How to Convert 2D Movies to 3D: The Best 2D to 3D Movie Converter Software

By Taylor Thomas
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DVD player software is primarily designed to allow you to play DVDs on your computer with optimum quality. But the best DVD player software can also upscale your video content to simulate HD audio and HD video. Some of the best media players are even equipped to take you to the next dimension: converting standard 2D movies to 3D.

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Simulated 3D can bring a stimulating new experience to your favorite blockbusters, home movies and online video. 2D to 3D converter software can help you make the most of your 3D TV or monitor, but you can even use some of the applications to enjoy 3D content without special displays.

We’ve looked at a handful of DVD player software with 2D to 3D movie converter technology and liked what we saw. Of course the end result isn’t going to be as impressive as Avatar, but the experience is more than just a gimmick and can be exciting and entertaining. Here is a brief synopsis and review of the best 2D to 3D movie converter software.

PowerDVD 10 Deluxe

Cyberlink PowerDVD 10 is the best overall DVD player software, and the upgraded Deluxe edition includes their innovative TrueTheater 3D technology. You’ll need a 3D display, but PowerDVD 10 supports NVIDIA 3D Vision (active shutter glasses), 3D Polarized (row-interleaved) LCD TVs, HDMI 1.4 enabled 3D TVs and 3D ready HDTVs (checkerboard). The software can even detect the source format automatically. You can adjust the depth to find the perfect setting and enjoy the real-time, simulated 3D on any DVD movie with PowerDVD 10 Deluxe. For Blu-ray 3D playback, consider PowerDVD 10 Ultra.


Roxio CinePlayer with 3D

More than just playing 3D-enabled Blu-ray and DVD movies, Roxio’s newest version of CinePlayer can also convert normal 2D movies to 3D. The DVD player software converts movies in real time and works with a number of 3D technologies, including active shutter glasses, line polarized LCD displays, 3DTVs with HDMI 1.4, and a handful of anaglyph methods (red/green, red/blue, green/magenta). The software supports RealD video file formats and is compatible with NVIDIA 3D Vision as well as 3D enabled monitors from Intel and AMD. On a side note, Roxio has been chosen by MSI to provide the 3D technology for their all-in-one touchscreen PCs.


TotalMedia Theatre 5

TotalMedia Theatre 5 is a great standalone Blu-ray player software supporting 3D Blu-ray movies, but it also includes their innovative Sim3D technology to transform regular movies to 3D. The software supports NVIDIA 3D Vision, AMD HD3D monitors, Micro-polarized 3D LCD displays and 3D-ready DLP HDTVs. But where this software stands out is the option to use traditional 2D displays and still make it possible to watch movies in 3D, by using anaglyph (red/cyan) 3D glasses. Of course the quality won’t be as good as with specialized hardware, but the adjustable depth perception makes it easy to find a comfortable view. You can switch from 2D to 3D and back again in real time as the movie continues to play.


TriDef 3D

While the other software products listed here are DVD player software suites with 3D conversion added on, TriDef 3D is a product devoted entirely to 3D technology. More than just DVD movies, TriDef 3D also lets you enjoy pictures, Google Earth and video games (over 380 popular games already supported) in 3D. Now you can explore the digital world on Google Earth in full 3D and truly immerse yourself in a 3D video game, from BioShock and Assassin’s Creed to Call of Duty, the Sims, Fallout and Gears of War. TriDef lets you tweak the depth perception and angle with two slider controls. The software supports stereoscopic 3D displays from Samsung, SHARP, 4-D Vision, Dimension Technologies and more. Or you can use your traditional monitor and some old dual-colored lenses (supports red/cyan, amber/blue, green/purple) and see in 3D without the expensive hardware.


3D technology is still very much in the early stages, with active proponents and naysayers commenting on each new 3D method. We’re confident that the technology will continue to improve, but we admit there’s still a long way to go. For now, these 2D to 3D converter software apps are the best way to watch 2D movies in 3D, and they're an inexpensive way to enjoy your favorite films in 3D.

For more 3D viewing options, check out our reviews of the best 3D Blu-ray Players and the best 3D TVs.

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