XPAND 3D is a brand name of a system for presenting three-dimensional films in a digital cinema, home theater, video games and other applications. XPAND utilizes active-shutter 3D glasses. The company is the only current purveyor of active-shutter glass 3D for movie theaters with over 5000 cinemas currently using this technology.
The XPAND 3D system is arranged to alternately flash the images for each eye at high speed. The viewer wears electronic glasses whose LCD lenses alternate between clear and opaque to admit only the correct image at the correct time for each eye. An invisible infrared signal is broadcast in the auditorium which is picked up by electronics in the glasses to synchronize the shutter effect.
Advantages and disadvantages for cinema use
The active LC shutter technology does not require a silver screen and the uneven illumination issues they bring. However, the glasses are much more costly and must be recycled and sanitized for reuse rather than given out as disposable. Some theaters use anti-theft technologies to deter patrons from walking out with the glasses, however the vendor of the anti-theft devices will not guarantee their operation due to interference within the glasses themselves. The glasses contain small batteries which must be replaced periodically. As with any active electronic device, sometimes they simply fail.
In August 2011 Panasonic, Samsung and Sony along with X6D Limited (XpanD's parent) announced an agreement called the "Full HD 3D Glasses Initiative" to develop the XpanD technology to create a standard for 3D glasses on consumer products including televisions, computers and projectors. Previously the companies had their own standards for 3D glasses and they were incompatible with each other. The press release in the announcement said, "Universal glasses with the new IR/RF protocols will be made available in 2012, and are targeted to be backward compatible with 2011 3D active TVs."
- "S3D to get CES showcase - XPAND making aggressive moves in the market", Jan. 1, 2010
- "The best is yet to come: 3D technology continues to evolve and win audience approval", Jan. 1, 2010
- The Manufacturers Are Finally Standardizing 3D Glasses…Together at Gizmodo.com