Nintendo 3d-bee-2

Published on August 8th, 2011 | by Remy Cuesta

18

3D-Bee 2D to 3D converter Review

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Ever since the release of Avatar it seems like every big budget title needs to be released in 3D. 3D in the home has also been climbing since the demand for 3D enabled televisions are on the rise and the decrease in price over the last two years. Whether you like it or not 3D is becoming somewhat of a standard in production and will soon see it being offered on some of your favorite television programming. For now however not much is offered and the question is what if you wanted to watch your existing 2D programming in 3D? 3D-Bee Home unit looks to be owners solution for enabling any of their 2D programming directly to 3D especially for gaming. So does it work? We’ve tested many of its features especially for gaming on a Panasonic GT-30 and here are our thoughts.

Hardware:

3D-Bee Unit: Has four 3D enabled HDMI ins and one out.

Remote: Has two 3D depth settings.


3D-Bee is a 2D to 3D real-time video conversion unit . Essentially it’ll make anything your watching in 2D into 3D. You maybe asking the question “well my tv already has a 2D-3D feature” but it is not like this. The unit knows how to correctly bring objects seen closer or solely in nature to the foreground while the rest appears in the background but that is just a quick example. Most if not all built in TV’s 2D-3D conversion mode has some deformity in the picture since the process of making it is not manual, it is automatic. The 3D-Bee while not processing anything either is using a estimation technology for the unit itself to produce a high quality 3D image.

Our testing began with some television programming. We watched True Blood, talk shows and sports. The unit has a great way of keeping things in line and giving you clarity in 3D from a picture that was originally 2D. Even golf which gets tricky with the TV’s built in converter since the grass pans across the entire screen, it seems to do well on the 3D-Bee.

Movies tested well for the unit. We tested Iron Man, Transformers and Kick Ass all on Blu-ray. These seem to do better in object separation and had moments of really coming together as a 3D image when converted. An example is when Iron Man was trying to outrun the jet fighters half way in the movie you can clearly see him as the foreground object while the jets were in the background.

Now our most important test was for gaming and the unit did fairly well as some did better then others. Since there are barely any games in 3D period this would seem like the perfect product to take advantage of. The games we tested were Split/Second, Halo Reach, L.A. Noire and Mortal Kombat. Split/Second and Halo Reach seemed to add depth in areas where you wouldn’t think of but in a good way, while Mortal Kombat added little depth with no real advantage of playing it converter.

The biggest advantage you can get from gaming with the unit is since it’s automatically converting to 3D none of the quality is being sacrificed as all the games that are 3D enabled do. That is because those games need to produce a left and right image for the 3D which is essentially processing the game twice and the 3D-Bee doesn’t actually process anything. Play with your Television’s 3D settings along with the 3D-Bee’s two setting to achieve a depth that suits you.

The unit isn’t without its faults and in most cases things that we would have liked to see in it. First thing to mention is that this is not going to replace content that is native to 3D as it does not compare well to the depth of watching something that is already in 3D. The unit seems to merely give you some depth and while there are two settings to add we wished there were even experimental modes of sorts to play around with. What you would want to pop forward or back for different content.

Since there is different forms of content you would be possibly using it for, it would have been great to see modes complement such. A TV, Movie and Game mode would have been great since they would act different. Gaming for example most the time has a fixed object in the center of the screen like racing and FSP’s. A mode where it would know or ask what it was to really pull forward could rival some things that were actually produced in 3D.

We’ve also found that the set-up for the unit should be done in a particular matter. When plugged in to our 3D enabled receiver it would not transfer all the audio sound from the content? So the best solution was to plug it in after the receiver then into the TV. The sound would also cut out on some of the TV content after you enabled the 3D on the unit but this wasn’t all the time. Since this is a new product some of this can actually be avoided in future models or updates.

3D-Bee is for alot of different people that want to enjoy 3D content they either can’t or that are looking for the best way that isn’t natively supported. I have already played some games and watched some movies in full with the unit on and am pleased with the results I get. The unit is currently priced at $399 which may be steep for those wanting 3D that is better then Tv’s built in 2D-3D converter but not near native 3D content. If your into 3D and have alot of content you would like to see that has no 3D options then this unit might be up your ally. I personally am impressed with it as 2D comes to life with the 3D-Bee like never before. I see myself using the unit for quite sometime and hope more options and features become available soon. For more information go to their official website here.

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About the Author

Remy Cuesta

[Editor-in-Chief] What can I say, I just love games this much!



18 Responses to 3D-Bee 2D to 3D converter Review

  1. royjones says:

    I don’t see this item available on their website?

  2. derlock says:

    I didn’t know they made converters other then the ones on the high end tvs?

  3. fkarlson says:

    with regards to movies and video it would be useful in a followup to compare and describe the 3DBee on movies to several of the better software emulators say the 3Dfier plug-in including black and white video examples. (simple anaglyph 3D and simulated 3D with a 2D monitor can shine with black and white). In your tests, what changes were seen as the depth mode was switched between the 2 positions? What does the 3D Bee do with a paused/still image? – most converters seem to need some horizontal movement to create the illusion and can collapse to “flat” with a still or a scene with little movement or panning. What did Vefxi say about your audio dropout problem? Thanks for the nice review.

  4. Remdog Remdog says:

    Great observation fkarlson, we will actually be doing further in depth testing and comparisons to the others. 3Dfier, TV’s built in 2D-3D, 3D-Bee, possibly mono-prices 2D-3D converter and where they stack up. Depending on the television or monitor you own adjusting the 3D settings manually makes a big difference on how this all plays out. Some converters or programming will need to have the lenses swapped in settings while others may need to stay normal if the TV supports this.

  5. We are very grateful to have bloggers such as Remdog write reviews. It all helps people understand how we are new and standout. We’d like to add a few comments as well to Remdog’s good review. First, just a note that Remdog’s unit was a preproduction unit and the setup and audio issues were all resolved on our first production version coming out early September. We’ll be taking orders late this month when the shopping cart is enabled on in our website store. First units will be shipped during the second week of September according to our current schedule. If you want to be one of the first to get one, keep watching for our shopping cart to come up and order early, or sign up for our email update on the website so you’ll be notified when the shopping cart is ready. We are consistently seeing that people are amazed by how clean and natural our 3D looks, stable consistent depth maps, and more easy on the eye than any other 2D to 3D conversion technology. We’ve had broadcasting companies tell us that our $399 3D-Bee has higher 3D quality than the leading $35,000 commercial converter, and higher quality than their true 3D live broadcasts. We have one movie studio that has already licensed our 3D-Bee for converting commercial movie videos to 3D because of the theater quality of the output.

    However, as Remdog spoke of, 2D video is not designed for 3D, so objects are not designed to pop out of the screen and poke you in the face as may be designed into a few scenes in 3D designed video or games. But, we are the first to yield full “natural 3D” depth. The depth will look true and natural, not exaggerated or under rendered. On the 3D-Bee::home theater version, $399, that Remdog tested we do have two depth modes: z- where all the depth is behind the screen, and also z+ where some close objects may come out of the screen. On our 3D-Bee::trainer, $499, we have a total of 6 depth modes, three of them pushing more in front of the screen. In addition to 1080p 60Hz side-by-side 3D, this model supports 720p 120Hz frame-sequential 3D-ready projectors that are ~3000 lumen bright and low-cost $600-$1200. These projectors are commonly used by gamers, schools, and corporate training rooms.

    Our depth is much more convergent than other products or converters inside TVs. Most other technologies today give some depth in the foreground which is often a little squished depth wise because they are trying to render depth spread across a too few layers of depth map “layer cake”, usually only 256 layers or less, and then the backgrounds are relatively flat due to shortage of depth layers. You’ll see in our 3D that foregrounds render in truer 3D shape and through the distance, even mountains, rocks, clouds, etc. in the background render in 3D. In the game blogs, gamers are seem hungry for 3D, but all the other 2D to 3D that they have seen is not convergent, the number one complaint. Halo through our product is just immersive with all those long deep shooting views rendered in deep convergent 3D.

    A second difference is that we render depth even through fog, smoke, fire, rain, translucent force fields, tinted windows, rain on windows, etc. One top Hollywood video quality critique expert sent seven 3D conversion video buster tests. We passed all seven, he was amazed.

    A third difference is that our technology is adaptive so that on the first frame of a scene change, all the parameters are reoptimized for that scene. This makes our 3D more consistent across virtually every type of video that we and our customer have thrown at us. Whereas other technologies may work well on some types of video scenes and not others.

    As Remdog alluded to there is no processor or DSP as in all other products, so all the computation limitations to compute depth are eliminated such as there is no linear code stream, no exception or event handling, no branches, no procedure calls, no dropped frames, no artifacts due to insufficient processor performance or disturbances. There is just pure flow of the video through parallel logic at real-time supercomputer-equivalent speed with only one frame delay through our box allowing more sophisticated depth hint analysis and computation. We are the first to have reduced this function down to pure combinational logic. This allows us to have supercomputer performance in a three watt box about the size of two stacked personal checkbooks.

    In a fifth difference, we also detect digital inserts such as football scores and pop them to the front like you would expect, but if it is video of a football scoreboard we render it in the depth field.

    Also note 3D-Bee does not use motion to determine foreground objects, so each frame is individually processed. And, it will convert still photos just as well. One of the fun demos that we commonly do in tradeshows is connecting a 2D video camera to the 3D-Bee and letting people see themselves in 3D real-time, but then taking one of their mobile phones with a photo displayed and holding it in front of the camera to show them the photo on their phone in 3D. We keep seeing new fun things such as the 2D Avatar movie renders in all its beautiful 3D detail through the 3D-Bee, but also scenes in the control room render all the computer screens as though they were 3D displays as you would expect in that future era, but in the actual 3D version of the movie, the computer screens are only seen as 2D displays.

    And lastly, I’d like to let you know that we not only have our three current 3D-Bee models starting production this month, but we have 4 more not-seen-before-technology future products that will blow your socks off, that we will be demo’ing at the Consumer Electronics Show in January if we can get enough booth space. Some specifically for gamers. So stay tuned and hold on to your socks, watch 3D-Bee.com.

  6. fkarlson says:

    its way cool to have Remdog test this innovative unit.

    There must be a lot of depth ques even in mediocre prints as one gentleman’s labor intensive (10 month IIRC) conversion of the public domain copy of “The Carnival Of Souls” impressed me. If the 3D Bee can come close on the fly then it’ll be a near miracle. Sato’s 1990 patent seemed (?) heading this (3D-B) way in concept but I”m not technical enough to figure out how close.

    I’ve run the Monoprice converter but only in red-cyan anagylph on a 2D 42″ plasma and in that mode the Monoprice exhibited noticeable star-stepping with diagonal lines. Soon, I try it again with a new passive polarized 3D set.

    FWIW with 2D dipslays, the 3Dfier seemed to slightly surpass PowerDVD 11. “Plan 9 From Outer Space” looked very good with 3Dfier.

    It would be interesting to see how many folks (including conversion naysayers) can be fooled by good conversion telling them its native 3D…

    re:pop-out – seems like certain animations would make that happen on conversions.

  7. fkarlson says:

    oh 3D Bee Blogger – forgot to ask – is the Trainer suitable for use with the 42″ Vizio passive glasses tv?

  8. Hi Fkarlson, thanks for the inquiries.

    Fkarlson: There must be a lot of depth ques even in mediocre prints

    - We may be handling the most sophisticated stack of depth hints as we were not limited by the performance of a processor based engine, just our imagination.

    Fkarlson: The Monoprice exhibited noticeable star-stepping with diagonal lines.

    - We preserve the detail from the original. So if there was no stair stepping in the original, there won’t be any in the conversion. We merely displace original pixels left or right for each eye based upon their computed depth in the depth map.

    Fkarlson: It would be interesting to see how many folks (including conversion naysayers) can be fooled by good conversion telling them its native 3D…

    - We have broadcast clients that want to take 2D broadcasts and convert them and resend them down 3D channels because our 3D quality is that good. Note the standard 3D-Bees are not licensed for commercial applications. These type of companies need a special contract with 3D-Bee VEFXi headquarters.

    Fkalson: is the Trainer suitable for use with the 42″ Vizio passive glasses tv?

    - We take in HDMI 720p, 1080i, or 1080p 2D video input and convert it to a 60Hz L/R format 3D video stream with the same resolution as the input. As long as your 3D TV can accept our HDMI 60Hz L/R 3D video output format, we don’t see any reason it won’t work. Glasses type are merely a dependency on how your 3D TV delivers separate video streams to each of your eyes. Our 3D-Bee::home, and 3D-Bee::trainer converters don’t care.

    - Note that we do have a third model, 3D-Bee Professional , $949, which comes with two 3D-Bee boxes and a splitter. With this model, you send your input video to both boxes and the “left model” outputs left eye 2D video stream, and the “right model” outputs right eye 2D video stream. This allows you to use two aligned ordinary video projectors with opposing passive polarized filters (circular or linear) in front to project 3D. You wear corresponding passive polarizing glasses. This is the brightest and most cost effective way of projecting 3D in large venues.

  9. fkarlson says:

    Hi 3D-Bee Blogger –

    So the 3D-Bee Trainer’s output would be “field-sequential”?

    Is there anyway you can upload some clips of what the 3D-Bee can do to YouTube using decent quality public domain clips as the source? (- some of these titles have had conversions throughout the years. ( -not seen the excellent “The Last Man On Earth” converted).

    There was one painstakingly labor intensive depth map (copyrighted) conversion by a gentleman on “The Carnival Of Souls” which a clip on YT which might be used for comparison with the Bee.

    BTW,- tried my Monoprice 3D Creator with DVD player into a Vizio polarized tv and assuming settings were correct, curves of faces had sawtooth problems and result for me, unwatchable. (Perhaps my particular Monoprice 3D Creator is defective (?) – are others reporting this much problem?)

    It would be nice to see what the 3D-Bee does with stills/

  10. fkarlson says:

    update – I didn’t have enough resolution when feeding the Monoprice 3DE creator from a particular dvd player so was getting excessive stair-stepping.. Driving it with a BDT310 in upscaled mode looked very good with the 1953 movie “War Of The Worlds” dvd. It’ll be interesting to hear Remdog’s opinions on that unit vs the Bee and whatever else is in the mix.

  11. fkarlson says:

    The 3D Bee store is open – I put in an order for the “Home” unit. Hey Remdog – got any further thoughts to post yet? How might it look on the 2D BD of “Drive Angry” vs the native 3D disc? Can the 3D Bee consistently outpoint the Monoprice with good source material?

  12. fkarlson says:

    HI lRemdog – I’ve used the 3D-Bee Home unit for several days so far with a few black and white + color blu-ray and dvd movies & music events. The 3D-Bee Home converter is very smooth.

    As your review notes there are times when I feel there needs to be a setting with more front to back depth presentation.

    Although not quite as smooth, Monoprice’s converter at its maximum depth has more offset of the left and right image (I’m using a SBS TV) and sometimes gives more delineation around objects and people with that setting. Whether that’s good or not – can’t say but would like to see at least one deeper Z- setting, assuming overall front to back depth looks deeper.

    All of this good 2D->3D conversion stuff is cool/fun technology and enhances the video experience.

  13. fkarlson says:

    btw- the opening few minutes of the DVD version of Kick-Ass including the traveling thought clouds effect look more natural, clearer and refined on the 3D Bee than with the Monoprice cconverter.

  14. phil says:

    I compared the 3d bee to the samsung 2d-3d converter .The samsung converter works must better ,i wasted alot of money for nothing!!!!

  15. Mick says:

    I bought 3d bee i’m very disappointed !!!! my 3d tv has a better 3d converter built in,i will never buy a 3d converter again , i think i just stick to 3d blu rays in the future!!!

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