New system will work with any 3D-capable display, and discs will be back-compatible with existing hardware

The Blu-ray Disc Association has announced the final specification for Blu-ray 3D, thus setting the standard for the hardware expected next year from a range of consumer electronics companies.

The specification will allow Full HD 1080p resolution to each eye, will work with any compatible 3D display, and mandates that the new discs must be back-compatible with existing Blu-ray players.

That means 3D discs and players will work with LCD screens, plasmas and any other 3D-compatble display technology, regardless of how the manufacturer chooses to deliver 3D to the viewer.

That covers the various 'glasses' methods already shown, as well as the 'no glasses' displays already shown by some manufacturers in prototype form.

The BDA describes the specification as 'display agnostic', and says it's also designed to allow PlayStation 3 games consoles to play back 3D content in 3D – to date, Sony has only talked about 3D gaming on the PS3.2D playback compatibilityIn addition, it supports playback of 2D discs in forthcoming 3D players and can also enable 2D playback of Blu-ray 3D discs on the huge number of Blu-ray Disc players already in use around the world.

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The Blu-ray 3D specification will encode 3D video using the Multiview Video Coding (MVC) codec, an extension to the ITU-T H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) codec currently supported by all Blu-ray Disc players.

This compresses both left and right eye views with a typical 50% overhead compared to equivalent 2D content, and can provide full 1080p resolution backward compatibility with current 2D Blu-ray Disc players.

It also makes possible enhanced graphic features for 3D, enabling navigation using 3D graphic menus and displaying 3D subtitles positioned in 3D video.

Victor Matsuda, chairman of the BDA's Global Promotions Committee, says that "We think the broad and rapid acceptance Blu-ray Disc already enjoys with consumers will be a factor in accelerating the uptake of 3D in the home.

"In the meantime, existing players and libraries can continue to be fully enjoyed as consumers consider extending into 3D home entertainment."Follow on Twitter