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3D Glasses Incompatibility Solved: Wear Them Upside Down

Gordon Kelly


3D Glasses Incompatibility Solved: Wear Them Upside Down

Here's something to illustrate just how frustrating - and quite frankly silly - the current situation is regarding 3D glasses for the first generation of 3D HDTVs...

Home Cinema Choice has managed to make 3D glasses between two different brands compatible... by wearing them upside down. Yes people, we're not joking. To explain this properly you're going to need some context. In short: the vast majority of 3D HDTVs will use Active shutter technology (there are exceptions) and this places much of the image processing inside the glasses meaning they are packed full of tech, quite heavy and cost in the region of £100. Not great.

Even more frustrating is every company making Active 3D televisions is using a slightly different variation of the technology making their 3D glasses incompatible with other brands. Sony 3D glasses will only work with Sony 3D TVs, Panasonic with Panasonic, Samsung with Samsung, LG with LG, etc.

Except, as Home Cinema Choice has learned, that isn't entirely true. It turns out that the Active 3D technologies are actually very close variants of one another and Samsung and Panasonic glasses are so similar they can work with one another when worn upside down. The reason for this is simply the two companies fit their otherwise identical polarising lenses the opposite way round meaning you can wear Samsung 3D glasses upside down and watch a Panasonic 3D TV or wear Panasonic 3D glasses upside down and watch a Samsung 3D TV.

Amusing as this is, it does highlight the ridiculous nature of incompatibilities in first generation 3D televisions. If the manufacturers had thought to discuss 3D openly for just a moment, they could easily have made a few tweaks and produced an Active 3D glasses industry standard therefore avoiding today's farcical situation.

"I think that it’s likely that the different manufacturers will come together, possibly as early as next year, to agree a common standard for Active Shutter glasses," admitted Samsung R&D chief Simon Lee to Home Cinema Choice.

Good news, but isn't hindsight a wonderful thing...


Via Home Cinema Choice


May 5, 2010, 7:29 pm

{Sigh.} Unbelievable.

Anyway, with a mild format war going on Gordon, d'you think it likely that the industry will soon quash passive 3D and the prospect of twopenny glasses with it?


May 5, 2010, 7:59 pm

@3DTV Manufacturers: F*CK OFF!

{@TR: Sorry, am I misbehavin'?}


May 5, 2010, 8:05 pm

Didn't they learn anything from the whole Blu Ray / HD DVD fiasco?


May 5, 2010, 8:43 pm

So if they spoke to each other and put the lenses in the same side each they would be compatible =/

To me it seems like a major error in their companies, especially when it comes to the consumer.

I mean of course no company would ever purposely make something like these in order to ruin a consumers experiences so they buy their own product and make more money would they.......


May 5, 2010, 11:17 pm

*Smug mode on*

My left eye doesn't work properly so I can't see 3D - leaving me to not care one bit about this!


May 5, 2010, 11:29 pm

@GoldenGuy I suspect Active 3D will still be the format of choice, but a standard will be agreed upon next year (whether it will work on 3D TVs already on the market is uncertain) and the price for the glasses will come down dramatically as third parties get involved.


May 6, 2010, 12:00 am



Made me laugh that's for sure, can't say im all into 3D anyway until TV is actually in full HD, and games are actually in full HD (apart from PC games as they have been there for years) then i will start thinking about it.


May 6, 2010, 1:19 am

You've hit the nail on the head there Gordon. Rinse the 1st-gen early adopter with proprietary glasses before they become commoditsed. Still, one born every minute, eh?


May 6, 2010, 3:34 am

I'm not interested in 3D tv anyway, what a waste of money!

Hans Gruber

May 6, 2010, 5:47 am

"Samsung and Panasonic glasses are so similar they can work with one another when worn upside down..."

Why not just turn the telly upside down instead? Then you wouldn't have to look an even bigger t*t with your glasses on the wrong way up. :D


May 6, 2010, 11:01 am

Not surprising, it's like this with every new technology. Personally I think the whole 3D thing is overrated, and having seen a few cinema flicks (like Avatar) both with and without 3D, I really don&#8217t think it&#8217s *that* amazing. And I won&#8217t be sitting with those ridiculous-looking glasses on my couch any time soon! At best it&#8217s a stop-gap until real 3D tech available, namely holographic projection or something even better.

Charm El Snake

May 6, 2010, 11:54 am

It makes me laugh - every time there is a 3DTV article on TrustedReviews, all the people who have no interest in 3D start posting comments, telling everyone that they have no interest, and suggesting that anyone that is interested is a mug.

Come on - there is a huge amount of tech that gets reviewed on this site that, whilst interesting, is not going to be bought by many people, but should we all start posting comments telling the world that we won't be buying one?

Selfish, idiotic manufacturers doesn't mean the 3DTV format is any less unworthy, it just means they should co-ordinate and plan things better.


May 6, 2010, 1:33 pm

@Charm El Snake:


I, for one, am excited by the prospect of 3D in my home - especially the potential for games.

Of course not creating a unified glasses standard might mean more profits for individual manufacturers in the short term, but I think it's already hurt them in the long run...


May 6, 2010, 1:38 pm

Isn't the point of active shuttering that the lens over your right eye is blacked out when the TV screen is showing an image intended for your left eye, and vice versa? If this is how they work, then why should the lenses be polarised at all? I had thought that the active systems (like in the cinema) were the ones which worked with images polarised at right angles to each other. Are you sure the reason that turning them upside down works is not because you are reversing which image each eye receives by shifting the syncronisation?

As an aside, in the foyer of a cinema the other day, I happened to see a TV which displayed 3d without requiring ANY glasses. I'm not too sure how it worked, and it was only displaying CGI adverts, and it did require that you stand in one of a number of sweet spots to get the effect, but I found this MUCH more exciting than the 3d tech which is now being marketed. The display was also capable of showing ordinary 2d stuff in between the 3d content, without any obvious drawback.


May 6, 2010, 2:25 pm

Who actually cares what they look like when watching tv in their own home?


May 6, 2010, 2:49 pm

Yeah Im also much more interested in glasses free tech like bluepork. I understand the limited viewing angles could be a huge issue in the living room but what about a PC monitor? Is there any on the horizon using such tech? The viewing angles wouldn't be an issue (unless they really are terrible)so it's the best place to start the technology.

Ive dabbled in the cheap (crap) version of 3D with some games and its proper hit and miss. AvP would make you sick where as L4D2 works well and GTA 4 (apart from some graphic errors) is utterly incredible. I do see some sort of future for it but the glasses are a sticker for me, I don't want them.


May 6, 2010, 8:41 pm

does it really matter tho? its not as if many will have 2 3dtv's from 2 different manufacturers and only one pair of glasses just get the glasses that suit the telly,job done.

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