New standard aims to make 3D glasses universal

Posted by Mike Luttrell

A new standard for stereoscopic 3D glasses has been proposed.

That means whether you have a Samsung, Panasonic, or Sony 3D TV, you'll be able to buy the same pair of 3D glasses. Until now, consumers have been shoe-horned into buying proprietary glasses made by the same manufacturer as their 3D TV.

The new standard, called M-3DI, is headed up by Panasonic and Xpand 3D. Panasonic is one of the leaders in stereoscopic 3D TVs, while Xpand 3D is a company focused on making 3D glasses. Other companies, including Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Changhong, Seiko Epson, Hisense, SIM2 Multimedia and Viewsonic, have also come on board.

Notably absent from that list are Sony, LG, and the current 3D TV market leader Samsung. Why they would avoid supporting a universal standard is anyone's guess, but most would probably reasonably assume they like the fact that whenever their customers need to buy glasses, they get all the profit from that purchase.

With 3D glasses costing as much as $200, it's not something you want to give up easily. But supporters of the new standard argue it will help to increase 3D TV adoption, which is good for all companies involved.

Nevertheless, the 3D TV market is increasingly muddled. In addition to the lack of cohesion among stereoscopic 3D sets, there are other TVs that use passive 3D technology and plans for others to use the autostereoscopic, or "glasses-free 3D" standard.

Licensing of the M-3DI standard will begin next month.