The Blu-ray optical disc format that was originally developed in 2000 and designed to eventually replace the DVD. Blu-ray discs can hold 25 gigabytes of data per layer, and most feature films use dual layer discs. In December of 2009, the Blu-ray Disc Association announced official 3D specifications for Blu-ray discs. This allows 3-D movies and 3-D television programming to be distributed on Blue-ray discs and allow home viewers with 3D displays to enjoy 3-D programming.
To display a three-dimensional image, 3D displays must show two concurrent images, one for each eye. The special glasses that viewers wear ensure that each eye only sees the image that is intended for it. Having separate images for each eye essentially means that the movie must be stored twice on the Blue-ray disc, once for each eye. The 3D specification for Blue-ray discs calls for high definition 1080P resolution video for both the left and right eye views.
The 3D specification for Blue-ray discs makes use of the MVC (Multiview Video Coding) Codec. The MVC codec uses an optimized MPEG4 video compression technique to store video data.This MVC codec is able to compress the 3D video signal to 50 percent of the overhead used when compared to similar two-dimensional content. The 3D specification also allows for enhanced graphic features in 3D. Menus and subtitles can now be displayed in three dimensions.
The Blu-ray Disc Association has addressed backwards compatibility in 3D Blue-ray discs and forthcoming 3D players in the 3D specification for Blue-ray Discs. Current 2D Blue-ray players will be able to play 3D Blue-ray discs in 2D mode. 3D Blue-ray players will be able to play older, non 3D discs in 2D mode as well. Existing Blue-ray discs will be compatible with all future 3D and 2D Blue-ray players.
The 3D specification for Blue-ray discs was specifically designed to allow PlayStation 3 consoles to play Blue-ray content in 3D. This is notable because it allows a large number of Blue-ray players already installed in homes to be upgraded to allow 3D playback. In April on 2010, Sony release a firmware update for their PlayStation 3 console. The version 3.30 system update prepared the system for future 3D stereoscopic gaming and video playback using the console's Blue-ray drive.