June 25, 2010
| by Julie Jacobson
How do Monster’s new RF-enabled “universal” 3D glasses really work?
They’re handy for spaces with multiple televisions or where line-of-sight is an issue. But they’re likely to suffer from skewed coloring since different manufacturers calibrate their 3D TVs and tint their glasses differently.
That’s the verdict of HD Guru Gary Merson, who tried out the specs earlier this week and visited with officials from both Monster Cable and Bit Cauldron, developer of the technology.
Bit Cauldron demonstrated its RF synchronization technology for the first time during CES 2010.
The company utilizes IEEE 802.15.4 radios and ZigBee technology to keep glasses in sync with the TV, even if the user turns away from the screen or an interloper disrupts the line of sight – common issues that can create flicker with today’s typical IR-based 3D solutions.
Monster Cable seems to be the first major coup for Bit Cauldron, which secured over $1 million of series AA funding in March of this year.
Monster’s implementation of the technology is Monster Vision Max 3D (MVM3D), comprising a ZigBee-enabled RF transmitter and compatible glasses.
Merson, who recently declared there’s no such thing as “universal” 3D glasses because of the way manufacturers tint their lenses, says Monster can’t escape the issue with its glasses, even though they apparently use a neutral tint:
On the technical side, the Bit Caldron design uses shutters made from linear polarized material. Monster claims it uses a neutral tint, as opposed to slightly green tint on the Samsung and Mitsubishi branded glasses or yellow, like the Sony and Panasonic glasses. This will result in a skewing of color if you have your 3D TV adjusted to its factory glasses, i.e. images will be too blue when viewing a Panasonic 3D through the MVM3D glasses. If Monster 3D glasses are not mixed with another brand, one should be able to compensate for the skewed color via the TVs user controls.
The Monster Vision system accommodates two pairing modes, according to Merson. In the “dating” mode, the RF glasses pick up the sync signals from the nearest Monster Vision transmitter. In the “married” mode glasses are, well, united in wedlock with a single TV.
In a space where there are multiple 3D TVs from the same manufacturer, the Monster Vision glasses will want to play the field, roaming from screen to screen.
However, where disparate brands are displayed side by side, for example in an A/V showroom, dealers will want to marry Monster Vision specs to a single set.
If that’s the case, why not just use each manufacturer’s original IR glasses? Because multiple 3D TVs blasting IR signals in a tight space isn’t good for business.
The Monster Vision Max 3D kit will ship in September with one pair of glasses and an IR-to-RF transmitter. Retail price for the kit is $250, with additional glasses selling for $170.
For a more in-depth early review of the glasses, visit HDGuru.com.
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.