Today the Blu-Ray Disc Association announced that the codec for creating full 1080p 3D Blu-Ray content has been set, but will you need to upgrade your gear to experience the benefits? Not necessarily.
The 3D specification will use Multiview Video Coding, a variant of the ubiquitous H.264 HD codec, for the enhanced visuals. MVC will present seperate 1080p pictures to each eye, yet it will only take up 50% more space on the disc. You will still need to use polarized 3D glasses to see the effect, but the experience should be quite close to your typical theatrical 3D release (minus the popcorn in your hair).
For those of you ready to take a sledgehammer to your living room in shame of its newfound obsolescence, you may be surprised to know that not all your gear needs upgrading. First off, the 3D discs will be able to display in 2D, meaning you won't have to choose between a 2D or 3D version at retail. Your current HDTV and Blu-Ray player will be able to handle the new discs fine and still give you room to upgrade your viewing experience in the future.
On top of that, Gizmodo notes that the Playstation 3 is expected to be able to play full 3D content pending future software upgrades. The PS3 has a great deal of horsepower under the hood that gives it an extra boost in terms of processing the two 1080p signals used by the spec. Other dedicated Blu-Ray players may be able to display in 3D with a firmware update, but no such announcements have yet been made.
Finally, your current HDTV...it'll probably have to go. Unless you futureproofed your purchase and bought an expensive stereoscopic set (such as the models listed here), your current TV will not have the display properties necessary for the 3D Blu-Ray spec. However, when you do choose to upgrade your TV, you will be able to choose any display type you want (LCD, Plasma, OLED) since the 3D video encoding is not tied to any particular display technology. And, according to the Blu-ray Disc Association's press release, it won't matter which 3D technology it uses, either.
Story updated with additional information on December 17, 2009, 7:34 PM PST.
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This story, "3D Blu-Ray Specs Finalized, But What About Your Gear?" was originally published by PCWorld.