Technology Explained

Can My Laptop, Monitor, Or TV Do 3D?

James Bruce 24-07-2017

Updated by James Bruce on 07/24/2017


3DTV might be unofficially dead, but 3D movies are still alive and kicking — particularly with the latest resurgence of virtual reality Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Which Is Better for You? The HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have been available for over a year. Both provide amazing VR experiences, but which one is right for you? We break down all the differences. Read More . So we’re often asked: “Can I watch 3D movies on my computer?” The short answer is: sadly, no, you probably can’t. Read on to find out why you can’t — and what you need to buy to make it so that you can!

Why You Probably Can’t View 3D on Your Monitor or Laptop

It’s not about software, or your graphics card. You can’t just download a 3D video player. Instead, your display device is probably incompatible. To understand why, we need to examine the most common technologies for viewing 3D content (whether that’s at the cinema, or on a 3DTV).

To get any kind of 3D effect, a different image must be delivered to your left and right eye. You can demonstrate this by placing your finger in front of your face and focusing on something behind it. Close one eye, then the other. Observe how the position of your finger changes drastically depending on which eye you’re viewing from. Your brain is constantly combining those two images to give you a 3D picture of the world. In this case, the fact that the finger position changes so much gives it a strong depth clue about how close your finger must be.

Take a look at the 3D movie frame below. Pick out a single cube, and see how the position is slightly different between the left and right view. You can view this scene in 3D without any glasses at all – just go cross-eyed until the 3D picture emerges in the middle!

Of course, going cross-eyed like that is neither healthy nor practical for any length of time. So how does a TV or cinema screen show a different image to each of your eyes? There’s a couple of different methods.


Active Shutter 3D

These displays run at twice the normal refresh rate, and they use those extra frames to show the left image, then the right image, alternating at a high speed between each one. They must be paired with active shutter glasses, which contain a plain black LCD display over each eye. When given the correct timing signal, the left or right side of those glasses will entirely black out the image, such that one eye sees nothing, while the other eye sees the correct frame. This happens hundreds of times a second, so from the perspective of your brain, it’s just seeing two different images in each eye, and a 3D effect can be perceived. You can easily identify this type of display by a very slight flicker, and the fact that the glasses are sometimes bulkier, and require charging or a battery.

The problem is that your typical LCD computer display is simply too slow to display images at the speed required for this to work: at least 120Hz. If a monitor or TV is claiming to be 3D-ready, it probably means it has a high enough frequency, and can be paired with some active shutter glasses and suitable software for 3D output. If your monitor or laptop doesn’t explicitly says that it’s 3D-ready, that’s because most likely isn’t.

Even if it claims to display images at 120Hz, that may mean it’s just interpolating the differences in a 60Hz signal to give the illusion of 120Hz, which is no good for this kind of 3D.

Passive Polarized 3D

This method divides the display into lines, interlacing the left and right image together, by displaying a line from each image alternately, at the same time. This then passes through a polarization filter, with alternating lines polarized in a different direction. To enable the 3D effect, they must be paired with some lightweight glasses, such that each eyepiece is in fact a different direction polarized filter. Now only the light from the image intended for the right eye can pass through the right eyepiece, and the same for the left.


You can tell that a display uses passive 3D polarization because the glasses are very lightweight — sometimes disposable, even — and don’t require a battery. It’s also considered to be slightly inferior because the overall brightness is less than that of an active 3D display, and there’s often a very slight “ghosting” effect, where the light from one eye has bled over to another.

Lenticular 3D

A third type of display uses cleverly angled “light pipes” which only allow the image to be viewed from a single direction. You’ve probably seen a form of this technology in collectable trading cards or cereal box toys, where you can feel plastic ridges on the card. They allow you to tilt the toy in order see a different frame of a very short animation. This technology has made its way to consumer grade 3D cameras, and the Nintendo 3DS New Nintendo 3DS XL Review and Competition The New 3DS XL is here, and it brings some interesting changes – but is it worth upgrading if you already have a 3DS? Should new users save some cash and buy the older generation? Read More , as well as a few TVs. What’s amazing about lenticular displays is that they don’t require glasses at all

Unfortunately, they’re also not very good, often requiring specific viewing angles for the optimum effect, and even then, having quite muted depth effects. It’s notable that Nintendo has been removing the 3D display from its most recent handhelds.

Can My Laptop, Monitor, Or TV Do 3D? giphy
Source: Bracha printing lenticular business cards via Giphy.


Anaglyph 3D, aka red/blue

This is a pseudo form of 3D that we’re mentioning for the sake of completion. The principle is simple: remove the red channel completely from your left image, then both the cyan and green channels from the right side. When you filter both the image back to your eye with red/blue glasses, you sort of end up a pretty bad 3D effect. You could use this kind of 3D output on any display, but we’d recommending not bothering because it’s just so bad.

That’s why your average monitor or laptop just cannot do 3D. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

But I’ve got a 3DTV! Can I Watch 3D Movies from My Computer?

Of course. Assuming you have a matching pair of 3D glasses that came with your 3DTV, you just need to know what format video the TV expects. There are two formats in common use: top/bottom, and side-by-side.  This just refers to the way in which the left and right image is displayed. Side-by-side is the most common, and it looks similar to the cross-eyed video we embedded at the start (however, please don’t try to view it cross-eyed, because the left and right channels are actually inverted).

If you have a movie file that’s already formatted in the correct way, you just need to send it over the HDMI and activate 3D mode on the TV. Load up your 3D movie in VLC, make it full-screen, and set your TV to 3D mode. It really is that easy. 


Can My Laptop, Monitor, Or TV Do 3D? vlc 670x406

If you have a BluRay drive in your PC, you’ll need some special software due to the encryption. PowerDVD is your best bet.

I’ve Got a VR Headset — Can I watch 3D Movies?

Yes! In fact, you can have an entire virtual cinema with a 300ft screen, all to yourself and without any annoying kids or sounds of popcorn munching. Unless you decide to munch popcorn of course, in which case you only have yourself to blame.

However, there are some caveats. The current generation of VR headsets are quite low resolution — about half that of an HD monitor. The Oculus Rift for example, has a per-eye resolution of 1080 x 1200. A full HD display is 1920 x 1080. And that resolution must be used to draw your full 3D environment. So if you’re sitting at the back of a virtual cinema, the actual resolution you’ll get on that virtual cinema screen will be significantly lower still. You can mitigate this by seating your virtual avatar closer to the screen, such that you need to move your head around to view the full extent of the virtual screen, thereby giving more virtual pixels to the screen. But then, this means moving your head around to see the full screen, which could get uncomfortable after a while.

Even so, the allure of a completely private, massive 3D-capable cinema screen is incredible.

Ready to give it a go? We recommend avoiding the fake seater cinema seating environments and going straight for a VR video player that does away with the nonsense: DEO VR. It’s available on both Oculus Home and SteamVR, for free. It can use the VLC engine as a render path to handle obscure formats, and has a vast array of options and configurations to setup your virtual screen. If your filename includes _SBS or _TB, it automatically knows it’s a 3D movie and starts it in the right mode.

Can My Laptop, Monitor, Or TV Do 3D? deovr 670x451

My Monitor or Laptop is “NVidia 3DVision Ready” — What Does That Mean?

If your monitor or Laptop is 3DVision Ready, it means you can purchase an NVidia 3DVision kit for use with it, which includes a USB sync dongle and a pair of active shutter glasses. You can then play 3D games, or watch 3D movies. A desktop machine will also require an NVidia graphics card in order to use 3DVision. can my tv do 3d

However, the technology is largely outdated at this point, and given the cost of a VR headset is around $500, we’d recommend not buying into the 3DVision system.

Getting a 3D display to work right can be a lot of effort, but we hope this has cleared at least some of it up for you. Which solution do you prefer for playing 3D movies? Do you own a 3DTV and still use it?

Related topics: Computer Monitor, Filmmaking, Television.

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  1. Gerald Asmussen
    October 31, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    I have a 3d Samsung 40 inch TV and 3d bluray player, it is great and I am very happy with them. I know a lot of people say to hold up buying until they perfect them but I am happy with my set up and almost all of my bluray movies are in 3d. I recommend a purchase of the TV and player as I find the movies to be great. I am retired and spend most of my free time watching my movies. In answer to the question of owning a 3d set up YES I own a 3d TV and use it for my 3d experience. It is my ownly TV and 3d player and we have a large screen Samsung in the living room but it is not 3d . By the way I don't work for Samsung but I do like their products.

  2. Matthias
    August 16, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    I am still looking for a solution so watch at least 3D blu ray on my current (or a future notebook).
    The current notebook is a 5 year old 530U4C-S02 with a Nvidia graphics card just too slow to support Nvidia Vision 2.
    A while ago I tested a 3D beamer with active shutter glasses, and using PowerDVD I was able to watch 3D movies indeed. Obviously the HDMI port supports 3D. Unfortunately the beamer had a general color issue which could not be fixed, so I had to send it back.

    Since then I am looking for an alternative using a table-top display or small TV. Problem is:
    - Displays seem to have no active transmitter for the shutter glasses (or are there exceptions?), so I would need Nvidia Vision 2 to sync the glasses, whose driver refuses to work on my current graphics card.
    - A 3D TV would have a built-in transmitter, but there are no models available in the required size of 23"-27" (or maybe there is one outdated or unavailable model ... forget it)
    - Same goes for passive displays. There's one one model I know and that is outdated and more or less unavailable.
    - Autostereoscopic consumer displays are not available either so far.
    - There is the Pimax 4K VR Headset, the only high-resolution headset I know of. Maybe that would do? (Reviews say it is gives slightly more resolution than the 1080p or 1200p headsets.) Would it work with PowerDVD on a Windows notebook?

    If you want my opinion: 3D on the PC is not mainly dead because of VR, but because the industry did not manage to place working, available solutions on the market which do not require a bachelor in computer compatibility to make the components work together.

    Passive 3D is working excellent in cinemas. I have a pair of glasses at home. Why is there not a single passive PC display available which can display a 3D blu-ray in true Full-HD resolution and supports Windows 7 and 10? Don't think there's a technical limitation ... we have 4K displays available these days.

  3. Wiki8313
    April 11, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    I want to know that my Sony Bravia KDL-32R472 led tv support which type of 3d formats?

  4. Bachar
    April 4, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Tx a lot for the advice, can you please let us know about any new breakthrough for the 3D in the future ?

    Ty :)

    • James Bruce
      April 5, 2017 at 6:17 am

      3D is dead – it's been displaced by VR, which is essentially 3D + head tracking. You can now get a huge virtual 3D cinema instead of a tiny little 3D monitor.

  5. Anonymous
    July 10, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    hi there is software call Leawo that can play 3d movies

  6. rafael
    March 26, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Hi there,

    I have a benq xl2720z nvidia 3d monitor but i have a amd r380x card.

    Would it work if a use active averege 3d glasses and tridef to play games in 3d ?

  7. marija
    January 13, 2016 at 4:48 pm


    I have one question. I have Philips 3D Tv tipe 40pfl4358h/12 and i bought 3D active glasses PTA508. ISo the question is Can i watch 3D movies if i only connect the TV with the PC through HDMI or I need to have Blu Ray player? What kind of driver or file format i need so i can watch 3D on my TV?

    Thank You

  8. RockZ4EveR
    November 20, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you James,

    Am from India and I want to buy LG 55 inches tv and therez one model here available and it is LG 55UF850T and it is priced around 2300usd.
    But it costs half of the price at rest of the world,,,
    So if I wait around 3 months then is there any price drop and equal to the price of universal,,,,
    I think If I wait 3 months then I can get it below 1100usd,,,, right?
    Sorry for noob questions

  9. RockZ4EveR
    November 20, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Million thanks for the lightning reply sir,,,,,

    Am still noob here,,,,

    I think 3d TV can process what powerdvd software can do in pc,,,,
    I think therez no difference more then that between non 3d FHD and 3d TV.

    Or the display of 3d TV is different then normal FHD?

    if therez no difference in display tech. Then the process of software part can done by powerdvd and I hope using a normal FHD tv it as monitor ( just an external display to laptop ), we can watch all the sbs content in 3D with passive 3d glasses,,,,

    Hope u got my idea n confusion and clear my doubt b4 I try my own

    Thank you

    • James Bruce
      November 20, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      The display technology is different. A non-3dtv cannot display 3d content, regardless of the software.

  10. RockZ4EveR
    November 20, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Hi,,, I have a doubt and need a simple answer buddy.

    I want to connect (planning to buy one, but I think it's better to wait for another six months, until HDR and Dolby VISION become standard,meanwhile I think it's better to buy a normal FHD) a LG normal 55inch HD TV to my laptop Toshiba Satellite P875-S7200 laptop ( it may support HDMI 1.4 ) and make it as monitor ( I think as long as it's a monitor, it can show 100% same what the laptop can show) and using powerdvd 15, I want to watch the SBS 3D rips from torrents using passive 3d glasses.

    So can I get all the 3D with depth????????

    Am using external sound card creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 and connected it to active 5.1 speakers speakers, am enjoying good 5.1 Sound through them.

    I think all the process of 3D can be done by powerdvd and TV is just a monitor, just a copy to laptop monitor,,,,, so why the hell we need 3D TV?

    I hope u understood my idea and can clear my doubt,,,,

    Thank you sir

    • James Bruce
      November 20, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      Your laptop, and that TV, cannot display 3D - passive, or active.

      Passive glasses require that the images destined for the left and right eye are polarized differently. You need to change the glass / optics within the monitor for it to support passive 3D.

      The same is not true with active 3D - old monitors had a such a high refresh rate, that using half of them for the left eye and half for the right eye could in fact be done in software, so as long as you could sync that flashing up with your active glasses, 3D would work. But modern TVs dont support that.

      So in short, no, it's not possible. Sorry!

  11. RafieMY
    May 9, 2015 at 8:44 am

    lol, cross-eyed really got me...

  12. Wills Isingoma
    May 4, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Hi James, My Name is Wills Isingoma, From Uganda-Africa.
    Me and My partner recently bought two Units of

    We had earlier bought 4600 3D glasses of (Online Shop Special Offer For USA, 2014 Hot 3D Paper Glasses, Blue Red Glasses, White, Free shipping to USA Only|Aliexpress Mobile - and they cant work with the above projector.

    What would be the most affordable/inexpensive Passive 3D Glasses with for 3D Projectors) or for the Epson above? or would you advise on how to use the 4600 glasses that we already purchased?


  13. shahab
    April 23, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    My TV is Samsung LED 6355 with 3d display. also I have Sony Vaio with Blue Ray sys. I want to watch 3d Blue Ray Movies but When I connect with HDMI cable, it was not possible.
    Graphic Card is NVIDIA GeForce 512 MB VRAM.

    • James Bruce
      April 23, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      I'm afraid your TV model only has Arabic documentation from what I can tell, so I can't check what mode you need.

      We'll need a bit more detail to figure out what's wrong, Shahab. Do you see the 3D over/under or side-by-side output on your laptop? What do you see on the TV side? It should be mirroring your desktop, right? If you see the over/under or side-by-side picture, you just need to manually switch the TV into 3D mode - they'll only do this automatically from a hardware Bluray player.

      Also, test with YouTube first. You need to know what format your TV needs - over/under, or side-by-side. If it's side-by-side for example, make YouTube fullscreen, watch this video: and force your TV into 3D mode.

  14. Danielle
    April 4, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    I have just purchased a samsung 50" smart tv, however it is not 3d enabled. Some films are showing on a split screen perfectly clear on each side but annoying as its double. Is there a way to change this and have it on one screen? thanks

  15. Arun K Babu
    March 27, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Thanks James.
    Thanks for your valuable reply.
    That cleared my doubt.

  16. Arun K Babu
    March 23, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Hi James,
    I still have a doubt.
    Is a normal 120Hz LCD or LED Monitor enough to display a Stereoscopic 3D content on my PC in Stereoscopic 3D if I have an Nvidia Graphics Card which supports 3D Vision Technology & an Nvidia Active Shutter 3D glass & Nvidia 3D vision toolkit (includes 3D Shutter glasses with infrared & an infrared emitter). I also heard that Nvidia have a special software which is able to Sync. 3D by giving signals through infrared emitter( included in the Nvidia 3D vision toolkit) to the Shutter 3D Glasses. The 3D sync. software is included with Nvidia GTX edition Graphics Cards.

    [Sorry If my English is bad!]

    • James Bruce
      March 23, 2015 at 10:11 am

      No; at least, I've never come across an LCD/LED monitor that will do that. Even if it says 120hz, it's usually a lie (interpolated or something, not a "true" 120hz). It must specifically be compatible.

      But yes, the 3Dvision kit has a IR sync emitter; this is critical to any shuttered 3d system, but it still doesn't mean you can use any monitor.

  17. wills Isingoma
    March 14, 2015 at 2:31 am

    Hi James, they are saying the projector plays 3D and it's the right one except I have to download a software, which they dint say. Any software you know of that could be helpful to make this thing operate 3D?

    Sometime back you were testing a projector bulb from the same manufacturers [Broken Link Removed]

    How did it go? What's yo experience with aliexpress?

  18. wills Isingoma
    March 12, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Hi James,
    This is what I ordered for;
     Online Shop Newest Brirghtest 5000lumens Android 4.2 Native Full HD Led Digital Smart 3D Home Theater Projector Free Gift 100'' Screen|Aliexpress Mobile -
    And they sent it with three pairs of red/green glasses. They don't use batteries and I don't seem to find the 3D option. Where do u advise I look?

    • James Bruce
      March 12, 2015 at 9:24 am

      Yeah - that doesn't do 3D. Red/green glasses are more of a silly gift than for any practical use (see the note at the start of the article about red/blue - same thing). The 5000 lumens is also a lie, so generally that's just bad marketing.

  19. wills Isingoma
    March 11, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Screen split into two...

  20. wills Isingoma
    March 11, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Hi James,
    I bought a 3D projector " HD LED Projector" Model: LED-86. They sent it with a couple of glasses but I tried testing with a blue ray 3D movie and I was still seeing the screen split into. Where could the problem be?

    • James Bruce
      March 11, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      Hi Wills - this device?

      There's nothing there to indicate it does any kind of 3D. What kind of glasses were they? If they dont need a battery, it's possible it does passive 3D, but it won't switch modes automatically - you'll need to enable this through the menu on the projector. Have a poke around, there should be something in there to enable it.

  21. Wills isingoma
    February 24, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Hi James,
    I really appreciate all the help here.

    Quick one, Can i project 3D movies on any plain matt surface or i have to buy a specific 3D projector screen material? I stay in Uganda in Africa and I am trying to avoid unnecessary expenses if i can get any recommended material locally.

    • James Bruce
      February 24, 2015 at 8:47 am

      Normally I just project onto a matt white wall, but you may get better brightness from a screen as they're specially designed to reflect back more light - so only get a screen if it seems too dark.

  22. Wills Isingoma
    February 19, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Thanks for the insight James.
    I am glad I haven't purchased any of these things. But quick one, any 3D projector with at least 4500 lumen or more would you recommend to use here in Africa and since it's for a selected audience, it's sometimes going to be an outdoor watch. What kind of 3d glasses would you recommend to make this whole thing compatible?

    What is SBS Format?
    Again, since I stay far... I would love to do a onetime purchase of all these things esp glasses. What and who do u recommend for wholesale?

    Again, thank you so much for the great advice, appreciate.

    • James Bruce
      February 19, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      SBS means "side by side", and it's the most common format for 3D movies. (example screenshot here:

      Any projector is going to be useless outdoors during the daytime, but 4500 lumens is on the top end of what you'll find at consumer level, and would be fine at night. Bear in mind that passive 3D also makes the image darker, as you're only getting half the image brightness to each eye.

      As for where to source one - I would check out, where you can buy direct from the manufacturer and maybe negotiate a few pairs of 3d glasses for free. I've actually just been sent one of these new laser bulb projectors to review [Broken Link Removed] - but I haven't had a chance to look at it yet, so don't take that as a recommendation.

  23. Wills isingoma
    February 19, 2015 at 8:35 am

    I am trying to buy EUG 3D projector, TriDef 3D software and Red-blue 3D glasses.
    Are these three compatible to watch 3D movies on a silver screen or i still need more to make this work?

    Also, what model of a Laptop/ PC do i need to play these 3D movies?

    • James Bruce
      February 19, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Hi Willis. You got a real mix of technologies you're asking about there.

      Unfortunately, I cant find any information on the 3D output of an EUG projector, but generally a "3d projector" would be using either active or passive glasses, not red/blue. Cheaper projectors use passive glasses, which are just plastic filters, so my guess is that it's that kind - but i suspect the project comes with suitable glasses, so dont buy any extra yet.

      Silver screen is unsuitable; just a while wall is fine.

      TriDef is only needed to play 3d games, not movies. The TriDef software takes the directx video output, and splits it into 2 screens. 3d movies are already split up, usually in SBS format - so your project will need to accept SBS format as a type of 3d. Again, without knowing more about the projector, I can't tell you if this going to work. However, any type of PC capable of playing HD movies will work fine for 3d, as theres no additional processing (the picture is already split in half in the source file).

      In summary:
      - See if you can research more on the projector, or if you're willing to take the risk just get it anyway. Don't buy glasses yet, and you dont need a silver screen.
      - You dont need Tridef for movies.
      - You do need SBS formatted movies though - downloaded illegally, or played through a compatible bluray player.

  24. suraj
    May 14, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I have laptop with blu ray drive. I also have LG 3D LED TV (passive 3D). Can I connect my laptop to TV to play 3D blu-ray and experience 3D on my TV? If so, how do I do it?

    Thanks in advance

    • muotechguy
      May 14, 2012 at 10:42 am

      You can indeed, but you'll need HDMI1.4 output, and a suitable cable. You'll need Cyberlink PowerDVD to play the 3D bluray:,2636-6.html

      If you want to play games, TriDef drivers linked in the article will work.

      You'll need to read the manual for your model of tv to find out which settings to apply for 3d - side by side, interlaced etc.

  25. Valentin
    April 28, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    I have sony bravia 3d tv(1920 1080) (40nx720) with hdmi 1.4 and laptop with ATI redeon hd 3400 and both hdmi and dvi (not sure if the hdmi is 1.3 or 1.4). So the question is can i play bluray 3d movies on the laptop and watch them on the tv using HDMI? As i have noticed when i connect the laptop to the tv in the right corner there is "720p" i suppose it is because of my laptops video card i mean it can only support HD not Full HD. Does that mean that if i have a blu ray movie and a HD movie the quality is going to be the same

    • James Bruce
      April 29, 2012 at 8:24 am

      Firstly, do you have a bluray drive on your laptop? If you do, you'll need a 3d bluray player like to play those. However, PowerDVD needs HDMI 1.4 to play 3d bluray discs in a directly compatible 3d format, which I dont think your card can do. So 3d blurays are out of the question.

      For download 3d movies that play as side by side, you shouldnt need any special software, assuming your TV is able to understand side by side format (to check, try enabling 3d - or check the manual - if there is a setting on screen that lets you choose between side by side, horizontal, checkerboard or interlaced). However, I think Sony's don't do SBS, but I can't confirm this anywhere.

      - you need HDMI 1.4
      - if you have that, powerdvd may let you view 3d blurays, and you could play 3d games with third party drivers. Just need to figure out the exact format your tv needs.

  26. sw123
    April 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    In order to use tridef i need to upgrade my drivers to the latest version but the driver form the ati website does not work on sony laptops. I read on this forum that if i uninstall my current driver and delete all associated files using driver sweeper and then install the current catalyst control center it would start working. Would it work?

    • muotechguy
      April 26, 2012 at 7:02 pm

      Sorry, way to specific. I would try the tridef forums for that kind of information, bound to be a few people in the same situation as you.

  27. sw123
    April 25, 2012 at 8:48 am

    i have a sony bravia 3d tv and a sony vaio laptop. i wanted to play games in 3d on my tv, my laptop has an ati mobility radeon hd 4650 and a hdmi port. I want to know if i have to purchase a software to play games in 3d since i cant find the links to download iz3d or tridef 3d that are free for ati customers.

    • muotechguy
      April 25, 2012 at 8:58 am

      Apolgoies, the ATI free option for iz3d is only for use with 3d DLP TVs, such as from Mitsubishi and Samsung. For your tv, you will need a paid licence. However, your gfx is not really good enough, you will likley get framerates of about 20fps.

      I would suggest getting the trial version of TRIDEF ( and testing with the new Power3D mode enabled, as it gives massive performance to about what you'd expect running in 2d.

      • sw123
        April 25, 2012 at 9:06 am

        Ok thanks

  28. silver surfer uk
    February 11, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I've some old videos but no video player. Is there a way that I setup my laptop so that I can view them please.  If there is a way please could you tell me in 'idiot style' without the technical jargon - I'm a silver-surfer!  Many thanks.

  29. yiitingsun
    February 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    I have a 51" plasma samsung 3Dtv, what should I do in order to play 3D movies from mac laptop?
    thank you ~~

    • James Bruce
      February 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      Hi there. Depending on how old your macbook is, you'll need either a DVI-I -> HDMI or Mini DisplayPort-> HDMI adapter, as well as an HDMI cable. This will let you send video to the TV from the macbook. You'll be able to play Side-By-Side formatted movies just fine using regular VLC media player - once its playing, switch to 3d mode on the Samsung remote, and be sure to choose the side by side option as it can also do horizontal split signal. You won't be able to play actual blu-rays of course, as there is no bluray drive for your laptop, nor any software that will play them on OSX - but downloaded movies in SBS format should be fine. 

      Sound is a problem though - I have a 50" samsung myself, and  the display output from your mac wont be able to send sound also; nor is there an input for sound on the samsung side when using HDMI (as it's assumed the HDMI signal will also contain sound) - therefore, you'll need a separate amplifier set up. Just connect the line out/headphone socket of your mac to your amp's auxillary input. If you don't have external amp and speakers, then I'm afraid you're limited to the speakers on your macbook, which will be quite bad. 

      (edit: if you have a recent macbook, this adapter is able to send audio also: - *Audio support is only available for MacBook Pro 13/15/17-in. mid-2010 release; iMac 21.5/27-in. early-2010 release, but I can't recommend it personally) 

      Hope that wasn't too technical. 

  30. guest
    February 3, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Thank you for this very well written, enlightening article. After desperately googling and posting on relevant forums about how to play 3d sbs mkvs from my laptop to watch them on my 3d projector, I finally found the answer here.

    • James Bruce
      February 4, 2012 at 9:39 am

      Glad to help!

  31. James Bruce
    January 30, 2012 at 8:31 am

    It's an interesting concept, but sadly that was 3 years ago now and nothing ever came of it. It's also not really practical, since it relies on you moving your head in order to give the *illusion* of 3d, rather than actually delivering a 3d image to your eyes. It's certainly impressive though.

  32. basketball
    January 30, 2012 at 12:36 am

    So it doesnt matter if your laptops not 3d? you can still download a 3d movie and plug your laptop to your 3d tv and still watch 3d? so you just have to download NVidia 3d player to your computer?   Thank you!

    • James Bruce
      January 30, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Yes. In fact, you don't even need nvidia player if you download Side-by-Side (SBS) formatted 3d movies, which make up about 95% of what is out there. Just play them full screen in VLC, and switch the 3d mode on from the TV. 

  33. Alex
    December 29, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    hi,i'm Alex..
    want know my laptop is Asus N55SF & garfic card is Nvidia geforce GT 555 M so that screen is it can support 3d movie?

    • James Bruce
      December 30, 2011 at 9:55 am

      Sorry Alex, the laptop screen does not support 3D of any kind. The graphics card does though, so all you need is a suitable 3d display - either a special external monitor, or 3dTV. 

  34. Alex
    December 29, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    hi,i'm from Malalsia.. I want to know how to change my laptop Asus N55SF screen 3D vision? have anyone can help me soft it..??

  35. summit86
    December 10, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Hi, thanks for a very informative article, but i still got a bit confused.
    I have a HDMI 1.4a 3DTV (Samsung LED D6000SR), Laptop with ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650 GPU & Intel Core i5 460M processor.
    Now what all do i have to 'buy'/get assuming i'll be using all possible 3D sources? Is buying Tridef or iZ3D mandatory given my ATI graphics?
    Also I dont have BD ROM drive on laptop or a Blue Ray player either, is it possible to use virtual mount software's to emulate a blue ray disc player and mount ISO image on it and then use PowerDVD? (sorry if i'm being silly over here)
    Thanks in advance :)

    • James Bruce
      December 12, 2011 at 1:50 am

      Hi Summit. A few questions I'll answer individually. 

      1. Yes, you'll need a DVI->HDMI adpater if you laptoip doesnt have HDMI output though. I would also suggest switching it to display ONLY external, instead f trying to run cloned monitor setup. So make it that the TV is the primary display with inbuilt laptop display deactivated. iz3d or tridef will then let you play 3d GAMES on your TV. 

      2. I'm afraid details on the free license for ATi owners are rather sparse. There is a 30 day trial though, so best thing is to download and try. In the licence section, you may find "free,paid,Ati owners". 

      3. Mounting bluray isos and playing via powerdvd is possible, but it's far easy to just download the SBS rip rather than the whole iso, then just play in regular old VLC. You'll see two images on your tv, at which point just switch the TV to 3d SBS mode. 

      So that gives you movies via vlc , and games via iz3d/tridef. Anything else?

      • summit86
        December 12, 2011 at 2:36 am

        Thanks a lot James, one last q though :) , i think my laptop has HDMI 1.3 and i also have a 1.3 cable, will it be a spoiler?

        • James Bruce
          December 13, 2011 at 12:59 am

          I dont think so Summit - I use DVI cable just fine and have never stopped to consider the version of HDMI. I think it just means your TV wont automatically know it's in 3D mode, but that's just another button you have to press on the remote. I could be wrong though, so do post back after you try and let us know.  

        • summit86
          December 13, 2011 at 3:17 am

          Thanks, will surely let you know the outcome!

        • summit86
          December 23, 2011 at 6:50 pm

          Thanks James, it all worked pretty fine!! 3D looks simply stunning, have installed iZ3D not yet tried Tridef. Worth the money IMHO :)

  36. JR
    November 24, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Sorry to bother you again with one of those "Haz my Screen 3D" Question, but I own a 42" Hitachi Plasma which displays at 85Hz...Is there some kind of a minimum deadline in refresh rate? 
    My naive thought was like "hey its only 15Hz difference, maybe I..." because the Nvidias 3D Vision discover set that came with my gtx295 really made my hungry for a proper alternative; like you, I really don't admire this horrible red/blue shit and would like to go for Nvidias wireless glasses.
    Thanks in advance and sorry for my english

    • James Bruce
      November 25, 2011 at 9:57 am

      Nope, sorry, that's not gonna work. In the past, it was possible to force low-refresh CRT screens to do 3D, but thats not the case with slow LCDs. It simply wouldn't be able to sync. I believe you also need to connect over HDMI1.4a, which the TV won't have. It's a shame, but you may need to wait until you're ready to buy a new TV again in a few years I guess. 

  37. G.Muralidharan
    November 23, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Very Very Thanks for Your Advice .I will go for a 3D TV itself.

  38. Aibek
    November 22, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Thank you for the excellent post. I saw a number of questions around this topic on Answers.

  39. G.Muralidharan
    November 20, 2011 at 1:51 am

    Please advise if LG D2342p 3D Monitor can play #d side by side format and also its advantages and disadvantages

    • muotechguy
      November 21, 2011 at 9:10 am

      That particular model is a passive display, and the input format is strictly INTERLACED (ie, one line after the after is mixed together), so unfortunately no, it will not take side by side format. Other than being very cheap, there are no advantages to that particular monitor - from reports I've read the 3d quality is terrible, with lots of ghosting and overall lack of depth as is often the case with passive 3d monitors. 

      Generally, its only TVs that will take side-by-side format - and while computers are capable of diplsaying 3d content to TVs, it's unusual to find 3d monitors able to show standard 3d output from say a playstation or blueray player. My advice would be to stay away from monitor based solutions, and save up to upgrade your TV. 

  40. M.S. Smith
    November 18, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Thanks for taking this on, James, there have indeed been a ton a questions about 3D lately. 

  41. Cashmere
    November 18, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    In view of recent Gaming laptops appearing lately minus those huge and bulky coolers and graphic cards, will you please also write about if it is possible to DIYers like me to build gaming nettops mimicking this gaming laptops.

  42. thecolor
    November 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    So, what about newer TVs that are fast enough to display Active or Passive images (through speed)/refresh rate?

    I purchased a Samsung recently and the only difference (per specs) was "3D ready... vs not.

    Every other spec was the same, refresh rate, etc.

    This would lead me to believe that the TV is capable of speeds to produce those types of images (multiple or not), simply meaning you'd need glasses capable of accepting the active or passive images being output.

    Can you elaborate on that, please?  :)


    • muotechguy
      November 19, 2011 at 9:38 am

      Good question. I had the same thought myself when I first looking into this a few years ago, but had to cut that paragraph from the final draft. 

      Firstly, refresh rates are only pertinent when you talk about ACTIVE displays. Passive 3d needs a whole new component in the TV, a layer of filter. In theory, a fast enough display should be able to display active 3d content if it had a suitable sync mechanism. 

      However, in reality the "high refresh rates" of non-3d TVs are somewhat of a lie. Even though they claim 240hz, that's actually an *interpolated* signal. That means that although 48 frames of video per second are being displayed, for example, only 24 of them are actually real frames from the video stream. The rest (50% or sometimes even more) are midway guesses that a video chip in the TV creates for you. While this does result in smoother video for high speed sports sequences etc, it means that a high-refresh *signal* cannot be used, which is neccessary for the active 3d. 

      An additional problem is that a syncing method is needed. On "3d ready" tvs (active ones, anyway), the glasses need a infra-red emitter in the tv that pulses to say "turn off one eyepiece now", in perfect timing with the frames being displayed. Regular tvs dont have that. In theory at least, assuming the refresh actually WAS high enough, you could use a matched pair of glasses/signal emitters such as NVidia 3DVision, but in reality the drivers dont support this and there may be other delays in the system that prevent the sync from occurring, so even by hacking the drivers it wouldnt work 90% of the time, if at all. 

      An interesting point to note is that some of the larger old, bulky CRT displays from days gone by, ARE compatible with NVidia 3DVision and actually had good refresh rates from 100-120hz. It was only when everyone moved to LCD displays that the refresh rates dropped significantly to 60-80hz, and could no longer do 3D. If you can rescue a huge old CRT from somewhere, (19 inches +, usually), it's very likely you can do 3d on it! 

      • thecolor
        November 19, 2011 at 2:39 pm

        excellent explanation, thanks. On the plus side I chose not to get the 3D version 'cause I felt the experience was bad, needing a movie size screen to really feel the depth and any outside light (less a pitch dark movie theatre) messed with my peripheral vision making watching it poor and nauseating. :(

        I'll just stick to the theatre if it looks like it "could" be a good rendition with loads of depth!