Blu-ray 3D disc specification finalized

3-D Blu-ray players set for expected explosion of 3-D television sales; supports 2-D format

The Blu-ray Disc Association announced today that it has finalized the 3-D Disc Specification, which includes support for the PlayStation 3. The format will be display agnostic, supporting any 3-D television, including LCD and Plasma models.

The news comes less than a week after LG Electronics Inc. announced it expects to ship 400,000 3-D-enabled televisions next year, and 3.4 million in 2011. The market for 3-D television is expected to be a $1.1 billion in 2010. By 2015, it's expected to skyrocket to $15.8 billion, according to market research firm DisplaySearch.

3-D Blu-ray players will project a 1080p image for each eye. Special glasses required for viewing 3-D brings the two images together to create the additional affect of depth.

"From a technological perspective, it is simply the best available platform for bringing 3D into the home," Benn Carr, chairman of the Blu-ray Disk Association 3-D Task Force said in a statement.

The Blu-ray 3-D specification allows PS3 game consoles to play back Blu-ray 3-D content in 3-D. The specification also supports 2-D discs in upcoming 3-D players and allows 2-D playback of Blu-ray 3-D discs on the large installed base of Blu-ray Disc players.

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.

Victor Matsuda, chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association Global Promotions Committee, said that in 2009 movie goers showed an overwhelming preference for 3-D when presented with the option of 3-D or 2-D.

"We believe this demand for 3-D content will carry over into the home now that we have, in Blu-ray Disc, a medium that can deliver a quality Full HD 3-D experience to the living room," Matsuda said in a statement.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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