Disney Eyes First 3-D Blu-ray Releases by 2010

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment intends to release its first "theatrical-styled" 3-D Blu-ray Disc releases as early as fourth quarter 2010, to prime people for the expected launch of 3-D-at-home hardware. The studio demoed 3-D clips of its movies at a fan conference held last week in Anaheim, California. Clips included the upcoming theatrical A Christmas Carol, shown on Blu-ray via a 3-D-enabled Panasonic TV and Blu-ray player. The video was encoded using a new version of the AVC codec, dubbed AVC Multi-View Codec (MVC).

Disney hopes to support with titles the hardware launch of 3-D in 2010, when brand name manufacturers Panasonic, Sony, among others will be selling their first stereoscopic 3-D TVs and BD players. Some of Disney's possible candidates for a home 3-D release in 2010 are its movies that will open theatrically in 3-D in spring 2010, such as Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland, which should street on 3-D Blu-ray by the end of that year.

“We'd love to have our 3-D products out as soon as possible, as soon as the holidays 2010,” said Gordon Ho, Disney's executive VP of content, marketing and business development, at the D23 fan conference. “I think 3-D is positioned very well in the theatrical marketplace. And that is creating demand to see it in the home. People are coming out of the demo saying they want to try 3-D in the home. They didn't think that it could look this good in the home. Once people can see this, we know that there is a market for it.”

There is a question of whether people will be motivated to purchase new 3-D high-definition TV sets and Blu-ray players, when many have only recently upgraded to the high-def world. But Ho believes that consumers are starting to get interested in purchasing multiple high-def products for their households.

“More and more people are looking to get another HDTV. Many have their first TV and are looking for their second. Many of those for sale will be 3-D-enabled. We are optimistic about this market.” said Ho.

By Juan Calonge, Blu-ray.com