XPAND has announced that its new Universal X103 3D glasses are available for pre-order on Amazon. Priced at $129, they cost less than some of the glasses available from the 3DTV manufacturers, but are designed to work with “any 3D-ready display, regardless of brand” according to the company. (I do not have every brand of 3DTV available to me here, so I have not had the opportunity to test the accuracy of this claim.)
Note that these only work with 3DTVs that require active glasses. This means that the left and right images are presented one after the other, and the glasses are used to block the image from reaching one eye or the other in sync with the display. The advantage of this approach is that you get full resolution images; sets that use the passive polarized glasses that you use at the local cinema only deliver half the resolution because each image is split between the left and right eye. At the present, it costs much more to manufacture a passive-glasses 3DTV, and as far as I know, there are not yet any on the market in this country. Some companies — such as Vizio — have demonstrated products using this approach. I do expect sets requiring passive glasses to show up before the end of the year, however.
Unless the passive-glasses 3D sets can lower their production costs significantly, however, I expect that you’ll be able to buy an active-glasses set and a family-pack of active glasses for less money. And the XPAND glasses can help ease the minds of consumers, keeping them from getting locked into one specific brand for their 3DTV purchases.
I still think it’s too early to buy a 3DTV — wait another year or two for the content to catch up — but if you really want to get one this holiday season, be sure to consider the XPAND glasses as a way to save some money and hedge your bet on the 3DTV brand.