Interest in 3D home video heats up

The Blu-ray Disc Association hopes to set the standard for 3D home viewing

James Cameron's upcoming Avatar movie was filmed entirely in 3D -- could the new Blu-ray format deliver the same experience at home?

James Cameron's upcoming Avatar movie was filmed entirely in 3D -- could the new Blu-ray format deliver the same experience at home?

The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) is planning to add support for 3D to its high-resolution video disc format, it said on Wednesday.

3D has already started to take off in movie theaters, and looks now set to move into homes as well. The association is hoping to set the standard for 3D home viewing in the future, and is now working on the necessary specifications, it said.

There will be both backwards and forwards compatibility. 3D discs will also include a standard version of the film that can be viewed on existing players, and 3D players will enable consumers to view their existing movies, according to a statement from the BDA.

The plans are still short on details, including when the first players and discs will be available and which technology will be used to get the 3D effect.

The BDA's work will provide companies with the technical information and guidelines they need to develop products, but it is then up to the vendors to set their own timetables, according to the association.

Beyond the disc format, there is also the question of how disc buyers will watch their 3D movies. That question may be answered at consumer electronics show IFA in Berlin, where 3D video is expected to be one of the big trends.

IFA officially opens its doors on Friday, but Sony CEO Howard Stringer will take the stage for a press conference later Wednesday. 3D will be the main topic of his speech, according to a report in the Financial Times newspaper. Stringer is expected to announce plans not only to sell 3D Bravia television sets, but to make Sony's Vaio laptop computers, PlayStation 3 games consoles and Blu-ray disc players compatible with the 3D technology, the report said.

That 3D is going to be one of the big trends at IFA is apparent to anyone landing at Berlin Tegel airport. On Monday a billboard there announced that visitors were going to be able to watch a clip of James Cameron's upcoming 3D movie Avatar at the show.

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
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