Vendors develop universal 3-D glasses

Because those quirky glasses continue to be the biggest single issue to widespread adoption of 3-D television among the average consumer, several vendors are attempting to build glasses that will work with any brand of 3-D TV set. It just makes sense.

Indeed, current 3-D TVs carry a unique problem. Only glasses built by a certain manufacturer will work with that manufacturer’s 3-D TV set. Therefore, Samsung’s glasses won’t work with a Panasonic 3-D set. This has prevented third parties from making cheaper glasses to keep prices lower.

Now however, some solutions are coming to market that claim to have solved the incompatibility problem. Monster Cable’s Vision Max 3-D glasses promise universal compatibility with all 3-D TVs. That’s the good news. The bad news is the prices are high, and you’ll need a base station to make it work. For example, a Monster base station ($250) transmits shutter sync information to a single pair of glasses. Extra glasses cost $170 each. The system ships in September.

Monster’s solution is billed as the world’s first and only universal wireless 3-D eyewear “shutter system.” That means the glasses will operate across all brands of 3-D receivers. It works using active sync technology that allows the wireless transmitter to listen to the signal from any 3-D-enabled flat-panel display.

The transmitter then wirelessly decodes the shutter signals and transmits them to a sensor embedded in the glasses. Through this 2.4GHz RF connection, coupled with interference rejection software and sync correction, the Monster 3-D glasses receive the proper information to watch the 3-D programming.

Taking a different approach to the incompatibility issue is XpanD, a manufacturer of 3-D glasses for several of the 3-D TV set vendors. The company has introduced its X103 universal glasses, which are designed to work with a wide range of TV sets from different manufacturers.

“The main problem with display-linked active glasses lies within the incapability to use these glasses with a 3-D TV that is manufactured by another brand,” said Ami Dror, XpanD chief strategy officer. “While we support TV manufacturers by manufacturing glasses for them, we are also requested by the same manufacturers to sell universal active glasses that will work with all the modern 3-D TVs.

“TV retailers cannot maintain 15 different models of glasses to support 15 different TV brands, rental AV companies cannot do it, and even 3-D broadcasters ask for a universal pair of glasses that they can provide their 3-D channel subscribers,” Dror said.

The X103 active 3-D glasses use a fast-switching liquid crystal cell know as “pi-cell.” The X103 glasses should be available this summer and are said to cost between $125 and $150 each.