The entertainment industry might have its panties in a bunch over 3D technology, but so far consumers still seem wary, with sales of 3D-capable HDTVs and 3D content perhaps generously described as lukewarm. Part of the hurdle for consumers might be the hassles of those big, bulky, clunky, awkward 3D glasses: 3D shutter glasses from a Sony 3D television don’t work with a system from Panasonic, and neither of those systems work with (say) the Nvidia 3D Vision technology buyers might have been considering for a gaming PC. And while most sets come with a pair or two of shutter glasses, extra pairs are pricey.
Now, leading electronics companies Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and Xpand 3D have announced a new “Full HD 3D Glasses Initiative” that aims to create joint licensing for existing Bluetooth and IR-controlled 3D shutter glasses so glasses can be compatible across a wide range of 3D displays—including TVs, computers, projectors, and 3D theaters.
Existing 3D glasses use a variety of technologies and protocols to communicate with 3D displays: Panasonic and Sony currently use technology that relies on infrared transmission (like remote controls) where Samsung currently uses Bluetooth-based technology to handle its 3D glasses. The Bluetooth SIG is backing the initiative, and the industry has generally been eyeing Bluetooth solutions to provide greater range and freedom of movement.
The group aims to create a new, licensable technology standard for 3D glasses that can be used by a variety of manufacturers, but that will also provide backward compatibility for 3D shutter glass technologies in the companies’ 2011 product lines. Samsung and Sony will be contributing their proprietary protocols to the group, and the IR protocol developed by Panasonic and Xpand 3D will also be in the mix. As a result, the new “universal” glasses will be compatible with current products from those companies that use their protocols.
Although there’s no word on whether other consumer electronics and 3D technology developers will embrace the standard, there’s still a bit of time to get on board: the group hopes the first products using the “universal” protocols will start to reach the market in 2012.