/ Technology

“Universal” 3D TV glasses? About time too

Panasonic, Samsung and Sony, with the help of 3D-tech experts at Xpand, have announced they’ll be working together to create active shutter 3D glasses to work on all of their 2011 and future 3D TVs. Isn’t that nice?

What would have been nicer is if they’d sat together a year ago with the end consumer already in their minds.

But it seems that whenever rival manufacturers get caught up in a race to market, all of us, with our silly future-proof compatibility concerns, get overlooked.

Active shutter 3D glasses

3D TVs need glasses for them to work and there are two different types of technology at play here: active shutter 3D, from the likes of Panasonic, Sony, Samsung and LG; and passive 3D, currently only available from the LG stable.

Active shutter 3D glasses require power and a means to communicate with your 3D TV. And since the first 3D TV was sold in UK last April, we’ve seen Bluetooth, infrared and radio frequency used as the wireless method of communication.

Judging by the recent announcement, these new “universal” 3D glasses due to launch next year, are likely to be able to receive all three signals. And Bluetooth will likely become the preferred standard over time.

Better late than never, I suppose

This particular cross-compatibility issue is unlikely to directly affect many people, as the uptake of 3D TV hasn’t exactly been rapid. What’s more, the number of people who have actually bought two or more 3D TVs is likely to be very small. Though I can see that it could be handy to take your glasses round to a friend’s house and use them on their TV.

What the issue highlights, however, is that so many companies work in isolation of each other to the detriment of us, the consumer.

It’s understandable that manufacturers want to protect their designs and intellectual property; and locking consumers into their technology and services obviously has financial benefits. But all us consumers want is simple interoperability. Is that really asking too much?

The consumer technology show, IFA, opens in Berlin at the beginning of next month, where we expect to see these new “universal” 3D glasses on show. We’ll be reporting live from the event, so keep an eye out for the latest news on 3D TVs, tablets and smartphones.

Phil says:
13 August 2011

“..the uptake of 3D TV hasn’t exactly been rapid.”

You’re a master of understatement Ben. The industry needs to develop a system which doesn’t cause eyestrain, nausea and headaches and then provide some decent content before worrying about compatible glasses.

Oh dear, how are these companies going to rip off the UK consumer now ? I bet they’ll agree to standardise on the glasses then agree to fix an insane price ( for the uk market ). I h8 living in RipOff Britain.

Universal 3D glasses are not going to encourage research and development for improved 3D systems is it ?

Unless you are changing your TV every year or two and/or have multiple 3D TVs in the house then as has been stated the requirement for universal systems is very low.l

aman kumar says:
21 December 2011

I liked the idea of using polarised glasses instead of heavy battery operated glasses. Makes 3D TV fun, again.

3D TV and partial blindness.

I wonder if somebody with sight in one eye only see a 3D effect on 3D TV?

I have binocular vision and can’t see the 3D effect. I was told by the Optition that it was because I did not view the picture with both eyes at the same time.