Panasonic, Xpand 3D Propose a Standard for Active 3D Glasses

The initiative is designed to promote acceptance of 3D-ready TVs and computers.

Panasonic and Xpand 3D has introduced new technology that the companies hope could bring compatibility between the 3D glasses used for different brands of 3DTVs, computers, home projectors and cinema projection.

Currently, all 3D glasses are not the same. And that can be a hassle for consumers.

With this in mind, Panasonic and Xpand have introduced M-3DI technology, which they believe has the potential to become a future standard for 3D active shutter eyewear. They also believe this initiative could help to accelerate penetration of 3D ready devices.

There has been plenty of discussion in professional circles about the notion of universal eyewear to simplify 3D for the consumers. However there are a lot of moving parts involved in creating a standard. There is also always the potential for a format war if stakeholders are not in agreement.

The Consumer Electronics Association has formed a 3D technologies working group and is currently accepting proposals for an active 3D eyewear standard. The deadline to submit a proposal is March 31. "We already have one that has been submitted," Brian Markwalter, senior vp, research and standards, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Soon there will be at least two.

"We are going to submit (M-3DI) as a proposal," David Chechelashvili, head of Xpand's enterprise division, told THR. "We are hoping CEA accepts our proposal because so many companies are behind it."

Panasonic and Xpand reported that companies that have agreed to participate in supporting M-3DI include Changhong, Funai, Hisense, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Seiko Epson, SIM2 Multimedia and ViewSonic.

Acknowledging that additional 3DTV set makers such as Samsung and Sony are not on this list, Chechelashvili related that they are in discussions with additional manufacturers and "hope they will join."

Xpand actually already offers its own brand of universal active glasses. "This product replaced a standard since there was no standard in the market," Chechelashvili explained. "But standards are necessary in the market, and a standard will kill our universal product."

There are essentially two main types of 3D glasses. Active means that the switching between the left and right eye image is accomplished in the glasses, which require power. Passive glasses don't require batteries; they essentially create 3D by restricting the light that reaches each eye.

"(Active and passive glasses) have different strengths and weaknesses," CEA's Markwalter said. "There have been discussions about standards for passive, but when we started creating the request for proposals, active was the technology that most needed standardization.

"Passive (standards) may be needed as well," he added. "Passive is coming into the (consumer electronics) market pretty quickly."

RealD, for instance, makes active glasses for partner set manufacturers, but is interested in passive systems for the home. Its theatrical system is also passive.

In January, RealD and Samsung Electronics LCD Business said are jointly developing a 3D display technology called RDZ that would be compatible with the same 3D eyewear used in RealD 3D theaters.

Panasonic and Xpand reported that plans are to license the M-3DI technology beginning next month. This technology would essentially provide a communication protocol between 3D active-shutter eyewear and 3DTVs, front projectors, computers and cinema systems (essentially Xpand's active system). The M-3DI participants also aim to organize quality control testing and approval procedures.