3D Vision 2 brings bigger goggles, brighter visuals

Nvidia is sprucing up its stereoscopic 3D offering—and display makers are taking part. The company has announced 3D Vision 2, which involves both a new set of active-shutter 3D glasses and 3D LightBoost, a display technology meant to enable brighter visuals by letting more light seep in through the goggles.

The new 3D Vision 2 glasses have 20% larger lenses than the original design, and they feature a thinner, more flexible composite frame that's meant to block more light from the sides and top. Wearing headphones over these should be more comfortable, the company says. We're told battery life is "very similar," as well, and prices haven't budged: you're still expected to shell out $149 for a 3D Vision Wireless Kit with a receiver, or $99 for the glasses alone without the receiver.

You'll find the 3D LightBoost sticker on certain new displays and laptops. What does it mean? Simply put, the LCD panel has a faster backlight that allows the 3D glasses to be kept open longer. (Remember, 3D Vision goggles work by rapidly opening and closing shutters so the user's left and right eyes always see different frames.) 3D LightBoost brightens up not just the images on the screen, but also the user's surroundings—so tracking down function keys on your keyboard or reaching for that can of Bawls should be less error-prone.

Among the first 3D LightBoost displays are the Asus VG278H (pictured above), a 27" panel with a 1920x1080 resolution, dual-link DVI and HDMI 1.4 inputs, and bundled 3D Vision 2 glasses. Other monitors to support LightBoost include the HN274HB from Acer as well as the XL2420T and XL2420TX from BenQ. LightBoost is even making an appearance in notebooks—specifically, Toshiba's Qosmio X770/X775 and Satellite P770/P775.

Those laptops ship with first-generation 3D Vision goggles, but that's okay. Nvidia says the first-gen glasses will support LightBoost after a driver update, provided you're using them with the right display. Conversely, 3D Vision 2 goggles can be used with non-LightBoost panels. All of that equipment usually doesn't come cheap, so it's nice to see Nvidia affording users some flexibility there.

Look for 3D Vision 2 products in stores some this month.

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