What if you could bring your home theater experience into the third dimension? Wouldn’t 3D be the next logical step in home entertainment, especially when you consider 3D has become more popular with moviegoers with the advent of Avatar? Actually, the timing seems just right for the Blu-ray format to be extended with 3D encoding, and many leading companies such as Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba and Samsung have announced they will be unveiling new HD 1080p 3D Blu-ray players for 2010.
What does this mean for the average consumer?
Well, for starters, if you just purchased a Blu-ray player and new HDTV, you will have to replace them with the upgraded 3D versions. Ouch! That is, if you want to take advantage of this new technology — according to the final 3D specifications given by the Blu-ray Disc Association, you will need a specialized 3D HDTV display as well as a 3D capable Blu-ray player to make this new technology function. However, all 3D Blu-ray discs will be backward compatible, meaning you will still be able to play them in 2D with current Blu-ray players. There is also good news for owners of Sony’s Playsation 3 since it can be upgraded to become 3D capable and play the new Blu-ray disc.
The specifications for the 3D Blu-ray also include 1080p resolution and the use of the Multiview Video Coding (MVC) codec to store 3D. This will mean it can provide full 1080p frame for each eye and only need around 50% more storage space compared to the 2D disc. Also, 3D playback will be compatible with any type of 3D display.
However, there are some major drawbacks that may hurt the 3D Blu-ray format’s success in the marketplace. As mentioned you will need to purchase 3D Blu-ray players, and HDTVs that are not “3D Ready” will have to be replaced or setup with new specifications. It is reported the new specification needed will provide the same quality with plasmas, LCDs or projectors. In addition, IR emitters and glasses will also be needed with your new 3D Blu-ray system.
Then there is also the problem with content. Content for 3D Blu-ray players will be scarce for some time, and this fact alone may prevent the 3D Blu-ray player from catching on anytime soon.
Despite this fact, if users find the 3D Blu-ray experience superior to anything currently on the market, they will vote with their pocketbooks and switch to 3D viewing. Home entertainment keeps advancing and if 3D is seen as a step forward, the masses will follow.