Is Your HDMI-Connected Gear Ready for 3D? Page 2

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Illustration by Raquel Chilson

What about other Blu-ray players? And what about cable and satellite DVRs, HDTVs, etc.? Will they handle 3D? That's a gray area roughly the size of the Orion Nebula (24 light years across). DirectTV says its satellite receivers will be 3D-ready, requiring only a firmware update to deliver 3D video in the "side-by-side" format the company plans to deliver. Note that A/V receivers are also problematic because v1.3 models will not pass full 1080p-rez 3D signals from 3D Blu-ray Disc players. So, with a few exceptions, you can't count on older devices to provide any 3D compatibility, let alone full HD 3D resolution. If you're thinking of going 3D, I wouldn't recommend buying v1.3 stuff.

And now, the latest wrinkle (told you this was going to be bumpy): In March 2010, the v1.4a specification was released. It adds support for additional 3D formats for broadcast TV content.

HDMI will certainly be the glue that holds together your future gear. If you want them to freely converse, to make sure your new device is completely up to date and genuinely 3D-ready, you should look for v1.4a, right? Not so fast.

The HDMI licensing organization now discourages manufacturers from labeling products with HDMI versions (such as v1.4) unless they also list the specific HDMI features that are supported (See: HDMI.org). A lot of manufacturers won't bother; they'll just say the devices has an HDMI port.

So how do you make sure you new device supports 3D? Cross your fingers, put on the glasses and see if anything jumps out at you. Okay, you can loosen your seatbelt now.

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