Universal 3D glasses coming in 2012

Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, Xpand 3D collaborating on universal 3D glasses standard

Panasonic, Samsung and Sony are collaborating on a universal standard for 3D TV glasses, working with XPAND 3D to bring out active-shutter glasses that will work on several kinds of 3D TVs from each of the brands. Production of the new all-in-one glasses, which will incorporate several radio frequency (RF) and infrared (IR) standards used in superseded and current 3D TVs, will begin in September this year. Universally compatible glasses should be available for consumers to purchase sometime in 2012.

Panasonic and XPAND 3D have previously joined forces to develop a 3D TV glasses standard between various companies including Panasonic, Hisense, Changhong, Epson and ViewSonic. Samsung and Sony, however, have continued development of proprietary specifications and communications for their 3D LED and plasma television models.

The new 3D glasses standard will use a variant of the Bluetooth communication protocol, allowing users to move away from the line of sight of a 3D television without the glasses losing synchronisation. Samsung already uses the Bluetooth protocol in its 2011 range of 3D TVs.

Price is still a barrier to 3D adoption. Active shutter glasses can cost between $100 and $200 for a single pair, although LG's Cinema 3D uses passive 3D glasses that cost only $19 for two pairs. It is likely that the universal standard will drive prices down as all-in-one models are stocked by competing retailers. Similarly, 3D Blu-ray players and 3D Blu-ray movies come at a price premium often around 30 per cent higher than non-3D products.

According to PC World, a December report from Nielsen said that 59 per cent of US survey respondants were "definitely not interested" in buying a 3D TV. Analyst firm SNL Kagan also forecasted that by the end of 2011, only 2 per cent of US households would own 3D TVs. However, a DisplaySearch report said that 3D LCD panel shipments grew by 104 per cent in the first three months of 2011.

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Campbell Simpson

Campbell Simpson

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