Saturday, November 07, 2009

Final Spec for 3D Blu-Ray by End of 2009

Michael here. Thanks to Fuad Zain for pointing me to this article from Bill Hunt of The Digital Bits, which has an update on 3D Blu-Ray from Blu-Con 2.0, which was held this past week in Los Angeles.

Read an excerpt from Hunt's report below (emphasis mine):

According to the Blu-ray Disc Association, the final spec for 3D Blu-ray (possibly called 3D-BD or something like it) will be announced by the end of the year, likely in December. The spec WILL REQUIRE that all 3D capable displays (regardless of how they process the 3D-BD signal) will use the same signal. The spec will be DISPLAY FORMAT AGNOSTIC, meaning whether the display is Plasma or LCD based (or whether it uses active or passive glasses) won't matter. So if you buy a 3D-BD player, it will work will all properly marked 3D display technologies. What's more, all 3D-BD discs will be backwards compatible with current Blu-ray players, so the disc will include both a 3D version in the new spec AND a standard 2D version for current players - all in full 1080p. The 3D-BD spec will require full 1080p signal delivery for each eye - left and right. The intent is that there's only one shot to get it right, so make sure it's a standard that will work for a long time to come.

An important point to make: THERE IS NO 3D-BD spec format war. Every company in the industry is cooperating on the final spec. The only difference is that the DISPLAY technology each company uses may be different, but the 3D-BD spec will be used by ALL of them.

Manufacturers will introduce a variety of 3D signal processing technologies, some based on plasma and some on LCD. Some will use active shutter glasses and some will use passive or polarized glasses. These technologies will be on display at CES in January and the first gear (and 3D-BD movie titles) will start arriving by mid-2010. Some product announcements MAY be made at CES. The glasses needed will be sold with the DISPLAYS, not the players, because the type of glasses needed will be dependent on the display.

All of the CE manufacturers stressed that 3D display is here to stay. It's not just about Blu-ray - you'll see cable and satellite offerings, live sports broadcasts and even gaming in 3D. The next round of gaming consoles are likely to support 3D gaming.

There WILL be a premium for the 3D capability in terms of display/player pricing, but as with all new technologies, this will drop over time.

This is particularly interesting: Multiple sources at the event - including one Sony source - informed me that there's a possibility that the PS3 can be firmware-updated to make full 3D gaming and (possibly even) 3D Blu-ray playback possible. All you'd need to do is to buy the glasses as an accessory. This may be possible because of the power of the PS3's Cell processor.

I am very excited for 3D Blu-Ray and am very happy that the powers that be are working towards a standard that provides the best possible 3D experience.

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Jim Dorey
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