As expected, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has finalized and announced the standards for the next generation BD players and, ahem, discs. That’s right– just when you thought it was safe to buy a format that might be around for a few years, Lo! the great gods of media formats have gone and created another video disc for you to buy– and it won’t play on your current Blu-ray player as intended– so there, nyah. Pffft.
Seriously, is the public ready for yet another high-definition standard that makes current disc players obsolete due to incompatibility? And just as Blu-ray player sales have finally begun to take off? That said… let’s clarify a bit. The new standard will enable the manufacture of specialized Blu-ray players and discs and somehow, though the details are vague, this standard will even allow the PlayStation 3 to play back these specialized discs as intended… in 3D. In all likelihood this could mean a PS3 firmware update to cope with the new standard for playback (AVC-MPEG4-MVC. The MVC is for “Multiview Video Coding/Codec.”)… or it could mean new PlayStations for everyone!
Since, it seems, we all love buying shiny new stuff during an economic lull (or recession, or depression in the parlance of our times), the video mavens of the Blu-ray Disc Association have smiled upon us and granted our desire for another new format. No, really… though 3D has never really been my cup o’ tea (Avatar remains to be seen, but I was kinda blown away by what Coraline did with the technology), the general public seems to dig it, at least according to the BDA. Therefore, it’s up to you to pretend you’re not re-buying The Polar Express for about the third or fourth time when that BD-3D hits the shelves for Christmas 2011.
It’s anticipated that 3D enabled HDTV displays will hit the market first, followed fairly quickly by Blu-ray players featuring the new 3D format. Those players, by the way, will be backward compatible with BD-2D discs and, though you won’t be able to get the 3D effect, you’ll be able to play the 3D discs on 2D-standardized Blu-ray players with as good as a 2D image as is currently available (perhaps even a bit better).
True 3D enabled HDTV’s, due to arrive by mid-to-late 2010, will be manufactured as LCD or Plasma (though by 2011 it’s expected LCD’s will have a lock on the market due to cost-to-market issues and improved technology, not to mention the strict green compliance demanded of states such as California). Apparently the codec will work with just about any 3D enabled display such as DLP’s, but there’s sure to be plenty of consumer confusion over what constitutes a 3D ready display (remember the confusion over HD-ready TV’s and HD/ED-compatible TV’s only a few years back… ’nuff said).
Of course, playback will be in full 1080p (both eyes!), but guess what? You’ll still need to wear those funky theater-type glasses, so sayeth the video mavens of the BDA. Apparently the technology to deliver 3D without the glasses just isn’t there yet. But, eventually… Well, perhaps you shouldn’t consider buying that 3D-HDTV display just yet, at least ’til they get that particular kink worked out. Me? I’ll wait for the Holodeck Standard to be announced.
For more on the BD-3D standard announcement, either attend CES 2010 (in early January), or check out these links:
BusinessWire BD-3D article
Los Angeles Times BD-3D article
CNET BD-3D article
For Funky 3D Glasses Go Here
For HDTV (DLP) in 3D Check This Out
For a list of other 3D-HDTV’s
For the Holodeck Standard Go Here