There are a growing number of 3D televisions hitting the market, an entertainment platform that is still theoretically in its infancy. With this ever expanding release of product comes an influx of electronics manufactures perfecting and evolving the one most important offshoot this new technology heavily relies on at the moment: Those pesky 3D glasses.

They are a pain to wear, but a necessity until we get that often bragged about, mythical 3D television that doesn't require any glasses at all. The glasses-free 3D television is still a few years away, as the technology hasn't been perfected quite yet. In the meantime, if you want to watch your 3D television, you'll have to succumb to the ear tug, headaches, and overall discomfort that some of these new glasses can provide.

Lately we've been enjoying Panasonic's high-precision, lightweight TY-EW3D2S model of 3D eyewear. These particular shutter specs offer a crisp, though sometimes too dark, picture that is accompanied by ghosting and blurring when we move to far away from the television screen's epicenter. The image these glasses provide can certainly be improved upon, especially in terms of mobility and the angle from which one is clearly able to view the TV.

We like these particular glasses, because they have a very comfortable nose cushion, and the soft rubber frames do not cause much rubbing behind the ear during a weekend-long 3D movie marathon, or another sit through of Avatar in its extended version. Am I happy with these glasses? Sure. Could they provide me with a better viewing experience? Absolutely. But I have yet to come across a pair that suits me better.

Until now.

While I have tried out a few other shutter glasses, the Panasonic TY-EW3D2S model may be hitting that viewing sweet spot simply because we are currently operating from Panasonic's ultra-compatible VT30 Viera 3D TV to watch all of the latest Hollywood has to offer in all of it's theatrical splendor without having to plop down big bucks at the theaters and deal with noisy movie patrons and texting teens. We hook it all up through a Panasonic 3D Blu-ray player with latest in Monster's HDMI cables. It is Avatar that we most often watch when reviewing any new piece of technology or equipment in the 3D home video market, because it is the top of the line in 3D Blu-ray entertainment in terms of its over all technical achievements.

Avatar in 3D

So, we took it for another spin in order to review Monster Cable's new MonsterVision MAX 3D Eyewear System with Active Sync. These particular glasses are important to the marketplace because they claim to be the first universal shutter 3D glasses, and are compatible with any and all 3D televisions on the market. Also, they are able to learn new 3D TVs through the integration of their active shutter technology.

While the actual viewing experience might seem like the most important element in reviewing a set of 3D glasses, the comfort level is slightly more important to us. The thing that stands out most about these particular shades is that they fit quite nicely over my prescription glasses without the sense or feeling of a heavy weight pulling down on the back of my head. Some glasses dig into the skin behind the ear, leaving the area red and swollen after just a few hours of viewing time. I did not experience any discomfort with the MonsterVision MAX when placing them directly over my other glasses.

Without the prescription glasses in the way, I did notice a certain lack of comfort in the nose bridge area. It's suitable enough for short-term use, but the Panasonic glasses have MonsterVision beat in this area. In terms of picture quality though, the MonsterVision eyewear is considerably brighter, and more importantly, there is a freedom of movement that allows one to slide to various areas of the couch without losing much in the way of clarity. These glasses offer a quicker shutter rate, and the difference is noticeable. While watching Avatar, I did not experience any ghosting or blurring.

Avatar is a dark film with a lot of night time scenes. While some of these moments are peppered with splashes of neon and illuminated life forms, the blacks become muddy when looked at through some of the other shutter glasses on the market. MonsterVision MAX offers the brightest images I have seen on Avatar thus far. Nothing is lost in translation, and, unlike with the Panasonic specs, I found myself less apt to tug down on the frames to gaze upon the action with my own eyes. These 3D glasses were not a distraction in anyway, and they allowed me to concentrate on the movie itself, not just the act of watching it.

As anyone who has seen Avatar knows, there is a lot of cool action, and great aerial scenes throughout the movie. Sometimes, when things get ramped up to unnecessary degrees, the shutter glasses can cause haziness and induce headaches. There is none of that with the MAX specs, this comes as close to watching it without glasses in 2D as you can get. And when something flies directly at your face, and you absentmindedly try to dodge it, there is no disconnection with the shutter effect and the images that are being captured. There is no sudden loss in movement, and everything stays in synch.

The best thing I can say in regards to watching Avatar with the MonsterVision MAX glasses is that, during the slow parts of the movie, where the 3D is inconsequential to the dialogue, I never once felt like slipping my headgear off for a break. With the Panasonic specs, I sometimes pull them off twice, maybe three times, during any given runtime.

All that aside, I would rather experience 3D at home than say, in IMAX 3D. And having experienced Avatar in IMAX 3D a few times in the theater, I have to say, this is the most superb way I have ever seen the film, thanks to the technology all the way around.

The Tech

I didn't have to make any adjustments to the glasses when I put them on for the first time. MonsterVision MAX was pre-programmed for my VT30 Viera right out of the plastic. There was no annoying adjustment period, and with the exception of the nose area, these glasses are quite pleasing to partake in. The specs boast an exclusive 2.4gz RF delivery system that allows for more range, brightness, and resolution. Maybe they could be a little more stylish. I'm not quite sure I would wear these suckers out to a nightclub. Still, I don't feel like a complete dork in them either. I would wear these on a date. And yes, I do prefer these to my Panasonic frames. If given a choice of which to wear, MAX gets my vote for the first couple of hours. (I might switch later just to give my face a rest.)

MonsterVision MAX glasses are rechargeable, claiming up to 60 hours of usage on one charge, which is roughly 30 Blu-ray movies. This particular declaration is hard to prove, as it will take me maybe two or three months to get through 30 movies. I did watch the 3D Yogi Bear Blu-ray with MAX, and it was a pleasant experience. After three movies, straight out of the box, I have not had to recharge them yet, which is a plus.

Tron in 3D

I do want to mention that although we usually test against the magic of Avatar with any new piece of tech, I did happen to pop in the Tron: Legacy 3D Blu-ray, and I have to say, I was floored. With the technology of the MonsterVision MAX 3D glasses combined with the cutting edge tech of Panasonic's VT30, I can honestly say that you cannot, and will not find a better home theater viewing experience anywhere on the market right now. Top of the line all the way around, and absolutely stunning to say the least.

Final Thoughts

The MonsterVision MAX 3D Eyewear System get a B+ from me. It would have gotten an A- had they come with a more comfortable nose bridge. They don't get an A+ because this isn't the end of the road just yet. There are going to be improvements and upgrades. Though, every new item in the 3D TV market place feels like a fleeting afterthought as soon as its brought home. Glasses-free 3D TVs will certainly make these glasses obsolete in the very near future.

MonsterVision MAX 3D Eyewear System

These have become my go-to glasses for the moment, especially when it comes to any large party of four or more people. And when you are considering having that many audience members inside your house, MAX's $229.95 price tag may seem a little steep.

If you can afford it, there is no question: go for it. If you can't, what the heck are you doing with a 3D TV in the first place? Your creditors must hate you.

B. Alan Orange at Movieweb
B. Alan Orange