Blu-ray 3D Specification Is Final: 1080p Through Goggles Coming Soon To The Living Room

With just about everyone hopping on the 3D bandwagon (firms like Sony and NVIDIA included), we figured it was only a matter of time before the powers that be granted the 3D specification for Blu-ray the approval it needed to move forward as a serious, backed format. Sure enough, that is exactly what has happened this week, and just in time for the demonstrations at CES to begin in early 2010.

The Blu-ray Disc Association, which obviously oversees the forward progress of the BD format, announced that the Blu-ray 3D specification had finally been finalized and readied for release. According to it, the spec will "enable the home entertainment industry to bring the 3D experience into consumers’ living rooms on Blu-ray Disc," but we still have to wonder how many Blu-ray owners will be willing to watch films on their players with goggles. There's no question that 3D is being force-fed to consumers, and in cinemas, it seems to be generating mostly positive buzz. Getting the same type of hype into the living room could prove to be much more difficult, but having a Blu-ray 3D spec around is definitely great news for advocates.

The spec will allow for full 1080p content to be displayed in 3D, and it should work on any display (plasma, LCD, etc.) We're told that the paperwork should be printed and ready for release "shortly," though there's no word on how quickly manufacturers can wrap this stuff into their next wave of products. A few highlights are listed below.

“From a technological perspective, it is simply the best available platform for bringing 3D into the home,” said Benn Carr, chairman, BDA 3D Task Force. “The disc capacity and bit rates Blu-ray Disc provides enable us to deliver 3D in Full HD 1080p high definition resolution.”

The Blu-ray 3D specification is also designed to allow PS3 game consoles to play back Blu-ray 3D content in 3D. Additionally, the specification supports playback of 2D discs in forthcoming 3D players and can enable 2D playback of Blu-ray 3D discs on the large installed base of Blu-ray Disc players currently in homes around the world.

“In 2009 we saw Blu-ray firmly establish itself as the most rapidly adopted packaged media format ever introduced,” said Matsuda. “We think the broad and rapid acceptance Blu-ray Disc already enjoys with consumers will be a factor in accelerating the uptake of 3D in the home. In the meantime, existing players and libraries can continue to be fully enjoyed as consumers consider extending into 3D home entertainment.”

The Blu-ray 3D specification calls for encoding 3D video using the Multiview Video Coding (MVC) codec, an extension to the ITU-T H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) codec currently supported by all Blu-ray Disc players. MPEG4-MVC compresses both left and right eye views with a typical 50% overhead compared to equivalent 2D content, and can provide full 1080p resolution backward compatibility with current 2D Blu-ray Disc players. The specification also incorporates enhanced graphic features for 3D. These features provide a new experience for users, enabling navigation using 3D graphic menus and displaying 3D subtitles positioned in 3D video.

Tags:  Blu-ray, 3D