THE SPECIFICATION for 3D Blu-ray has been finalised by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) so it shouldn't be long until we can all fork out another wodge of cash for new kit if we want to buy into 3D.
Jumping on the 3D bandwagon, the BDA has decided we need our headaches to be created in full 1080p high definition and is attempting to thwart the traditional format war by coming out with a standardised spec as quickly as possible.
'Throughout this year, movie goers have shown an overwhelming preference for 3D when presented with the option to see a theatrical release in either 3D or 2D,' said Victor Matsuda, chairman of the BDA global promotions committee.
'We believe this demand for 3D content will carry over into the home now that we have, in Blu-ray Disc, a medium that can deliver a quality Full HD 3D experience to the living room.'
The specification uses the Multiview Video Coding (MVC) codec, an extension to the ITU-T H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) codec currently supported by all Blu-ray Disc players. MPEG4-MVC compresses both left and right eye views with a typical 50 per cent overhead compared to equivalent 2D content. It also provides details on other features such as 3D menu navigation and subtitles.
According to the BDA the specification will ensure 'uniformity and compatibility across the full range of Blu-ray 3D products, both hardware and software' and you'll be happy to know that your 2D Blu-ray discs will work in your 3D player, so can safely trade in your current brand new player for pittance in order to upgrade.
Furthermore the specification is display agnostic, meaning that Blu-ray 3D products will deliver the 3D image to any compatible 3D display [surely that's the definition of 'compatible', innit? - Ed].
'From a technological perspective, it is simply the best available platform for bringing 3D into the home,' said Benn Carr, chairman of the BDA 3D Task Force.
'The disc capacity and bit rates Blu-ray Disc provides enable us to deliver 3D in Full HD 1080p high definition resolution.'
Fortunately it appears that some Blu-ray players, including the PS3, will be upgradeable to support 3D. If you're one of the unwashed masses unfortunate enough to be stuck on 2D, the 3D discs will have a 2D mode for your existing player while you wait for the second mortgage on your house to be approved.
According to Matsuda in 2009 Blu-ray was the 'most rapidly adopted packaged media format ever introduced,' but no details were given about how such a conclusion was reached.
'We think the broad and rapid acceptance Blu-ray Disc already enjoys with consumers will be a factor in accelerating the uptake of 3D in the home,' he said.
'In the meantime, existing players and libraries can continue to be fully enjoyed as consumers consider extending into 3D home entertainment.'
The completed specification will be available shortly so manufacturers and content providers will be able to get into making Blu-ray 3D devices and discs in the New Year."