Blu-ray Disc Association unclear on 3D standard

Blu-ray Disc Association backs 3D tech for the home - but unclear as to what kind of 3D tech it wants to be standard
Blu-ray Disc Association backs 3D tech for the home - but unclear as to what kind of 3D tech it wants to be standard

While 3D TV looks like it is going to be the talk of IFA 2009 this year, following the earlier speculation about Sony's big announcements at the show, there is still little clarity as to what the tech standard for 3D in the home needs to be.

Take, for instance, the Blu-ray Disc Association, which has today issued a press release to announce its full support for 3D in the home.

"The Blu-ray Disc Association today announces its plans for incorporating 3D into the widely successful Blu-ray Disc format," reads the BDA's release. "The rapid and enthusiastic consumer adoption of Blu-ray Disc, coupled with the format's technical capabilities and capacity make it the ideal format for bringing a vibrant 3D experience to consumers."

"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."

Minimum 3D spec

The BDA wants the minimum spec for 3D in the home to "require delivery of 1080p resolution to each eye and backward compatibility for both discs and players, meaning that 3D discs will also include a 2D version of the film that can be viewed on existing 2D players and 3D players will enable consumers to playback their 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."

Which is all very well and good, in terms of the PR message. But what of the exact requirements of the hardware and the technology that will be required to deliver 3D on a Blu-ray disc in your lounge?

The BDA's release is effectively, a way of saying "yes, we support 3D and we think it is the next 'big thing', but we are going to wait a little longer before committing to a true industry standard for the tech."

3D specialists respond

Following the BDA's note of support for 3D Blu-ray and the earlier speculation that Sony is set to take the tech to the mass market next year, TechRadar spoke with Anders Lokke, International Marketing & Communications Manager at 3D specialists projectiondesign - a company that works in in markets as wide apart as scientific visualization, video and film 3D VFX and editing, and simulation or medical imaging.

Locke noted that: "In home theater and consumer electronics, the overall market is still to take off and show real direction and commitment, even though we anticipate the same interest, as Sir Stringer says.

"However, we also believe that quite a few players must come together and create a standard for 3D in the home before that happens (refer back, for instance, to Blu-ray disc vs HD-DVD). It is natural that we port our experience with 3D stereographic displays to the consumer in the near future to support the development of this."

3D filmmaker and tech specialist Phil Streather, CEO at Principal Large Format, added that: "This potential announcement by Sony is very exciting. I have worked with Sky on their tests (Gladiators) for their upcoming 3D channel and one of the big needs they have is for the giants of screen manufacturing to get on the 3D wagon.

"So, first Panasonic and now Sony. Great news. As a producer, most recently of The Merlin Entertainments London Eye 4D film, I am very much looking forward to working with visionaries like Sky and providing then with original HD 3D content; and when companies like Sony get involved on the display end of things it's great news for content creators."

Stay tuned for all the official 3D news from Sony's IFA 2009 press conference shortly.

Adam Hartley