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Blu-ray's 3D spec isn't what it could be

Ben Drawbaugh

While 3D is all the rage at CES this year, we learned today from the BDA that one of the biggest sources of 3D content isn't what it could be. The first thing that could, should, be better is the limited support for frame rates. Movies have been recorded at 24 frames per second for longer than our parents have been alive, and for about the same amount of time we've had to endure frame rate interpolation to make movies play back on our 30Hz TVs -- you know, like 3:2 pull-down. That changed recently with 120hz LCDs and 72Hz plasmas because those numbers share a common denominator with 24 (so the same frame is just shown three or four times). When choosing an 3D HDTV it is important to understand how the TV displays 24 fps 3D content, don't just asume it does it without 3:2 pull down. But honestly the worst part is that some 3D cameras can capture 3D at higher frame rates and even if the director wanted to, the new 3D Blu-ray spec doesn't support it. The other issue we take with the new spec is that contrary to early reports, it is possible to create a 3D Blu-ray Disc that won't play on 2D only players. This next one isn't a big deal, but still disappointing is that even if the creator goes through the trouble to encode the movie in both formats, depending on the HDTV, you may have no choice but to watch it in 3D -- say if you lost your glasses or whatever. Now don't get us wrong we're pretty excited about the new 3D technology, but the way we see it is that anything worth doing, is worth doing right the first time.

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