LCD and plasma displays, Blu-ray players, PCs and game consoles have all received 3D capabilities over the last few months. Why not set-top boxes? That’s what Syabas is saying. The makers of the popular Popcorn Hour series of Network Media Tanks and upcoming PopBox network media player will issue a firmware update allowing for playback of 3D videos in the RealD format compatible with most 3D displays.
The Syabas product line will be using the RealD side-by-side 3D format, which is compatible with most 3D and 3D-capable displays.
Playback will require native 3D content, however, and the devices won’t have 2D-to-3D capabilities of any sort. “3D streaming content partners are on the way, we just can’t say who yet,” says Syabas CEO Alex Limberis.
Beyond online content, the Popcorn Hour C200, which can house an optional Blu-ray drive, will also be capable of playing 3D Blu-ray discs. Unfortunately, since only the RealD side-by-side format is supported, 3D Blu-ray content will be half-resolution.
If you’re the file “backup” type, the A200 and PopBox will be able to play 3D Blu-ray .m2ts files as well.
See the press release below for more details.
POPBOX™ LEVERAGES REALD TECHNOLOGY TO BRING 3D CINEMA EXPERIENCE TO HDTVs
PopBox now accepting pre-orders via Amazon
Fremont, CA (May 21, 2010)-PopBox™ today announced that in tandem with RealD Inc., a leading 3D technology provider for cinema, home and professional applications, it will equip all PopBox devices with the ability to display high-definition 3D content. PopBox is the first over-the-top set-top box to support the stereoscopic RealD Format for the delivery and display of high-quality 3D content. PopBox will ship 3D-ready at launch, so consumers can enjoy 3D content on all 3D-ready HDTVs.
PopBox makes it simple and affordable to play all the movies, music, home videos, and photos from your home PC and network-connected devices, and content streamed from the Internet, on your HDTV. PopBox will be available soon, and is currently available to pre-order at Amazon.com. PopBox retails for $129.99, and PopBox Wireless for $149.99.
PopBox builds on the success of Syabas’ award-winning Popcorn Hour lineup of Network Media Tanks, the Popcorn Hour A-200 and C-200. All Popcorn Hour A and C series devices will also have access to the RealD Format to enable 3D viewing.
“We’re thrilled that PopBox has licensed the RealD Format to enable its community to enjoy high-definition 3D content,” said Steve Shannon, EVP of Consumer Electronics at RealD.
The RealD Format is a patented side-by-side method of delivering 3D video. The RealD Format combines left eye and right eye 3D image streams into a single channel for delivery of high-definition progressive or interlaced 3D video using today’s Internet or broadcast infrastructure, including existing PCs, HD set-top boxes and DVRs, to any 3D-enabled display type.
“This is an excellent opportunity for PopBox and Popcorn Hour to bring our community an amazing experience, and spectacular 3D content in the home,” said Alex Limberis, COO, PopBox. “Content created in 3D should be enjoyed in 3D. Leveraging the RealD Format gives our community a new dimension of HDTV entertainment right out of the gate.”
The PopBox platform will be 3D-ready beginning at launch. As new 3D content is available, consumers can enjoy the 3D experience in the home, on their 3D-ready HDTVs. The Popcorn Hour A-200 and C-200 will be field-upgradeable to enable 3D playback.
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Stephen Hopkins is chief technology editor for EH Publishing. He writes product reviews, features, and focuses heavily on 3D TV, iPhone and iPad apps, and digital content.