Consumer electronics companies promote standard for active-shutter 3-D glasses

A group of consumer electronics manufacturing companies has joined to promote M-3DI as a single specification for 3-D glasses for home TVs, personal computers and motion picture theaters. Initial plans for the specification cover only IR sync, with the RF Bluetooth technology included on many current 3-D TV sets.

Both Panasonic and XPAND initially developed the new M-3DI standard. Other leading 3-D companies that have agreed to support the standard include Changhong Electric, FUNAI Electric, Hisense Electric, Hitachi Consumer Electronics, Mitsubishi Electric, Seiko Epson, SIM2 Multimedia and ViewSonic. Samsung, Sony and LG Electronics, three prominent 3-D manufacturers, are notably missing from the list of participants.

The technology will allow users to view 3-D across all types of compatible 3-D displays with a single pair of active-shutter glasses. The M-3DI technology provides a communication protocol between stereo 3-D active-shutter glasses and 3-D-capable TVs, front projectors, computers and cinema systems in XPAND-compatible theaters.

The M-3DI standard will also ensure quality control in the creation of 3-D glasses. Until recently, there has been limited compatibility among 3-D glasses offered by various TV manufacturers because they use different methods to communicate between the 3-D active-shutter glasses and 3-D displays.

With the M-3DI standard, the participants in the standards process want to bring the appeal of 3-D entertainment to a wider audience. While the new standard currently uses only infrared communication technology, radio communications will be considered for the next step of standards development.

Panasonic is a major manufacturer of 3-D TV receivers and production hardware. XPAND makes Universal 3-D Glasses, which can be programmed to work with all 3-D TV brands and models, computers, gaming consoles and theaters. More than 3500 3-D-compatible theaters in more than 50 countries currently use the glasses.

“M-3DI eliminates confusion, provides a strong, uniform performance standard and ensures that manufacturers can concentrate on innovation and consumers can count on interoperability,” said Maria Costeira, XPAND CEO.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is also proposing that industry players create a universal standard for 3-D glasses. However, the group has not had much success. Industry insiders see the future of the proposed M-3DI standard without support from such large manufacturers as LG Electronics, Samsung, Sony and many others as problematic.

Licensing of M-3DI technology will begin next month.