3D Blu-ray player roundup--what you need to know

CNET rounds up all the 3D Blu-ray news at CES 2010 and boils it down to the most important facts.

Panasonic's DMP-BDT350 was the best 3D Blu-ray player we saw at CES 2010, as its dual HDMI outputs make it easier to integrate with existing AV receivers.
Panasonic's DMP-BDT350 was the best 3D Blu-ray player we saw at CES 2010, as its dual HDMI outputs make it easier to integrate with existing AV receivers. Panasonic

CES 2010 isn't over for a few more days, but the big news regarding 3D Blu-ray players is out. There hasn't been many specifics announced, but we've broken down the most important details below.

Four standalone 3D Blu-ray players were announced

The four 3D Blu-ray players announced are the Panasonic DMP-BDT350 , Samsung BD-C3900 , Sony BDP-S770 and Toshiba BDX3000 . Sony also announced the BDV-HZ970W home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) system with a built-in 3D Blu-ray player. Samsung announced a 3D Blu-ray HTIB but didn't have a specific model name.

The Panasonic DMP-BDT350 is the only player with dual HDMI outputs

That's important because 3D Blu-ray players will use the new HDMI 1.4 standard, and existing AV receivers only support HDMI 1.3. That means you won't be able easily connect a new 3D Blu-ray player to an existing AV receiver. With the DMP-BDT350, you can send the high-bandwidth 3D video directly to the display and the audio directly to the AV receiver. It seems like the best option if you don't plan on buying a new HDMI 1.4 receiver.

No pricing or release dates have been announced

The only release date we've heard is "Summer 2010" for Sony's BDP-S770. And nobody is talking prices.

The PS3 will play 3D Blu-rays after a firmware update--and Sony claims it can handle full 1080p resolution

We don't doubt Sony's claim that the PS3 will be able to playback 3D Blu-ray movies after a firmware update, but we're definitely skeptical that it will do it at full resolution. A Sony representative emphatically told us that we'll get "full 1080p resolution to each eye", but we're under the impression that full 3D 1080p resolution requires HDMI 1.4--and the PS3 only has HDMI 1.3. Either way, it's the only existing Blu-ray player we've heard is getting a 3D update.

You need a new 3D-compatible TV and glasses

The new 3D Blu-ray format uses active shutter 3D glasses and requires one of the new 3D HDTVs that have been announced at CES 2010. Some manufacturers are bundling the glasses with the new TVs, some aren't, and we've heard the going rate for the glasses will be around $100. We don't think 3D Blu-ray will work with older DLP HDTVs that were billed as 3D--or at least not at the full resolution.

Don't expect more than a handful of 3D Blu-ray movies in 2010

Sony is promising "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" by summer 2010, Disney says "A Christmas Carol" by the fourth quarter, and Dreamworks says "Monsters vs. Aliens" in 2010--and that's about it. More announcements could be coming, but we're betting there won't be many 3D Blu-ray titles in 2010.

Everything is subject to change

Like we said, there weren't a lot of specifics announced and until we get some hands-on testing with these products, we can't be 100 percent certain about any of the information. Once these 3D Blu-ray players start coming out, we'll have a better idea about whether the new technology is worth it.

 

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