Are There Any Plans for 3D Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs?

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Q There are two-dozen or so Ultra HD Blu-rays available for purchase, with many more hopefully to come. However, none of the UHD Blu-ray releases are available in 3D, even if the theatrical version was in 3D. Do you know if there are future plans for 3D Ultra HD Blu-rays, or has the home video industry decided to kill off 3D for good? I am aware that not many people care about 3D, though some (myself included) do, so it would be good to know what to expect in the future. —Tomasz Ciecwierz / Warsaw, Poland

A The Ultra HD Blu-ray specification brings plenty of improvements over the old Blu-ray standard: a 4X increase in picture resolution, high dynamic range, wide color gamut with increased color bit depth, and even high-frame-rate (60 fps) video. It also carries over support for the object-based Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtrack formats that have been used for several recent high profile Blu-ray releases.

What the new spec doesn’t support is 3D. There are a number of reasons for this. The main one is that the current Ultra HDTV specification doesn’t support 3D at 2160p resolution, though it’s possible that 3D capability could be added in the future. Another issue is that the 3D movies coming out of Hollywood (such as Mad Max:Fury Roadp are mastered in 2K rather than 4K due to current technical limitations in the post-production process. Finally, with consumer enthusiasm (and, consequently, TV maker support) for home 3D viewing on the wane, there’s little impetus for the home video industry to push for 3D video support in Ultra HD Blu-ray.

While this all may come as bad news for a 3D fan like yourself, new Ultra HD Blu-ray players like Samsung’s UBD-K8500 can play 3D Blu-ray Discs, so backward-compatibility is built in. Also, with 3D theatrical releases still going strong, you should take comfort in knowing there will continue to be 3D releases on regular Blu-ray, though the range of new TVs equipped to support it is likely to be limited to higher-end models from select manufacturers. (Both Vizio and Samsung neglected to include 3D support in their 2016 TVs.)

dommyluc's picture

What about upconversion?
If a 3D Blu-ray disc is upconverted to 4K by a UHD disc player or a UHD-TV (and it seems, from many reviews I have read, that the new UHD disc players and most of the UHD-TVs do a very good job of upping 1080P discs to simulate 4K), what are the results? Is it even possible and, if so, how do the 3D titles look?

davidbe's picture

When watching 3D using passive 3D, you only get half of the resolution per eye, so if you watched a 4K 3D movie on a 4K set you would still only see it in 1080p. Since 4K TVs upscale a 1080p 3D movie to 4K, you get the full 1080p resolution that the regular 3D Blu-ray supports. So either way, you would only get 1080p. You would need an 8K TV to get 4K 3D. Note that this applies only to passive 3D, which is generally nicer with today's 3D Blu-rays provided you have a 4K TV to watch them on.

I have a 4K OLED and the 3D is stunning and I like it better than watching 4K.

mikerr's picture

I know many who say things like, 3D hurts my eyes ! Waaah.
or I don't want to wear the glasses (when they wear glasses !!!)
I personally see 3D as another SENSE ... DEPTH People !!!
oh well. Why don't we ban the color tv as it's too complicated for most to comprehend


The truth must be told: The Magazine Reviewers devoted to audio and video are killing 3D format for Blu-ray, because they simply do not like watching movies with some pop-out effects that in my oppinion help us to enrich the cinematic experience through a total immersion into the 3D action movies. These reviewers prefer to celebrate the common depth of field of the 3D, which turns the movies very boring and stressful and showing no visual surprises at all, but pop -out effects used to be the main hook to attract viewers to watch movies in 3D format. Some Reviewers also trend to do bitter critics about the weight of domestic 3D glasses, however the 3D glasses are lighter than the complete devices to virtual reality that can be used and enjoyed by only one person at a time. We must not ignore about the abusive prices of Blu-ray 3D discs in Brazil either, in the United States and worldwide as well. The mentioned facts have only contributed to the to lack on interest of costumers in 3D home systems. Completing my outburst, I will never get rid of my almost 40 3D BD movies collection, my intention is to enrich it instead!

Markoz's picture

I love 3D movies in the theatre but have been less enthusiastic about 3D on my home TV. For reasons I cannot explain, I simply find 3D on TV fatiguing. For me, when I watch a 3D Blu-Ray there is usually about 15 to 20 minutes of the movie where I think the 3D is amazing, but the rest of the time it is just strangely fatiguing. It might be my TV, (Samsung Plasma 8500 series) but, whatever the reason, it just doesn't do it for me the way it does in the theatre.