3D Movies on Computers

Well there are Blu-ray 3D, but how can you play 3D movies from the computer. There as usual a confusing array of formats for this. Most are in MKV format and the decoder ring is:

  • Full Side-by-Side. This means that each frame is encoded where the left and right are side by side in a frame, so it looks like 2 x 1920 pixels wide and 1080 pixels high. Obviously the file is massive and about twice as big for a backup.
  • Half Side by Side. This means that 960 pixels per frame and a 540 pixels and the file is about the same as a regular 1080p but half the vertical resolution. Its a decent compromise if you are trying to save some space.
  • Half Over and under. This is used by ESPN for 720p, so that you get full horizontal resolution and half the vertical, it is backed as 720 pixels for both frames within frames but each has half the lines
  • Blu Ray ISO. You backup your Blu Ray and you will see a main .mt2s stream and a supplemental one which is the other channel based on the first.

If you aren’t completely confused by this, then you are a true geek. So how do you actually view it? Well a quick google search shows there are a couple of ways that are really built around whether the HDTV does the processing or the Mac does the processing:

Two ways of processing S3D using a computer:

1.Your 3D capable Display/TV/Projector does the processing.
You play the video (SBS .mkv) with any standard (2D) player of your choice (VLC, Quicktime, Plex, XBMC…).
You enable the 3D-mode on your Display/TV/Projector and choose Side-by-Side as output method.
This works just fine for me (Plex/XBMC + Acer H5360BD). The only downside is that you have to enable and disable the 3D-function manually each time. Maybe could be solved if your Mac has HDMI 1.4a…

2. Your Computer does the processing.
Therefore you have to set the refresh rate of your Mac to 120Hz (SwitchResX) and play the video with 3D software player and the best application for this is Bino.
You open the video with Bino choose the correct input and output (OpenGL Stereo) and you should be fine. Works at least for me using the Acer H5360BD.
Of course your computer should have enough horsepower to output OpenGL Stereo…

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