3D specs finalized for Blu-ray, to hit market next year

blu-ray disc logoAnd, Sony partners with RealD for theater quality 3D home viewing.

Blu-ray finally got its 3D specs completed, and players, discs and HDTVs are expected to start hitting the consumer market sometime in 2010. According to Sony the specs will be backwards compatible, allowing 2D discs to still play on 3D Blu-ray players, as well as allow 3D discs to play on current market 2D Blu-ray players (of course only in 2D). 

The BDA 3D Task Force says Blu-ray discs, given their high bit rates and disc capacity, are “simply the best available platform for bringing 3D into the home.” The “Blu-ray 3D” spec will deliver full HD 1080p resolution to BOTH EYES, and display on any compatible 3D display no matter the screen technology.

3D video on Blu-ray Disc will use the MVC (Multiview Video Coding) codec, which is an extension of the ITU-T H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) codec already supported by Blu-ray players. 3D graphic features will also be possible, with interactivity taking on a new 3D quality for menus and subtitles.

“We believe this demand for 3D content will carry over into the home now that we have, in Blu-ray Disc, a medium that can deliver a quality Full HD 3D experience to the living room,” said Victor Matsuda, chairman of BDA Global Promotions Committee.

Playstation 3 may be the first Blu-ray Disc player to display Blu-ray 3D discs on 3D HDTVs, as reports indicate a firmware upgrade will enable the new technology.

But will consumers buy into another new system so quickly? Are there enough 3D movies out there to justify the purchase of a new 3D HDTV?  A couple dozen films have already seen theatrical releases using RealD polarized 3D glasses, Sony’s new partner in developing the technology. In addition, Sony recently announced it would be filming the upcoming FIFA World Cup in 3D. And, you can bet Avatar will be the breakthrough blockbuster film to showcase 3D technology at home.

In addition to the finalization of 3D specs for Blu-ray, Sony also announced a partnership with RealD (creators of the stereoscopic technology that brought Beowulf, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and Avatar to 3D theaters), to develop theater quality 3D viewing for the home using new Bravia LCD HDTVs and newer technology shutter and polarized 3D glasses.

This collaboration enables the distribution of high-quality 3D content to Sony displays through the existing HD infrastructure, a vital element to the widespread adoption of 3D in the home,” said Michael V. Lewis, Chairman and CEO of RealD.

Both companies will partner to develop the Bravia LCDs as well as other products integrating 3D technology.

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Jeff Chabot

Jeff Chabot

Jeff Chabot writes about technology, broadcasting, and digital entertainment. You can also find him on Gameverse, Gadget Review, and Google+.

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