Nvidia announces 3D Blu-ray for 2010

Nvidia has announced that 3D Blu-ray movies will begin to appear in the summer of 2010, with devices to play the new films being launched in the Spring.

Mike Jennings
9 Dec 2009

Nvidia has announced that 3D Blu-ray movies will begin appearing in the Summer of 2010.

Ben Berraondo, Nvidia PR manager for the UK and Northern Europe, confirmed that the Blu-ray Association - to which Nvidia is a contributor - had settled on the “proper parameters [for] what constitutes a 3D Blu-ray” and claimed the first 3D Blu-ray films would hit the shelves “towards the end of Summer 2010”.

Nvidia will support the standard through its 3D Vision technology, with Berraondo noting that the new films will use bit rates of around 60Mbits/second – twice that of a standard movie.

Despite this increase in bandwidth, he claimed that HDMI 1.3, which was released in 2006 and last updated in August 2008, “should have sufficient bandwidth” to ensure smooth playback. New files will be encoded using the MVC-AVC format, which is based on the AVC format currently used by Blu-ray movies.

He also said that 3D Blu-ray movies will need screens with refresh rates of 120Hz, double the current standard of 60Hz, and 2x speed Blu-ray drives. As with all of Nvidia's 3D products, shutter glasses will be required to view films.

The new specification raises concerns about the capability of current hardware to play forthcoming 3D releases, with Berraondo confirming that “future Blu-ray equipment will need more powerful chips” to play content smoothly, with “the majority” of major manufacturers set to release “brand new players” next year.

He also hinted that Sony’s PlayStation 3 was the only current player that could “possibly” run 3D Blu-ray content “with a firmware upgrade” thanks to its discrete Nvidia GPU, which is based on the GeForce 7800 architecture.

Despite the new standard demanding that movie aficionados fork out for a new player and 120Hz TV, Berraondo said that sufficiently powerful players will offer “very good value for money” when running on Nvidia’s low-end Fermi GPUs.

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