New 3D Blu-ray players, which allow full-HD 1080p content to be delivered to each eye, will start appearing in 2010 following the release yesterday of new spefications by the Blu-ray Disc Association and Hollywood studios.The specification, which was developed by Hollywood studios and consumer electronic and computer manufacturers, will allow consumers to play and watch 3D movies and videos from Blu-ray Discs on HD TV sets in the home.
“Throughout this year, movie goers have shown an overwhelming preference for 3D when presented with the option to see a theatrical release in either 3D or 2D,” stated Victor Matsuda, BDA global promotions committee chairman. “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.”
The “Blu-ray 3D” specification ensures uniformity and compatibility across the full range of Blu-ray 3D products, both hardware and software, says the Association. More specifically, it will allow every Blu-ray 3D player and movie to deliver Full-HD 1080p resolution to each eye, for the highest image quality available.
The specification is display agnostic, meaning that Blu-ray 3D products will deliver the 3D image to any compatible 3D display, regardless of whether that display uses LCD, plasma or other technology and regardless of what 3D technology the display uses to deliver the image to the viewer’s eyes, the BDA said.
“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, according to a statement from the association.
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 per cent 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.
The association said the specification will be available shortly to enable individual manufacturers and content providers to have “the technical information and guidelines to develop, announce and bring products to market pursuant to their own internal planning cycles and timetables”.