Fresh from downplaying the impact of glasses-free 3D TV within the next 5 to 10 years, Samsung has announced plans to start selling prescription 3D glasses to be used on Samsung 3D TVs, initially in its home country of South Korea.
Data from a number of surveys have indicated that compulsary 3D eyewear is a major turn-off for consumers thinking about buying a 3D TV. However, claiming that glasses-free (also known technically as autostereoscopic) 3D technology – in its present form – suffers from some inherent flaws that make it unsuitable for use on large-screen 3D TV sets, Samsung is ploughing on with stereoscopic 3D TVs which require viewers to wear compatible 3D glasses before they can enjoy 3D content on the extra-dimensional displays.
Samsung’s move to start offering 3D glasses that are optically correct may go some way towards broadening its appeal to the four-eyed crowd who no longer need to put an extra pair of 3D glasses over their existing prescription spectacles. In contrast with the prescription 3D offerings from eyewear companies Marchon and Oakley which are of the passive variant (to be used in cinemas or passive 3D TVs in pubs), Samsung’s prescription 3D glasses are active-shutter 3D glasses that work only on the company’s 3DTV sets.
As usual, Samsung is rolling out its prescription 3D glasses in South Korea first, with the possibility of expanding to other countries if sales are encouraging. The ordering process is far from straightforward though. One has to visit a Samsung-approved optometrist who will take a number of optical readings (including one for 3D visual acuity). The results will be forwarded to Samsung’s prescription 3D glasses manufacturing partner who will then start work on making optically accurate prescription lenses to provide the best 3D effects.
A variety of styles are available, and the whole process from consultation with the optometrist to delivery of the finished article takes about one week. No word from Samsung on the price yet, but expect these individually customised prescription 3D glasses to cost substantially more than the standard versions.