3D pioneers strive for universal glasses

Posted by Mike Luttrell

As consumers become understandably frustrated at the direction of the home 3D market, three companies are working to set new standards.

Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony are hammering out a blueprint for universal 3D glasses that will work on any of their 3D TVs. That is to say that not only will the process of buying 3D glasses be much easier, but the cost should come way down.

Today, active shutter 3D glasses can cost as much as $200, and if you have a Samsung TV, for example, you must buy Samsung-branded glasses.

By setting up universal standards, third-party manufacturers can come in and make their own glasses as well. An early player in this market, Xpand 3D, is also involved in the Sony/Panasonic/Samsung discussions. Xpand, which currently makes custom, themed 3D glasses for movie theaters and other special displays, has been trying to break into the home market for months, so it is the potential big winner here.

Since the introduction of the first 3D TV last year by Samsung, the market has widely increased. But it has kind of been a horizontal expansion rather than a vertical one - that is to say, almost every other 3D device on the market uses a different form of technology, so instead of building up the 3D market, it's just becoming more muddled, confusing space.

Even with the new standard, the universal glasses will only apply to active 3D TV sets; other companies like LG use a completely different form of 3D technology and it would be impossible to include those sets in a universal standard.