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XpanD working on universal 3D glasses

The active-shutter glasses will work on any major manufacturer's TV when they arrive in June, according to the company.

3D glasses
XpanD hopes to replace competing types of 3D glasses with one standard model. Erica Ogg/CNET

Most 3D TVs will come with two pairs of glasses. What they won't come with are extra pairs for the rest of the family or friends you want to have over to watch a 3D movie, or even the World Cup this summer.

And as it stands now, unless you own the same brand as a friend, you can't trade glasses or lend them out. And you have to use the model that comes with your TV. For those who want options that's where XpanD, a longtime manufacturer of 3D glasses for movie theaters, comes in.

XpanD will start selling 3D glasses for $125 to $150 each on June 1 that, the company says, will work with all the major brands of 3D TVs scheduled to hit the market this year. The will be available at retailers like Best Buy and Sears, as well as online retailers to be named later, according to XpanD.

Panasonic started selling its first 3D TV model last week, while Toshiba, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio are prepping their sets for later this year.

XpanD's glasses are active shutter and made to work with those TVs, as well as 3D movies at the theater and 3D laptops and monitors for video games.

But the most obvious reason to have 3D glasses that work anywhere is for the times when more than two people want to watch a 3D movie or sporting event. "3D is a social experience," XpanD Chief Strategy Officer Ami Dror said in an interview Tuesay. "If you're watching the Super Bowl at a party would you expect the guy hosting to go buy 15 pairs of glasses? No, of course not."

And XpanD believes that neither should retailers be expected to stock glasses from every possible manufacturer on their shelves. "At Best Buy, they carry 15, 20 models of TVs. We can't expect them to carry 15 types of 3D glasses. That doesn't make sense."

XpanD is not the only one working on universal 3D. Gunnar Optiks has also said it plans to make glasses that are 3D TV brand-agnostic.