph red/blue 3D), you can really feel the rare scenes that have some dramatic depth effect, but for regular scenes, the effect is subtle. With this active shutter tech, the effect wasn’t subtle at all. The demo reel playing on the TV showed a woman in a forest; a fairly normal scene with no unusual depth effect and nothing popping out of the screen. It felt like looking into a 3D box. I could just see full depth detail throughout the whole scene and it really made it pop to life.
I haven’t had a chance to play games in active shutter 3D yet, but the mere thought of playing something like Wipeout or better yet, something like Uncharted or Red Dead Redemption with this active shutter 3D effect is extremely attractive. Seeing such immersive environments with full 3D depth effects sounds amazing, and I may invest in some PC hardware until the consoles catch up.
The big downside for games, of course, is that that stereo 3D requires significant processing resources: approximately double the pixel rendering power of 2D. Pretty much every graphic effect or feature requires processing resources, so there are always trade offs involved. Dynamic shadows, HD resolution, high frame rates, destructible environments, online networking, split-screen play, anti-aliasing, etc: they all require processing resources and it’s up the the developers and ultimately the players which trade offs are worth it and which features are worth including.
Eventually, if there is another generation of console hardware, I’d imagine that pixel pushing power will increase dramatically and this trade off will be much less of an issue, but for now, the trade off is significant. but still, I can’t wait to play this stuff in person.