A 3D equipped television can have one of two types of technologies in play: either it uses a polarized screen or it alternates the physical image being seen so that each of a person’s eyes sees a slightly different image. In either case, a pair of 3D glasses are needed to be worn.
An “active” pair of 3D glasses (i.e., liquid crystal) requires both batteries and electronics in order to function. This results in a more bulky and heavier frame than that of a pair of polarized 3D glasses. As a result of the electronics, the placement of controls becomes an issue, as is the technology in play to “sync” the glasses with the TV. This can be infrared or radio-frequency (RF). Each type of technology has its advantages/disadvantages, but it’s not something that the owner of the 3D capable TV is allowed to decide on his own. This is due to the TV’s manufacturer deciding on how the 3D capable TV will sync to the glasses and, as a result of this, 3D glasses made by that same manufacturer are designated as being “needed” in order to watch the 3D image. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that these 3D glasses will be priced according to how the TV manufacturer wishes.
Enter third party 3D glasses. Or to be more specific, NextGen’s 3D Active Glasses for TV. Designed to work with nominal 3D capable TV using RF signals (Bluetooth, to be accurate), the $79 retail cost is provides a straightforward path to viewing 3D content on sets such as from Sony, Sharp, Toshiba , LG and others. But it’s how well it works with a 3D equipped TV that I want to see — not to mention how comfortable a fit it has seated on my face over time.
Holding the NextGen 3D Active Glasses for TV in your hands, you’ll find, as I did, that it’s a bit of a throwback in appearance to the 1950’s — at least that is how I see it amidst the realm of glasses wearing folks like Buddy Holly and the like (and me as a young kid). I’m not concerned about “looks” as some might be — these 3D glasses are designed for home use, not for being taken out to a movie theater, and the constructions is thus quite solid. This extends to the frames of the glasses, which are sturdy and which yield with a bit of resistance. All of which is good since it signifies that they’ll stay on my face without having to be constantly readjusted.
A tip I found out later — if you’re the only one who will be wearing these, put some nose pads bought from a drugstore, etc. On the bridge to give a more cushioned feeling. NexGen supplies two nose guards to use with the glasses, but getting your own is recommended since this gives you more choices as to how it will feel.
The first thing that needs to be done is to charge up the rechargeable battery. Like most battery-equipped 3D glasses, a partial charge is not suggested as it increases the chance of the sync getting lost during the transmission (a minor chance, but still one nonetheless). The micro-USB slot is found on the bottom edge at the side of the frame and uses the included USB cable. Whether you connect this to a computer or a USB-cum-AC charger, be prepared to give it a good 4 hours the first time so the battery can really soak up the juice. In general, I found that the NextGen 3D Active Glasses for TV require a bit more charging time than some of the other third party “active” 3D glasses out there, but on the up side you’re getting close to 50 hours of playing time (I left it on once just to check overnight and it still had plenty of juice the next AM).
To use the NextGen 3D Active Glasses for TV with the 3D capable TV, you follow a few steps in a precise order. You don’t have to worry about the TV since its emitter is active when you’ve set it for 3D viewing (apparently some TV’s emitters are always active). Another advantage is that the RF signal is one that is not influenced by line-of-sight to where you have to be concerned to stand in an exact spot in front of the TV when activating it (or using it). In my case, I’m seated about 10 feet away from one of the two 3D capable TV’s that I tried the NextGen 3D Active Glasses for TV out with (both having “active” RF technology in place of course).
The actual procedure to sync the glasses is pretty straightforward: Press and hold in the power button at the top left side of the frame for a second until the blue LED blinks a few times. You can leave this button alone until you want to turn the glasses off (hold it in until the light blinks 3 times). Now you press the other button on the frame that is next to the power button. Hold this button in until the blue LED blinks rapidly — those who are used to pairing Bluetooth devices will know what I mean — and wait as the NextGen 3D Active Glasses for TV seeks out the signal from the TV. Once it handshakes the TV, the light will go out. And the glasses are synced. This does not have to be repeated each time you turn it on either. On the rare occasion the light starts to blink intermittently, it means you need to turn it off and then turn it on and try again. This can happen if you are much too far away from the set or there’s some kind of interference happening or the battery charge is very low. I n my case the NextGen 3D Active Glasses for TV synced every time I tried it with both of the test TVs.
Using the NextGen 3D Active Glasses for TV is no different than that of any other pair of 3D “active” glasses (with the exception of those that totally cover your head and so block light out completely). The view is clear, providing you’ve cleaned the lenses with a soft cloth after having blown off any dust or junk from the surface. The light transmission will seem to have been cut by about a third, but that’s normal for these kind of 3D glasses, not just the NextGen 3D Active Glasses for TV specifically.
As noted earlier, the “chunky” frame translates into a support that does not move around as you watch. There is a little strain on the bridge of the nose while wearing these — most evident after about an hour of viewing — but it’s not an unusual occurrence. Nor is it a deal breaker for wearing them. Not that you shouldn’t take breaks now and then when wearing any 3D “active” glasses, in order to be on the safe side and give your eyes a chance to relax.
Bottom line: The NextGen 3D Active Glasses for TV works and work well. They may not be the prettiest 3D “active” glasses on the market, but they are certainly dependable and don’t peter out after 2 movies have been played. Those looking for a dependable pair of 3D glasses without having to go with a brand name that matches that of their 3D “active” TV will find no fault here.
- “Active” 3D capable TV compatible
- Sturdy design
- Bridge of nose can pinch after worn for some time
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.