You would think that it just wouldn’t be possible for something called “Monster Vision” to not be among the coolest inventions ever. I mean, the possibilities that the name conjures up are just so geek-boy awesome that how could it possibly be a letdown?
If you're expecting Monster Vision to enable you to blast unholy rays from your eyes Cyclops-style, mercilessly frying any that refused to succumb to your will, you'll be sadly mistaken.
Monster Vision could allow you to immediately determine once-and-for-all which of your friends was well and truly undead, liberating you from those difficult should I/shouldn’t I shotgun decisions we all face.
Or Monster Vision could enable you to blast unholy rays from your eyes Cyclops-style, mercilessly frying any that refused to succumb to your will. Sadly, though, Monster Vision is none of these things, but rather Monster Cable’s latest bit of marketing schadenfreude.
Now, the Head Monster, Noel Lee, is never one to miss out on a marketing opportunity. He has come up with “high performance” USB cables that are basically $20 items that say Monster and otherwise look identical to all those free ones that are probably littering the floor around your desk right now.
He has developed $17 bottles of “specially formulated” green magic juice to clean your cell phone screen of all your horrible ear fungus.
He has Monster Batteries, Monster headphone splitters, and Monster Mints (yes, kinda like Altoids, only more expensive).
So when 3D started making a push, it was only a matter of time until Noel found a way to Monster-ize it. And for those of you looking for any way to spend more money on your brand-new 3D TV, that wait is somewhat over.
This week at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) line show in New York, Lee unveiled his company’s new Monster VISION Max 3D Active 3D Eyewear System. (Seriously, doesn’t that just sound like something a carny barker would call out? “Over here we got bearded ladies! Or see fish-boy! Or step right up and see yer Max 3D!”)
Monster’s system is said to be universal and to work with any TV which at first blush actually sounds great. One of my biggest gripes with 3D is that the Sony glasses don’t work with the Samsung TV, which doesn’t work with the Panasonic, which doesn’t work with… (These sets emit an IR signal that allows the glasses shuddering to sync to the image. And each IR signal is unique, much like a Sony TV remote won’t operate a Samsung TV.) This means that gearing up for a 3D party could run you hundreds/thousands of dollars in glasses-for-guests costs.
However, on further inspection, it works with any TV because it requires its own transmitter. So, it really isn’t like “Hey, let’s go over to Bob’s house and watch Saw X – Jigsaw in Ya Face! in 3D” where you grab your glasses and go. It is more like, “OK, let me disconnect the transmitter thing and get the power supply and remember how to connect this thing back up to Bob’s TV and…wait! Isn’t his set wall-mounted? Can I get to the back of it? God, I hate 3D!!!”
A one pair of glasses/transmitter bundle is expected this September and will set you back $249.95 while extra pairs of glasses will run $169.95. (However, according to one online report, the transmitter will be available separately for $59.95, meaning that you’d be an idiot – and $20.05 poorer – if you elect to buy the bundle.) So, the only thing that is for surely Monsterous about this is the amount of money it will add to the cost of you watching 3D.
On the plus side, the Monster system is unique in that it uses Zigbee RF signals to communicate with the glasses, so you shouldn’t have to worry about loss of sync say if you should get up to grab a non-3D snack in the kitchen or start having a seizure. Also, the rechargeable lithium polymer batter will last for “thousands of hours of 3D content” meaning that you can watch every currently available Blu-ray about 100 times over.
The glasses also “feature a styling and lightweight high-gloss black design,” which is totally suitable for walking around the mall. (NOTE: NEVER WEAR 3D GLASSES WHEN NOT WATCHING 3DTV!) They also allow “users to wear them for hours without experiencing any fatigue.” Because we all know how fatiguing wearing a pair of glasses can be, literally right up there alongside that pulling Paulie through the Siberian snow workout scene from Rocky IV.
Bizarrely, Lee claims that viewers “will be able to watch for hours without common effects of fatigue and eye strain caused by traditional IR-based Shutter lenses.” Now, these are active shutter glasses, same as the others. So, is Noel saying that the IR transmission is what causes eye strain – not the rapidly flickering on and off of the lenses – and that by using RF you eliminate this? Cause, well, that just sounds like crazy talk to me. Also, I’m pretty sure that my 60-inch Elite plasma emits an ass-ton more IR than any 3D transmitter, and it has yet to produce any eyestrain.
In an unrelated note, start saving your money now for Monster 3D eye glasses cleaner, likely available later this year…