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Blu-ray boys finish 1080p 3D spec

Compatible with old players, kind of

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The Blu-ray Disc Association has completed its specification for standardising the inclusion of stereoscopic 3D content on its optical discs.

The material will be presented in resolutions up to and including 1080p. Crucially, the BDA said, it doesn't depend on any specific 3D technology - active-shutter or polarised lens - or display type.

The spec also details how 2D content can be played back on 3D-capable players. It provides a way existing players can take the 3D content and display it in 2D form at 1080p, which will allow Hollywood to release 3D movies in place of 2D version without pissing off the installed base - assuming it doesn't charge a premium for the material, of course.

Speaking of the installed base, the BDA made a special mention of member Sony's games console: "The Blu-ray 3D specification is also designed to allow PS3 game consoles to play back Blu-ray 3D content in 3D."

Sony has already said as much, but it's testament to the consumer electronics giant's power in the BDA that it was the only company to get product placement in the press release.

The BDA's spec mandates encoding 3D video using the Multiview Video Coding (MVC) codec, an extension to the H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) codec currently supported by all Blu-ray Disc players. The specification also incorporates enhanced graphic features to enable menus, subtitles and so on to appear in 3D form.

The BDA said the final specification will be published shortly, paving the way for a blaze of publicity and product announcements at next January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. ®

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