3DTV Glasses for Different Sets Found Compatible

Samsung and Panasonic specs appear interchangeable-- sort of...

MULTIPLE CITIES: Active-shutter glasses for the multiview 3DTVs hitting the market now are considered exclusive to specific sets, but that may not be the case. The folks at Tech Radar reported this week that the glasses that come with Samsung and Panasonic 3DTV sets are interchangeable--to a degree.

“I successfully enjoyed 3DTV on a Panasonic model with upside-down Samsung glasses, and vice versa,” wrote Steve May for TR’s Home Cinema Choice vertical. “Admittedly it wasn’t a very comfortable experience, and you do look stupider than normal trying it, but heck, this is what we’ve all been reduced to.”

May doesn’t say what possessed him to put the specs on upside down. He does say he contacted Samsung’s head of research and development, Simon Lee, who confirmed the phenomenon. It seems the two companies employed reversed versions of similar lenses.

Chris Boylan at Big Picture Big Sound said the seeming compatibility of the glasses may have more to do with how 3DTVs work.

“The truth is that Samsung glasses will ‘work’ with Panasonic 3D TVs even right side up, if you understand how the technology works and know which settings on the 3D TV are important,” he said. “But even so, this doesn’t make them compatible.”

Boylan said the glasses worked in May’s case because the 3DTV sets he used were flashing the dual images precisely opposite of one another. He explains that active-shutter 3D glasses work by rapidly closing and opening so that each eye sees a distinct view, creating the illusion of 3D. If the multiview images on either of the tested 3DTV sets would have been slightly out of phase, he said the shutter glasses would not have been interchangeable without phase correction.

The glasses also wouldn’t have worked without wireless activation from their respective 3DTV sets, Boylan points out. E.g., they still won’t work at the neighbor’s Super Bowl party. Samsung and Panasonic also use different color filters in the lenses, so images wouldn’t appear as they were intended.

The underlying issue is the lack of a standard for 3DTV active-shutter glasses. The 3DTV sets being introduced now typically either come with only one pair, and extras cost another $150. BPBS notes that XpanD of Los Angeles, is working on a “universal” pair of spectacles that would work with 3DTVs from LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony. These XpanD X103 active-shutter glasses are expected to hit stores in June.
-- Deborah D. McAdams