ATI and Cyberlink support Blu-ray Stereoscopic 3D

Expensive niche standard on an expensive niche standard

Blu-ray logo iconATI IS GETTING on board the Blu-ray Stereoscopic 3D train before it even exists. Lets hear it for an expensive and mostly useless standard that adds on to a expensive and mostly useless standard known for customer abuse.

Before you wonder what I am talking about, the short PR blurb is that DAAMIT is going to show off Blu-Ray Stereoscopic 3D demos at CES along with Cyberlink. They say it will be in Grand Lobby 8 and 10 (GL8 and GL10 in CES map-speak). Be still my beating heart.

I am not worried about functionality. Between ATI and Cyberlink, they have the best video decode hardware and top notch software to do it. There are however two big problems, one fixable, the other not.

The fixable one is the Blu-Ray Stereoscopic 3D (BS3D) standard, or lack thereof. There is no BS3D standard yet, and there won’t be for a while. DAAMIT is a member of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), and is working on the standard, but it won’t be out until late next year at the earliest. Given the abject failure of any BDA standard to come out even remotely on time so far, I won’t hold my breath.

Added to this is that you will likely need a very expensive TV, some expensive glasses, and your BD player will probably not be compatible. Although compatibility is not known yet, there is no standard, the BDA burned almost all the early adopters while telling them that they were really enjoying the pain.

Profile 2.0 instantly outdated almost every pre-2.0 player out there, and BS3D will likely do the same to current players. As a hint to the BDA, the way to build a market is not to abuse your customers.

That brings us to the other problems with this spec. Most BD players force a net connection by timing out the encryption keys essentially bricking the player if you don’t update them. This forced march to new firmware updates is a process often described as annoying to painful depending on your particular penchant for burning ISOs to flash your player every few months for no reason.

If you connect to the net, it does it ‘automagically’, as long as the company that made it supports the player, but those problems won’t hit for another year or two. That same connection phones home, and rats you out. What you play, when you play it, what you watch, and every button you press is sent back to… well, who knows?

What can you do to stop it? Nothing, the BDA doesn’t give you that option, they don’t even tell you that they are doing it. If you opt out by pulling the plug on the net, you have to manually update the firmware every so often for no particular reason. Also, you lose out on all the ‘extras’ that are on the disc, making the consequences of doing so quite negative.

In effect, you are forced to give up all your data, your privacy, and all the data you don’t want out or the BDA will retroactively brick your player or you will lose access to a lot of the content you paid for. Wonderful world, you pay them, they abuse you and your rights.

With the advent of a new standard, BS3D, the BDA will undoubtedly make it a superset of the older Profile 2.0, meaning a mandatory net connection. That means unavoidable spying, and unavoidable customer abuse. If you are missing the point, the customer here would be you.

In the end, ATI supporting the BS3D standard is likely because they have to, same with Cyberlink. Actually, replace BS3D standard with BS3D wishful thinking, and you are much closer to the point. Between that, the fundamental evils of Blu-ray, and soon to be obsoleted hardware, you have to wonder if there is a point to BS3D. I can’t see it, bit DAAMIT will support it first, Cyberlink will support it as well, and you can be assured that there will be an announcement from Nvidia in 3…..2…..1……S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate