Coming soon: Downloaded 3D movies at home

Sonic Solutions says it will bring 3D video downloads to PCs and some TVs via its CinemaNow video service.

Erica Ogg Former Staff writer, CNET News
Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.
Erica Ogg
2 min read

The maker of the CinemaNow video service says it wants to start adding 3D movies to its repertoire.

Sonic Solutions is working with Nvidia, Samsung, and Mitsubishi to start delivering video in a variety of 3D formats to PCs and some 3D-capable TVs. Whenever it does become available--which is not clear yet because Sonic isn't ready to discuss which hardware partners it's working with--the movies will be delivered via the same method as the company's CinemaNow service.

3D movie downloads
You'll need these glasses at home if Sonic Solutions' 3D download service gets off the ground. Erica Ogg/CNET

The technology, however, is still new. It will only work with devices with graphics processors optimized for 3D, which mostly means it will work on PCs with 3D-capable monitors. Some Samusng and Mitsubishi TVs that are 3D-enabled might also work. In all cases, you'll still need plastic 3D glasses.

Though Sonic Solutions actually sees Blu-ray as the best way of delivering 3D content, there are several issues holding that up: the technology has not been agreed upon by all the parties that subscribe to that standard. In the meantime, Sonic says its video service will be a great way to fill the gap, since there are a growing number of 3D movies in the theater.

"We see an opportunity to bridge that time gap," said Michael DiMaria, vice president of product management for CinemaNow. "Ultimately, we believe Blu-ray will be the dominant format for the distribution of 3D content. In the meantime, there's plenty of content available and several ways to display it."

Sonic is working closely with Nvidia to ensure that it takes advantage of the company's graphics-processing technology used in many 3D-capable displays so that the videos are properly formatted.

They're also making sure that a variety of 3D display formats can be handled by the CinemaNow delivery service, according to DiMaria.

"People are going to have content from a wide variety of sources--DVDs, downloaded from the Web, Blu-ray, CinemaNow--and they all may be in different formats or different resolutions," he said. "We think anyone who's buying this technology, especially in the early-adopter stages, they're gong to want to throw at it what they can find. We want to make sure our player can play back whatever content someone reasonably has."

While this technology still has a ways to go, 3D is clearly starting to get a bit of momentum. Box office sales have been a success this year, more 3D-enabled TVs are hitting the market, and several companies are working on how to make movies viewable in 3D in the home. That also goes for non-professional content, such as YouTube's nascent efforts to bring 3D to the online video service.