3D Glasses Standard: Too Little Too Late?

Yesterday, Panasonic and Xpand, makers of mostly commercial active-shutter 3D glasses, announced a standard synchronization protocol for this type of eyewear called M-3DI. The new standard is intended to improve compatibility between 3D TVs and home projectors, computers, and digital cinema, a problem that has plagued the current 3D marketplace since its inception over a year ago.

M-3DI uses infrared (IR) signaling to facilitate bidirectional communication between the glasses and display, though radio-frequency (RF) is being considered for a future version. The glasses detect the make and model of the display and operate accordingly, and users can adjust parameters such as transition time and dark interval—the time during which both lenses are closed—to address issues such as ghosting and brightness. These adjustments are made using a computer or an app on a handheld device.

Other companies have signed on to support M-3DI, including Mitsubishi, Seiko Epson, SIM2, ViewSonic, and Funai, which distributes Philips TVs in the US. Conspicuously absent from this list are the likes of Samsung, Sony, Sharp, LG, and Vizio, though LG and Vizio seem to be pinning their 3D hopes on the passive-polarized approach, which makes active-shutter glasses irrelevant.

According to Xpand, licensing will begin next month, and the fee will be "a few cents per unit," which shouldn't add anything to the price of a finished product. The stated goals are to make the 3D experience simpler for the consumer, accelerate the adoption of 3D in the home and commercial cinema, and promote the superior quality of active-shutter 3D. Among the scenarios mentioned in the press release is being able to use a single pair of glasses with different brands of TVs and in commercial Xpand-based 3D theaters, of which the company claims there are some 3500 worldwide—but few of them are in the US, so this isn't such a big deal here.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) recently began soliciting proposals for a 3D active-glasses standard, and M-3DI is certain to be among them. But is this too little too late? And even if the CEA develops a standard—be it based on M-3DI or something else—will all manufacturers adopt it? I have my doubts. If the industry was shortsighted enough to launch 3D without such a standard in the first place, it's not likely to embrace it now.

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uavSeanbenn's picture

These company's are ruining 3d period. I have 2 kids, so at $100 to 150 a pair that's $400 to $600 for glasses. I'm not counting the ones that come with some TVs because they don't all include glasses. I had the opportunity to demo Vizio's new passive 65inch tv. I was surprised the 3d was not bad and the loss of resolution wasn't as bad as I have read. You can see some jaggies and I can tell that it's not full HD. I however i tv shop all the time even Though I don't get to buy them all the time. To the average consumer they will not be able to tell a huge difference. The manufactures expect me to buy new glasses every time I buy a new TV? I think not!! Maybe they think I will just get the same brand tv instead of the better tv because I have the glasses already. NO!!

I dont even want to talk about this exclusive crap they have going! Stupid!! I currently have a Samsung LED DLP 67" tv and I refuse to buy the $500 3d adapter with 2 glasses. Plus 2 more sets for another $200!! I want 3d and currently am buying 3d blue rays instead of regular when they come out and don't cost much more.y plan is to get a 65" plus tv when they finally decide to stop ripping everyone off with their prices. Come on you can get a 55inch for $2800 but add 10" and $2000 more?? Check the prices of 3d movies any time other than release week!! $40+ bucks come on!!
There's my rant sorry!!

David Vaughn's picture

So much for JVC huh? Regardless, my ship has sailed already and I own 4 pairs of glasses.

Scott Wilkinson's picture
I didn't see JVC anywhere in the press release or news items about this, so it must not be part of the initial group, either. No matter for you; I doubt the new glasses will be backward-compatible with existing 3D displays, so you'll have to use the glasses you've got in any event.

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