Three-dimensional television took a big step forward Thursday with the finalization of a standard for Blu-ray disc machines.
The Blu-ray Disc Assn. announced it had reached agreement on the long-awaited standard that allows for full 1080p viewing of 3-D movies on TVs. Blu-ray disc players that use the standard will be delivering two images, each in full resolution, to create the effect.
Details on the first Blu-ray machines equipped for full-on 3-D are expected at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January and then be available later in the year. It's also expected that recent 3-D movies such as "Avatar," which opens today, will be coming out in formats that can be played by the new disc machines.
Current Blu-ray players aren't able to handle the new format, but the upcoming 3-D machines are expected to be backward compatible in that they'll be able to show regular, 2-D discs.
Three-dimensional TV is nothing new -- there have been several attempts at distributing 3-D movies and other entertainment for home use. But the relatively low-resolution of the images made for results that were less than satisfactory. The industry is hoping that the new standard will help 3-D at home finally take off.
But there's one thing the new standard can't solve -- it still requires the use of special glasses to see the images in 3-D. Without them, programming in 3-D is just a blur.
In another 3-D TV development Thursday, Sony Corp. said it had formed a partnership with RealD, a Los Angeles company whose 3-D technology is being used in nearly 5,000 movie theaters. RealD will make the glasses used with 3-D-compatible Sony sets.
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