HDMI 1.3 Gear Will Work with 3D

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Remember how we've been telling you not to buy a new Blu-ray player, to wait until new 3D Blu-ray players with HDMI 1.4 connectors become available?

Well, forget all that.

The HDMI Licensing group has solved at least the Blu-ray side of the 3D problem. All devices with HDMI 1.3 and an upgrade connection method — Blu-ray Live decks (including PS3), satellite receivers and cable set-top boxes — can be upgraded to output 3D.

However, as with all things, there's a catch. Keep reading to see what you'll be giving up.

Unfortunately, you'll still need a new HDMI 1.4-enabled 3D HDTV to see the 3D effect. It's necessary because those HDTVs have dual-scanning capabilities: They can display near-simultaneous frames, one for each eye, to create the 3D illusion. Current HDTVs are only single-scan.

And you won't get full 1080p 3D via an upgraded HDMI 1.3 box, either — just half or quarter resolution, depending on the source. HDMI 1.3 isn't powerful enough to stream near-simultaneous 1080p frames. From a full 1080p source such as Blu-ray or a satellite receiver, you'll instead get dual 1080i images to create 3D; from a cable box, you'll get dual 540i images. I've been told the difference between full 1080p 3D and 540i 3D is essentially the difference between Blu-ray and DVD, which for most people is not that big of a difference. I still think you'll want at least a 65-inch 3D HDTV, though, to really get an immersive 3D experience.

If you've got a non-BD Live player, you're SOL. But for everyone who just bought a Blu-ray Live player, breathe easier — you just saved yourself around $400 and you're halfway to viewing Avatar at home next spring.

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