Vincent Chang's Blog

Vincent Chang male Former Senior Tech Writer

Vincent has written enough about tech to know that he doesn't know enough about tech. But that's not keeping him from going jargon-heavy about processors and mobos. After all, "you can't stop the signal".

One 3D Glass for All?

Tim Burton's latest movie, Alice in Wonderland came blazing out of the blocks recently, topping the box office in the U.S for the past two weekends. It's also shown in 3D, which only adds fuel to those who are predicting the explosive growth of 3D this year. While we have no doubts that 3D in theaters will continue to flourish - the upcoming Clash of Titans is another 3D title - the state of 3D TVs, the big thing this year in consumer electronics, is harder to predict.

The major companies involved, like Panasonic, Samsung and Sony have announced their plans and by June, there should be quite a few models in the market. Sony too has done an excellent job in showcasing the potential of stereoscopic 3D, especially at the recent IT Show 2010, where it had a special booth setup with 3D projectors to allow visitors a glimpse of the technology. It's all very well-done but when it comes to the TVs, the glasses are the big worry.

Not only do consumers have to fork out extra for the glasses, estimated to be around US$150 per pair, there's the matter of how the different vendors have their own implementations that are likely incompatible. So one cannot just bring their own glasses if they are visiting a friend's place to watch a 3D movie. That I believe, will hold back the development of this segment. 

Fortunately, there are companies who are trying to bridge the gap. Since the technology used by the TV manufacturers (active shutter glasses) is broadly similar, it shouldn't be that difficult to make glasses that work on all of them. Xpand, which has been making 3D glasses for a while now, has plans for universal active shutter glasses that will even work on the major TV sets, including NVIDIA's 3D Vision.

This could just be what the industry needs to spur more adoption and perhaps even a future standard on how these things work. Of course, that depends on whether TV vendors will allow such third-party glasses to work with their TVs. For their sake, I sincerely hope so.

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