Is 3D Getting Easier?
New technologies promise to improve the glasses-wearing experience.
January 05, 2011 by Lisa Montgomery

Toshiba is on to something. Last night the company demonstrated a TV that displays movies in 3D … without requiring viewers to wear glasses. Although the quality wasn’t exactly perfect, I have to admit that I felt a lot less foolish watching this 3D demo than I have in the past. The ZigBee Alliance has announced that it, too, is working on a better, friendlier 3D solution. Currently, most 3D glasses receive signals from the 3D TV via infrared. It works, but only if you are directly in front of the screen.

That’s because infrared signals travel line of sight. If you move off the signal path, the connection between the TV and glasses is lost. ZigBee’s 3D Sync technology, by comparison, will employ radio frequency (RF) as it communication medium, which will allow for more flexible and efficient connections between 3D TVs and 3D glasses. Those wearing glasses can roam around the room and experience no disruption of the 3D game or movie. The technology will also preclude interference caused by ambient light sources.

Plus, 3D Sync will allow users to switch automatically between 2D and 3D video feeds.

The standard will deliver smarter functionality for 3D devices, including support for:
• Multi-vendor 3D glasses interoperability
• Fully programmable display frame rates and shutter open/close times
• Unlimited number of glasses
• Multiple user experience modes, for seamless switching between 3D and 2D
• Multi-player (full screen) 2D gaming, where each player receives a separate 2D image
• Multi-player 3D gaming, where each player receives a separate 3D image
• Frequency agility for interference avoidance

“When complete, ZigBee 3D Sync will help CE manufacturers deliver the best possible 3D experience for consumers,” said Bob Heile, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance.

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Lisa Montgomery - Contributing Writer
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.

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