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Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) Announces Plans for 3D on Blu-ray

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The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) today announced its plans for incorporating 3D into upcoming Blu-ray Disc players and Blu-ray releases. Just over three years into the format’s release, the Association is readying another major shift to the format’s specification, which has seen the format go from early feature-bare, Profile 1.0 players, through Profile 1.1 players capable of BonusView, or picture-in-picture content with secondary audio, to their final specification, Profile 2.o BonusView + BD-Live internet connectivity.

With BD-Live content barely off the ground and hardly any compelling internet content on BD-Live enabled discs to act as an incentive to drive consumers to seek these titles out specifically for such a feature, the Blu-ray Disc Association is already moving forward with the latest new evolution in the format, non-anaglyphic 3D. For those of you who might not know, anaglyphic 3D is what we have been treated to for many years whenever we have to use those dorky looking red/blue 3D glasses to watch 3D content.

The Association, however, is seeking a new standardized specification to incorporate the new, polarized 3D format into Blu-ray Disc players that can be encoded onto discs. This will still require the use of glasses, but instead of red/blue or some other color combination, they usually send a 60Hz signal to each eye, resulting in a 3D image that does not lose its color or detail information.

The problem up until now has been that the polarized 3D formats available on the market today (Mitsubishi has been demonstrating their own 3D-capable televisions with Nvidia and DirectX 3D enabled PCs for nearly a year) are incompatible with one another and require the use of a PC. There are also no Blu-ray players capable of 3D playback on the market. The BDA aims to change all that and they are hoping that consumer demand for 3D content will help to spur on Blu-ray Disc sales, which have been good, but not spectacular.

“The BDA intends to take full advantage of the format`s high bandwidth and capacity to achieve the very highest possible quality 3D experience,” said Victor Matsuda, Blu-ray Disc Association Global Promotions Committee Chair. “Just as Blu-ray Disc has paved the way for next generation, high definition home entertainment, it will also set the standard for 3D home viewing in the future.”

The BDA, comprised of major motion picture studio, IT and consumer electronics companies, is working on a uniform specification to ensure consistent delivery of 3D content across the Blu-ray Disc Platform. The Association is studying a number of criteria and at a minimum, the specification will be required to deliver a resolution of 1080p to each eye and be backward compatible for both discs and players. The 3D discs will include a 2D version of the film that can be viewed on existing 2D players and 3D players will be able to playback the existing libraries of 2D content.

“Consumer adoption of Blu-ray continues to grow at a very steady pace,” said Bob Chapek, President, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. “The 3D theatrical market has been very successful this year. We are just now seeing all of the true capabilities of 3D and with Blu-ray Disc`s superior technical characteristics, as well as the broad industry support of the format, it makes it the ideal packaged media platform for 3D home entertainment.”

The current BDA efforts provide individual companies with the technical information and guidelines necessary to develop and announce products pursuant to their own internal planning cycles and timetables.

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