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Shutterglasses Top 20

as of February 22, 2003


A shutterglasses system consist of  3 components: glasses, controller and driver. It allows stereoscopic 3D viewing in color on a standard CRT (tube) monitor. All shutterglasses suffer from a problem called  'ghosting'

About the Top 20

I hesitated for years to release something like a Top20. There are so many aspects about a shutterglasses system: compatibility, comfort, workmanship, optical quality, sync-accuracy, wired vs. wireless, installation, power-supply, software package. The following Top 20 is mainly based on compatibility and to some degree on comfort and quality. The delivered driver isn't taken into account, since almost all drivers can be downloaded or purchased seperately. (However there's a driver for ATI-boards which only comes with e-Dimensional products!)

Warning: 'Perfect compatibility' means that the glasses will work for all stereo-drivers and all native stereo-sofware under any operating system, but even the best glasses won't help if your VGA- and stereo-driver fail to work! The glasses can't produce stereo on their own! Please check the driver-compatibility chart.
The best support for games and amateur-level applications is available for nVidia-based-VGA-boards under Windows via the nVidia stereo driver.

All glasses in the Top 20 are compatible with the nVidia reference stereo-driver and the WINx3D/VRCaddy-driver. Most are compatible with ASUS stereo drivers too.

Compatibility Guide:

P - page-flipping & interlace by autosync
L - line-blanking (artificial, driver-less interlace)
S - sync-doubling (for over-under 3D-format)

R - page-flipping by Revelator-trigger
M - manual override (real buttons on the controller)
C - color line code control (modes can be activated via software by display of colored lines)

3D-formats explained in detail here

Rank click image for full review System Comment

click image for full review
VNM Virtual-i (prototype, not available yet)
(4-in-1) wired
(wireless glasses, clip-on and new version of wired glasses announced)
less than $100 ?
Witvision Co. Ltd. VRFX - same controller, different glasses (available, not reviewed yet, glass-LCD's)
supported modes: P L S - R M 
perfect compatibility, best controller ever, lightest, most comfortable glasses ever, controller supports wired and wireless glasses, good sync, good installation; there is room for improvement on the size, optical quality and durability of the prototype LCD-panels though, according to the manufacturer the final product will have larger and more durable panels

click image for full review
i-Art Eye3D-Premium (model TX4000)
wired & wireless combo
($200 or less)
supported modes: P L S - M C
almost flawless, perfect compatibility, supports wired and wireless glasses, sync of the wireless glasses should be slightly more accurate though, the VGA-dongle is too long which can cause mechanical problems
click image for full review
i-Art Eye3D 4-in-1 (model TX3200)
supported modes: P L S - M C
perfect compatibility, nose-piece of glasses somewhat uncomfortable

click image for full review
AnotherWorld AnotherEye2000
XForce3D Glasses
(4-in-1) wired
($100 or less)
supported modes: P L S - M
perfect compatibility, ultracool but somewhat impractical glasses-design, can cause problems when used with prescribed glasses (see review), sync should be a bit more accurate, glasses should be more durable
click image for full review
i-Art Eye3D 4-in-1 (model VR-3100)
supported modes: P L S - (M) C
almost perfect compatibility, nose-piece of glasses somewhat uncomfortable

click image for full review
i-O Display Systems 'H3D PC gaming system' (Universal version), i-ware! 3D GameGlasses, X3D TV Special 
C3Dnow Econo 3D Game Glasses wired
eDimensional E-D Glasses (comes with ATI-drivers!)
VRealities VR-3D Glasses
X3D Extreme 3D PC

(4-in-1) wired and wireless version available ($100 or less)
It is kind of annoying to have the same product under so many brand names. 

supported modes: P L S - R C

great compatibility, supports color codes and Revelator-trigger, but no buttons for manual control, you'll need  H3D-Activator or H3D-Controller or E-D-Activator
(in the past there was the old 'Terminator' model which looked the same, but had poor compatibility)

click image for full review
NuVision 60GX-NSR 
(3-in-1) wireless
supported modes: P S - M
professional high-quality product, superior LCD-panels, superior sync accuracy, superior workmanship, DIN-3-jack, but no line-blanker 

click image for full review
i-Art Eye3D-Force wired/
SSC 3dplus (3-in-1) wired
(Force: $70)
supported modes: P S - M C
almost flawless, but no line-blanker

click image for full review
VRStandard VRJoy (classic), VRJoy2000
(3-in-1)  wired
supported modes: P L - M
no sync-doubling, full manual control; light, adjustable glasses, sometimes minor sync inaccuracies, glasses and cable of the '2000' version should be more durable
click image for full review
i-Art Eye3D-3-in-1
supported modes: P S - M C
no line-blanker, nose-piece of glasses somewhat uncomfortable

click image for full review
i-Art Eye3D-PCI
(3-in-1) wired
supported modes: P S - C
no line-blanker, no manual control, but sufficient compatibility, not a good choice for use with the nVidia driver though, comfortable glasses
click image for full review
Another World  Another I's PC (3-in-1) wireless supported modes: P L - M
no sync-doubling, full manual control; large, bulky glasses; plastic front piece has to be removed to get decent optical quality, rather dark LCD-panels, sync-accuracy should be better
click image for full review
i-O Display Systems 'H3D Internet Viewing System', H3D Cruiser
supported modes: L R - (M)
line-blanker(*), Revelator-compatible, no sync-doubling; no autosync, i.e. no interlace and no page-flipping without Revelator-trigger-signal; nice glasses, 
click image for full review
ELSA Revelator wired/wireless

(dicontinued, but works with nVidia and WINx3D drivers; you can usually find lots of them at german ebay)

Similar system is now distributed by C3Cnow.com 

supported modes: R
no sync-doubling, no line-blanker, no autosync, has no real controller, works with special trigger signal only, nice glasses with VESA DIN-3-connector, hi-quality LCD's, suffers from resource conflicts; limited compatibility, but works with nVidia driver
What is sync-accuracy? If the sync isn't perfect you will see a darker area or double image on the very top or bottom of the screen. In worse cases it'll kind of pulsate.
What does 4-in-1 mean? The controller supports all formats: page-flipping, interlace, sync-doubling, line-blanking
What does 3-in-1 mean? Either sync-doubling or line-blanking is missing
(*) The line-blanker in my H3D-Cruiser sample was defective or incompatible to my setup. Usually it should work though.

Other products

Not tested yet:

Gainward glasses
StereoGraphics CrystalEyes 3

Products which didn't made it into the Top20:
If you own one of these systems you should get the WINx3D driver which greatly enhances compatibility.

ASUS VR100 upgrade kit - no hard- or softbuttons, no reverse control, average compatibility, sync-accuracy should be better - review
H3D (classic)/Wicked3D (discontinued) - was the first 4-in-1 system ever, but had limited frequency range and limited compatibility due to lack of buttons, doesn't hold modes therefore H3D-Activator fails in many situations - review
I/O-Display H3D Terminator (first model) - no line-blanking, no buttons, no H3D-colorcode, no autosync - review
i-Art Virtual Eyes (discontinued ?) - average compatibility (2-in-1), glasses put some pressure on the nose - review
Kasan 3D-Max (discontinued) - ISA-card-controller, outdated - review
miro 3D-Fanatix (discontinued) - little compatibility, but is supported by the nVidia reference driver (StereoViewerType=10)
NuVision 3D-SPEX (discontinued) - parallel port controller, outdated, but I like the glasses a lot, they have a 3.5 mm jack and fit into many of todays controllers - review

click image for full review
StereoGraphics CrystalEyes2 with EPC2 or ENT controller - professional product, great workmanship, fantastic glasses, but limited compatibility and prohibitive price ($1200) - review

click image for full review
StereoGraphics CrystalEyes-Wired (discontinued) - DIN-3-jack, poor compatibility, disappointing quality and comfort, overpriced - review
StereoGraphics SimulEyes/3D-Fanatix (discontinued) - poor compatibility, but is supported by the nVidia reference driver (StereoViewerType=10)
Tetratel EyeFX (1997 model - discontinued?) - good glasses, good compatibility, but the pass-through controller hurts the VGA-signal too much - review
VRex VRSurfer - supports PC and TV, but poor compatibility, terrible bulky glasses - review
Woobo Cyberboy  (discontinued) - serial port controller, outdated

If you own one of these systems you should get WINx3D which greatly enhances compatibility. If you need a game-driver and don't have a nVidia board check VRCaddy .


No recommendation for any HMD (VR-helmet) at this time.
I haven't tested many of them yet and the technology is still in it's infancy.
The only stereo3D-capable HMD under $1000 I'm currently aware of is the i-O Display Systems i-glasses SVGA 3D.

for stereo-applications & -games (consumer & semi-professional level)

The best stereo-driver software support for consumer VGA-boards is currently available for nVidia chipset based boards thanks to the nVidia stereo driver

Older ASUS Deluxe boards (up to V8460/40/20) have an on-board glasses-controller, but the compatibility of this controller is limited and the ASUS stereo driver is discontinued - read more.

Universal Stereo Driver Top 10
(for Shutterglasses & HMD)

as of October 18., 2003

Rank Game Driver VGA
1 nVidia Stereoscopic Reference Driver all nVidia boards with TNT, GeForce and Quadro family chipsets full-res page-flipping, superior stereo-quality, superior handling, superior compatibility, fast, provides Revelator-trigger and StereoGraphics line-codes, free of charge, suffers from resource conflicts, works on nVidia based boards only, (also supports anaglyph, line-sequential and dual-head) more info
assets acquired by X3D !? VRStandard VRCaddyXP
last update Feb. 2003 
most VGA boards, but mainly targeted on ATI doesn't work well on nVidia boards, poor game compatibility, no OpenGL (in Feb. 2003 release)
eDimensional E-D driver (NEW) ATI (and others!?) OpenGL, Direct3D, half-res only, sync-doubler only, for eDim customers only
more3D  (NEW) latest nVidia based boards for professional users, full-res, for dual-input HMD's, autostereo monitors and dual-projector setups only 
discontinued ASUS VR
full-res, works on nVidia based ASUS-boards only
discontinued VRStandard VRCaddyPro
(last update in 2001?)
discontinued ELSA Revelator
(discontinued, outdated)
full-res, superior stereo-quality, superior handling and OSD, free of charge, but suffers from resource conflicts, no T&L support, works on nVidia boards only
discontinued Wicked3D eyeSCREAM2000
(discontinued, outdated, no update since Aug. 2001 ver.5.02beta)
half-res only, no free download, vast VGA compatibility
discontinued VRStandard VRCaddyMe most 
half-res only, vast VGA and glasses compatibility, T&L support, inexpensive, somewhat immature stereo-functionality and handling
discontinued IISVR VFX3D Launcher (discontinued, outdated) many
works for VFX3D only, half-res, immature stereo-functionality
discontinued SiS 300 stereo driver SiS only works on SiS 300 chipset only, immature stereo-functionality

Game-Driver Top 10
(for anaglyph red/blue glasses)
as of April 26. 2001

Rank Driver VGA
1 nVidia Stereoscopic Reference Driver all NVidia boards with TNT, GeForce and Quadro family chipsets
Wicked3D eyeSCREAM light
NVidia TNT_1/2 GeForce_1/2,
3dfx Voodoo_4/5,
ATI Rage/Radeon,
Matrox G400/G450

very good stereo-effect for most OpenGL games with simple red-blue cardboard glasses

There seems to be no alternative - yet.

Application-Driver Top 10

Such a driver puts the VGA-board into interlace or page-flipping and triggers the shutterglasses - if necessary. It doesn't provide content, like game-drivers do. The purpose is to watch native stereo-images, -videos and -applications. Sometimes it makes sense to combine such a driver with a game driver (VRCaddy is bundled with WINx3D).
Rank Driver Comment
1 Win3D Corp. WINx3D There seems to be no alternative. This driver rulez.
WINx3D has been aquired by X3D and may not be available at the time.

Other such drivers, like LCD-BIOS, 3D-BIOS, VR-BIOS, 3DS-BIOS, SSDI, SG-Toggle, 3DWin, VRViewer and WinSPEX  are outdated.
H3D- and Eye3D-Activator are no drivers. They're just triggers, displaying a color code to activate certain glasses.
Some professional graphics-boards come with their own stereo driver.


For the first steps into 3D-photography and into stereoscopic 3D in general:

Loreo 3D camera with viewer, also distributed as 'Argus'

Not a high-quality product, but easy to use and great
value for money.

For shooting your own 3D-videos:

Nu-View 3D camcorder add-on

Please read the review and take note of the requirements and possible drawbacks.

For watching field-sequential 3D-VHS tapes and 3D-DVD's:

You can choose any Video/TV shutterglasses. Opposed to computer devices there are less compatibility issues in the 3D-video world. Most video/TV shutterglasses work on all TV-systems (NTSC, PAL, Secam) with all Video-systems (VHS, S-VHS, V8, Hi8, Betacam, etc.) Look on the price and the wearing comfort.
3D-video will not work on a 100/120 Hz digital TV set, unless you are able to switch-off the frequency-doubling.
If you want to spend big money on this try a 3D-video compliant HMD, like the i-glasses.

You need special, genuine 3D-video-recordings to see a real 3D-effect of course! Don't buy expensive digital Pseudo-3D-TV devices!

For the best stereo-experience and best introduction to the topic:

IMAX-3D movie theatres

For homebrewers:

Buy some reasonably priced wired 3D-shutterglasses or the universal IR transmitter system by 3DTV Corp. and make your own homebrew controllers for the PC and for video.

Recommendations can and will be withdrawn if superior products become known to the author.
The recommendations are based on the reviews published on this website and express the personal opinion of the author.


Brand and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.
The author can not guarantee the accuracy of the information given on this page.
Christoph Bungert, Germany .