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3D: The New Format War

Posted April 17, 2009 10:23 AM by Josh Dreuth

Blu-ray DiscAt the NABShow this year, which starts tomorrow in Las Vegas, one thing is going to be very clear - 3D Blu-ray is no closer to being a reality than it was last year. Unfortunately, the problem - once again - comes down to too many companies wanting to use their own standard for 3D home presentation. For DVD, it took so long to decide on a single 3D format - until January of this year - that no one seems to care. Unfortunately, 3D on Blu-ray may be positioning itself for a similar failure.

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) is expected to being talks on a standardized 3D format this summer, but that will likely have to wait to be published until mid-2010. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is also working on their own, separate standard which would make the choice of 3D technology irrelevant. Brian Markwalter, VP of Technology and Standards at CEA explains, "You want to mix and match with the least amount of pain and make them independent of how the studios mastered the content and whether it got there through a Blu-ray disc or (another delivery system)."

Meanwhile, consumer electronics manufacturers are moving forward with their own technology. Panasonic made the biggest splash at this year's CES by showing off their working 3D Blu-ray technology, but it is unlikely that other manufacturers would willingly adapt the specs (and pay Panasonic royalty fees). JVC and Mitsubishi have 3D HDTVs on the market, but neither have plans for providing a player (of any format) to generate the content. Sony is not commenting at all.

The one group that could help drive a standard is the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), but they too are stepping quietly in the 3D arena. Andy Parson, spokesperson for the BDA, stated, "We are interested in studying the possibilities of joining together the best high-definition technology with 3-D applications to create a superior consumer home theater experience." He was, however, unable to provide a date when such a study may start.

With a year lead-time required to put 3D products in the market place, it is now unlikely we will see a 3D Blu-ray standard approved before next year, and therefore, no products before 2011. And by then, it may already be too late.


Source: Variety | Permalink | United States [Country settings]

News comments (45 comments)


amason
 - Apr 17, 2009

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The HDDVD and Blu-ray Format war just came to an end not that long ago. I don't think manufacturers are going to jump right into a new format war very quickly. I think it will take a few more years before this will get off the ground.

Korvac
 - Apr 17, 2009

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3D still feels like a gimmick to me.

mustang-gt-2002
 - Apr 17, 2009

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hope the new Blu-ray 3-D will be better then what it is right now.

bpmford
 - Apr 17, 2009

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Every 3D movie I've watched on DVD has looked like crap. Not having seen Journey to the Center of the Earth (which I believe came out on 3D blu), I hope that if other go 3D, they will look better than they have in the past.

I have seen my share of movies in the theater in 3D, most recently Monsters vs. Aliens, and I do admit that they look amazing. Could that quality be matched on Blu-ray in your house? Guess we will see.

mustang-gt-2002
 - Apr 17, 2009

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"Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D" not any better then "JAWS 3-D" you are not missing anything.

andyman1970
 - Apr 17, 2009

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Meh...Not really interested in 3D at home. Like Korvac said, feels like a gimmick.

obriensg1
 - Apr 17, 2009

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At home sucks. Even at the movies, while cool, the colors aren't what they should be.

sjy1969
 - Apr 17, 2009

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I for one won't shed any tears if nothing happens before 2011. Market share against DVD seems to be stuck in the 8-13 range so the last thing they need to be doing is discouraging people from buying current players for fear of them soon becoming obsolete.

In terms of 3D films that I have watched, my concern will be the temptation to include gratuitous 3D "wow" shots for nothing other than their own sake that add nothing to the film or story. Nothing I've seen so far has overly impressed me, at least on the small screen.

blokhed
 - Apr 17, 2009

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I'm excited for the possibilities of 3D (mostly because of Cameron's upcoming Avatar), but a new format war will suck and I will once again stay out of it until a victor is declared. Stupid, guys.

mrbmarco
 - Apr 17, 2009

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Forget 3D--- Just start filming movies in 65mm.

Blu_Beast
 - Apr 17, 2009

Show comment

Ashamed Pegasus
 - Apr 17, 2009

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It's really amazing how far movie technology has come over these years, yet 3-D looks as terrible as it always has... JTTCOTE was unwatchable in 3-D...

EvolutionCherry
 - Apr 17, 2009

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Eh. That's really all I can say about this.

Titanicfave
 - Apr 17, 2009

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I just hope that when Coraline hits blu-ray, that it's displayed in 3D, or just an option of both~3D or 2D.

devilnamedBuena
 - Apr 17, 2009

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3D is a gimmick. It only makes movies you wouldn't normally care for worth seeing in a fun theater environment. You can't duplicate that at home. Unless you have your own movie theater at home of course. And, NO, a 60" screen is not an equivalent.

Bobby Henderson
 - Apr 17, 2009

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The electronics companies have to get past the "Chicken vs. Egg" problems with hardware (compatible HDTV sets, 3D capable Blu-ray players, etc.) and develop a game plan on the software side.

I think the software issue will be more simple to solve. They release a 48fps alternating camera eye view version. I think they'll have to do 3D releases on different discs than the 2D version. Otherwise we'll be stuck with single layer BD-25 video quality on a lot of these things.

The hardware situation is just a mess. One thing is certain, the technology will go absolutely nowhere if it cannot work in the form factor of a flat panel television. I'm not optimistic 3D will work with anymore than a tiny percentage of existing HDTV sets now in use. Most people will just have to buy new hardware to get 3D.

ryoohki
 - Apr 17, 2009

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I'll like 3D once their get rid of Eye Shore, Dizyness etc.. I still got plenty of those when i watch one in theater... so that's why i didn't for 10 months now..

DVDave
 - Apr 17, 2009

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3D is so 1950's. It didn't work in the 80's either. I don't know what makes them think it will work now with crude 20th century technology. Until somebody develops holographic projection, they should just abandon this gimmicky technology. I'd rather look through a Viewmaster.

surfdude12
 - Apr 17, 2009

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Journey to the Center of the Earth wasn't bad - but I didn't need any new hardware to see it.

If they do 3D, why don't they just come out with Blu-ray's in 3D, without new hardware, and let the consumer choose whether they want to buy it? without forcing more $$$ on new hardware? that won't fly.

Stlsports
 - Apr 17, 2009

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Yeah the heck with 3D at home IMO. IMAX filming should be used more. I know the cameras are huge and noisy but Dark Knight crew got through it. It was amazing in the theater and is amazing in 1080p at home!

kuliddar
 - Apr 17, 2009

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This product is too much of a gimmick. Not only that but it comes at the conclusion of a format war and at a time where people have begun to already have a blu-ray player. I'm not sure if these people read the news but were are in a recession, people won't buy new hardware when they just got it a few months or even a couple years ago.

This whole 3D thing, imo, is a waste of resources for the home entertainment industry. The niche market will be so small that it will likely kill itself within 3 years. Honestly, 3D in theaters isn't even that great when you really think about it.

This makes me think of those new d-box seats at the theater. Ugh...makes me want to stop going to the theaters all together.

Gohanto
 - Apr 17, 2009

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I'm a fan of 3-D and really think it can help bring a more immersive experience when used subtly (thought that's rarely been the case and it'll certainly get abused, but no more than shaky cam is now). For action scenes it can be a great help making things easier to follow and much more exciting to watch (the opening scene of Bolt was an awesome example of this imo).

Electric_Haggis
 - Apr 17, 2009

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"Forget 3D--- Just start filming movies in 65mm."

Now that, I agree with. Although 65mm is unlikely to come back in vogue, we may see a few more IMAX-sourced films, thanks mostly to Dark Knight (I'm sure Chris Nolan will push to shoot the third Batty film entirely in the format).

4K is probably the next best thing (thanks mostly to the RED Camera), and we should see more of this as post-production workflow and 4K distribution gradually catches up... gradually.

That said, better to have 3D than to not. Cameron and Avatar will probably help boost its popularity in the non-kidddy-flick department, but it's very hard to see it becoming commonplace outside of "event" films.


The problems with the 3D films I've seen so far are:

1. Too much brightness lost when wearing the glasses, making a silver screen necessary.

2. Seating position and distance become even more critical than they are now.

3. 24 frames a second just doesn't cut it. To reduce the strobing and really make the image pop (and boost brightness), you need at least double that.

Saturnas
 - Apr 17, 2009

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I like 3D, but i never saw it at home, only in theatre...

nathanp
 - Apr 18, 2009

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After seeing what can be done with 3D in Monsters Vs. Aliens, I'm certain that it's here to stay and in 5 years from now, we'll wonder how we ever went without it.

chriharr
 - Apr 18, 2009

Show comment

snickerskicker
 - Apr 18, 2009

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"After seeing what can be done with 3D in Monsters Vs. Aliens, I'm certain that it's here to stay and in 5 years from now, we'll wonder how we ever went without it."


But you're talking about seeing a 3D movie in a theatre. This article is about making 3D blu ray movies for our homes. 3D at home and 3D at the movie theatre are two very different things. Either way, like others have stated, they're just gimmicks to get people to see movies they wouldn't normally see. Do you honestly think My Bloody Valentine or Monsters vs. Aliens would have been as popular if they weren't 3D? I think Coraline has been the only decent movie made with this technology as of this writing.

davidthenikonuser
 - Apr 18, 2009

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When ever I try to watch a 3D movie at home is never works. Well not on any of my TV's.

DIY_HD
 - Apr 19, 2009

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3D likely will have the same fate as quadraphonic audio. Never heard of quadraphonic audio? My point exactly. 20 years from now, no one will have have 3D either.

phoenixandrew
 - Apr 19, 2009

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Oh please, not another format war! I just upgraded my TV to HDTV and DVD player to Blu-ray last Christmas. I'm not willing to upgrade again.

Minimejer05
 - Apr 19, 2009

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I like 3d in the theater but not sure how i would like it at home.

lokir1
 - Apr 19, 2009

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to be honest havent seen ne of the "new 3d technology" being used in theaters now but 3d was always a gimmick in theaters and just plain crap for home aplications im not at all interested as a consumer in 3d for my home regardless of the economy's standings right now but the tech just isnt beleivable for the home and because wtf am i supp to do with my lcd and plasmas now? sell em for 1/2 what i paid to put towards 3d tv's and players? plz this tech's doomed and dead before she even gets runnin out the gate like dvd 3d jus my honest opinion

RIKANA
 - Apr 19, 2009

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If I had to pick, it would be a tie with DD 3D or TureHD. Both have little to know ghost imaging.

RI

tall_guy
 - Apr 19, 2009

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I have never seen a 3D movie and I can't imagine myself seeing one anytime soon.

dzirzow
 - Apr 20, 2009

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I think we are all going to wind up with 2 "tv" viewing sources in our homes. We will maintain smaller (under 30") tv screens to give us basic TV (news, etc) while we multi-task on cumputers, clean, care for kids, etc.

Then we will have our "entertainment" source. This will be our entertainment room, mini-home theater set-up. At least 7.1 sound, with HD probably projected on a wall giving us immersing 3D along with moving seating (d-box). This may include down the road 4D (think Disney Muppet 3d in Orlando) with sometype of "effects' box shooting air, scents, etc.

Polar express in IMAX 3D is amazing. However, you need a huge screen like a movie theater to naturally blacken out surrounding images of a room and letting your mind go into this type of perception mode. Think of slightly rolling in your seat or sofa with Johnny Depp in a Pirates movie and that long surround bar under the screen is an effect box with silent fans pushing a slight "breeze" in our face.

Once again, we do not need the sensory overload for the news. But we will want it for watching our feature movies.

Frumious Boojum
 - Apr 20, 2009

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Stuff like d-box is basically for the Home Theater enthusiast -- those that have a room dedicated to this kind of stuff.

However, 3-D in the home is an application that can come in the normal, everyday home setting.

One thing everybody needs to realize is that 3-D does not necessarily mean we will need to wear glasses in order to view. Technology has advanced enough that 3-D is viewable from TVs and monitors without the need for glasses of any kind. However, most current applications haven't been very good for viewing by more than one person. They basically work on the same principals as most lenticular prints -- great for viewing by one person from the center of the image, but things can get distorted if we're too far left or right of the image. As usual, the best solution is usually to create the image out of more than two sources -- most lenticular cameras use 3-5 lenses, but some cameras can have around 20 lenses.

Of course, this doesn't work for almost 100% of movies ever filmed in 3-D...

But, technology is improving rapidly.

People just need to realize a couple of things -- 1) the 3-D booms of 1955 and 1985 was a failure because of way too many movies created as 3-D for the sake of 3-D; and 2) Home 3-D doesn't even have to have glasses.

I'm not a fan of the use of anaglyphic imaging in color at all. In order for the movie to look good, the colors need to be adjusted from the natural form to compensate for the use of colored lenses. A lot of current home 3-D systems (standard definition) suffer from the use of rather bad interlacing as well as a lack of decent movies available (legally).

I'm rather excited for the day when we can see the good classics (like House of Wax) in good 3-D at home as well as be able to relive some of the best 3-D films being made today without having to rely on red/cyan lenses.

3-D will become a success at home when people allow it to... no sooner, no later.

jonb
 - Apr 20, 2009

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S3D if done correctly will be a great boon to bluray. The technology is really amazing. The problem is lack of a standard. There are very good potential standards such as TDVisions, or Panasonics, and many bad ones. Most of these standards allow use of current bluray players.

Unfortunately as some of these post show. People know almost nothing about modern S3D. They feel it is the gimmicky anaglyph (weird colored lenses) or poorly setup polarized movies of that past they caused headaches and other problems. Unfortunately few people have seen or even know what modern S3D for the home is. If you really want to learn more go to www.mtbs3d.com and ask around.

michaelkrah
 - Apr 20, 2009

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Good 3D is amazing and pushes the audience from the "only watching level" to the "become a part of the scene level". This is a greater step then increasing the resolution from 2K to 4K (which is also good but needs more storage).
And it is not a question of "to die or not to die". You get one bluray disc, and you (and your equipment) will decide if you watch the movie in 2D or 3D.

I can't wait to have it in my home. With good movies in 3D (surely all the animation movies)!
(please excuse my terrible english)

whiteboy70176
 - Apr 20, 2009

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Never cared for 3-D anyway. Just keep the movies coming, and I'm happy.

4K2K
 - Apr 21, 2009

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Why is this only relevant to the USA? Won't Europe be getting 3D Blu-ray as well?

HydraShok
 - Apr 21, 2009

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I saw Monsters vs Aliens in IMAX 3D and while there were minor issues from time to time, I thought the depth made the movie much more engaging. I would be happy to have something like that at home, especially if we could lose the glasses. I don't find it to be gimmicky, my vision is 3d, why not my movies (if the problems are solved). We don't settle for stereo, we want surround which is much closer to real life than stereo is, this is not different IMO.

aktonin
 - Apr 21, 2009

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I say, if we have to get new players, then they should use triple or quadruple layer blu-ray disks. That way we can have pure 1080p for each eye at a nice high bitrate.

Now to ALL of you who say 3d looks disgusting.
That's because of how the directors used it! Imagine if when the first colour films came out that they flashed bright red and blue and green on the screen even though it has nothing to do with the story. That's what makes 3d films bad. Zooming in and out. But 3d doesn't have to be used like that.

Go and watch the lastest non blue/red 3d films. The ones that use polerized glasses or flick the right and left eye, then you can rubbish them.
The new 3d technology can't be compared to those old 3d glasses.
The colour and definition is great... that is.. if BOTH of your eyes are in good condition.

I saw journey to the centre of the earth in a dolby 3d cinema.
The movie sucked, but the 3d was outstanding.
There was this glowing blue bird that flew right up to my face, about 6 inchs from my face seriously. Then it flew back to the screen and flew right through it flying miles away.

If the movie was good. 3d would make it awesome.

steve1971
 - Apr 21, 2009

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I think Journey To The Center Of The Earth on blu in 3D was pretty cool. I liked it so I would like to see 3D come to the blu ray format. But I dont think it will happen anytime soon. But when it does its gonna be very cool.

Jazz :-)
 - Apr 26, 2009

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Did not pay much attention (from working at our booth) to the daily line of people waiting to enter the small Panasonic 3-D BD presentation last week at the NAB, but finally two of our coworkers came back screaming "you got to see this NOW!!" I can assure you would be hard pressed to identify more cynical and jaded people than us, so still somewhat in a lazy way I made it to the line in a "standby" status. as this was the very last show on Thursday and Panasonic in last few seconds produced another tray full of flickering glasses. We stood to the side, inside the "Panatent" and I wore the silly plastic spectacles not well designed for layered application.
The 8-minute show started with a live feed from the Panasonic booth and it was rather spooky in its phenomenal 3-D presence. We still joked with uuhs, and aahs, this being the last day for all to work over the next clip of 3 teenage girl dancing and singing, but you got to take my word for it if this did not wake you up, we as grumpy broadcasters were no match for the chinese drummers and the "UP' clip from Disney. Really cool!

ArkonPhoenix
 - Apr 28, 2009

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I could care less for about 3D, I will reserve that style of imagery for Theme Parks. Heck, I don't even want to see Toy Story 3 in 3D, as I do not want to wear some bulky glasses for 2 hours and get an eye strain. Beowolf was bad enough back when I saw that is digital 3D.

now while the home technology is to make the illusion doesn't require glasses, I still see it as many others have stated it as a gimmick.


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