3D DVDs Get Approval; Warner To Go Multi-Format

Dennis Faas's picture

3D movies could be a feature in home theatres as early as next year, thanks to a new agreement. It comes as one movie studio gets set to simplify the options available to movie-goers.

The Blu-ray Disc Association, the main industry body behind the format, has agreed to a specification for incorporating three-dimensional video into discs. The group is keeping its options open; the system only deals with the creation of the 3D image, not the way it is viewed.

3D Discs Store Two Versions of Movie

The technical details of the system will be sent out to disc producers shortly. It effectively involves storing two versions of the movie, one for each eye, which is displayed at the same time.

What happens next isn't laid down by the specifications. At the moment, it's most likely people will use some form of 3D glasses. However, the system deliberately leaves open the possibility of using different styles of glasses, some with automatic filtering, or even designing special screens which don't need any glasses.

New-Style Discs Backwards Compatible

Though there are two sets of video information, the 3D content should only take up 50 per cent more space than a 2D movie, which means that it will fit on standard Blu-ray discs. The system is also set-up so that discs with 3D content still play on standard Blu-ray players, though of course only in two-dimensions. (Source: arstechnica.com)

There's no confirmation yet of when the first 3D titles will be released. However, this year's animated movie Up and the forthcoming Avatar would both be likely candidates for attracting interest in the technology when they get home releases.

Avatar director James Cameron says the initial Blu-ray release of the movie probably won't be in 3D, but that he expects it to be re-released in that format once enough homes have the technology to make it worthwhile.

Warner Offers Three-For-One Packages

Meanwhile, Warner Home Video has announced that all its Blu-ray releases from next year will also include both a standard DVD copy of the movie along with a version designed for playing on computers and handheld devices such as the iPod. The new "combo packs" will retail for the same price level currently used for exclusively Blu-ray discs. (Source: afterdawn.com)

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