Blu-ray 3D spec is now final

Get ready for a surge of 3D Blu-ray players next year, now that the Blu-ray Disc Association has finalized specifications for 3D.

The “Blu-ray 3D” specification is essentially a standard format for all Blu-ray discs and players going forward that want to use 3D. It demands that all participating software and hardware products work on any 3D television, whether it’s plasma, LCD or something else. The spec also requires 3D players to support playback of 2D discs, and standard Blu-ray players to support 3D discs by displaying the images in two dimensions.


As with before, content must play in full 1080p resolution, projecting one image for each eye and requiring special glasses to filter out the images. The codec for Blu-ray 3D is called Multiview Video Coding, and it’s an extension to the ITU-T H.264 Advanced Video Coding that Blu-ray players already use. Beyond displaying 3D images and allowing for 2D in non-compatible players, the codec has some other special features, such as menu navigation and subtitles in 3D.

The specification will also work with the Playstation 3. Sony recently revealed that it will enable 3D gaming on the console with a firmware update next year. Other 3D Blu-ray players are expected to hit the market next year as well, Video Business reports.

3D Blu-ray’s many moving parts are starting to fall into place. Movies are already being produced in 3D, such as Up and James Cameron’s Avatar, which hits theaters this weekend. The spec is another important step, getting everyone on the same page in standardizing the technology. All that remains is to actually produce and sell the hardware. Sony plans to release a 3D television next year, and LG has introduced the models it plans to sell in 2010.

The only question, of course, is whether consumers are interested in the technology, but analysts and manufacturers think 3D will explode after its introduction. Analyst group DisplaySearch believes the market will balloon from $1.1 billion in sales next year to $15.8 billion in 2011.