3-D Blu-ray Spec Expected by Year-End

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The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) is expected to complete a
specification for the delivery of 3-D content into the home via Blu-ray discs
by the end of the year, a top official said.

That word came from the chairman of the BDA's U.S.
promotion committee, Andy Parsons, senior vice president of product development
and corporate communications at Pioneer Electronics (USA).

Blu-ray disc

The move is important because BDA represents over 180
companies in the consumer-electronics, software, information-technology and
content-production community, including the major Hollywood
studios.

The development of a 3-D spec for Blu-ray discs could speed
the introduction of three-dimensional sets and Blu-ray players into the market
and reduce potential consumer confusion over competing formats. The latter
problem slowed the early deployment of high-definition compact disc players.

"The target date for getting this done is pretty aggressive
and we have been working on this at breakneck speed," Parsons said. "When we
have a specification that everyone agrees on, it means we don't have to worry
about incompatible sets or competing formats. That is fundamental to the
success of 3-D."

While the timing for the launch of 3-D capable TVs and
Blu-ray players will be up to individual companies, Parsons said that BDA does
"expect product to be appearing in 2010."

A number of TV manufacturers who belong to BDA recently
demonstrated -3D TV sets at Japan's
influential Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies convention earlier
this month and the rollout of 3-D technologies is expected to a major theme at
the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las
Vegas in January.

Blu-ray discs and games are widely considered to be the two
most likely avenues for 3-D content to make its way into the home. There is
already significant amount of 3-D programming that has been created for
theatrical-film distribution that could be reformatted for 3-D capable Blu-ray
discs and players.

"Some of the exit polls done by the studio have shown there
is a very high enthusiasm for 3-D when people are finished with that experience
in the theater and it is a natural thing to make that available in the home,"
Parsons said.

Parsons also said there could be a robust market for the new
3-D HDTVs, though it will obviously take time for penetration to reach significant
levels.

"There are a lot of people out there who have already
purchased their first HDTV and many may be
in the market for a replacement set or an additional set," he said.

Earlier this year, the BDA set up a 3-D task force, which concluded
that any spec should offer the best possible high-definition experience with
one 1080p channel per eye and that the discs complying with the specification
would need to be backwards-compatible. That means consumers will be able to watch
3D Blu-ray discs on the new 3-D sets and Blu-ray players for the full
stereoscopic experience but those consumers who have 2-D sets and Blu-ray
players will be able to use the discs and view the high def content in 2-D.

"Blu-ray has always been about the very best of high
definition, such as DVD was for standard definition, so one of the requirements
was the need to do 1080p per eye," which produces a higher quality image than
some of the other approaches to stereoscopic video that divide the 1080p signal
in half in order to conserve bandwidth, Parsons said.

Blu-ray's capacity also makes it an ideal medium for delivering
the large files needed for 3-D HD into the home, he added.

"If you think about delivering 50 gigabytes through an
IP connection it doesn't make a lot of sense, especially when you consider that
average bandwidth of broadband home is below 5 megabytes per second," he said.
"We see more content being delivered through streaming IP connections like Netflix
but if everyone in America decided to watch movies online the backbone couldn't
handle it. The optic disc is an ideal vessel for delivering the very best in HD
and 3-D."  

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