/ Technology

Where are all the true 3D Blu-rays?

Animated people wearing 3D glasses

If you’re lucky enough to have a 3D TV you may well be feeling disappointed at the dearth of decent Blu-rays available to buy. So are there any true 3D Blu-rays out there?

If you bought a 3D TV you’d know about it. If you somehow missed the shop assistant extolling its benefits, or miraculously didn’t notice the bunting and bows around the display model, you’d have undoubtedly noticed at the till when you parted with a few thousand pounds.

The case isn’t the same for a 3D Blu-ray disc, however. This morning I went to HMV to buy a few 3D Blu-rays. Fortunately I work with TVs and know there are currently only two real 3D Blu-rays available – otherwise I could have come away with all sorts of disappointing purchases.

The shop assistant checked her ‘system’ and recounted around half a dozen 3D titles that they sold, around four of which were in stock. I was surprised and asked to see them.

Don’t fall for freebies

The first title I looked at was Coraline, advertising a few pairs of free 3D glasses. I couldn’t believe such a great offer could be had for just £12, particularly as I’d just bought two pairs of 3D glasses for £140.

The glasses that come with this Blu-ray, however, were the red/cyan anaglyphic type. Those that film studios were trying to wow audiences with 50 years ago. I left the store empty-handed.

What would the average consumer have done in this situation? OK, perhaps they wouldn’t have bought a £3,000 3D TV in the first place, but let’s just say they did. The chances are that they’d then follow up this purchase with a handful of 3D films. And if they’d bought any of these anaglyphic films then they’d have surely been disappointed, and left wondering, more than before, what all the 3D fuss is all about.

Finding real 3D Blu-rays

I did a little desk-based research and found a list of the true 3D Blu-rays that are currently available in the UK, and they are the following:

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  • Monsters vs Aliens
  • Monster House – available in October
  • Toy Story 3 – available in November
  • Coraline and Ice Age 3 are also available but only with certain Panasonic 3D bundles

My advice is to check the packaging of the Blu-ray carefully. If it says Blu-ray 3D clearly at the top of the front cover, then you should be safe. If the only 3D claims are elsewhere on the box, and if free 3D glasses are also included, be wary. It’s just an attempt by the studios to jump on the 3D bandwagon and sell a few extra titles while there’s a lot of 3D confusion (and a dearth of true 3D Blu-ray content) around.

I’ve seen some impressive 3D TV content recently, but this anaglyphic stuff is simply best avoided.


Blu-ray was another great Sony idea
which basically was too expensive for popular take up.

Like Beta max
and Sony ATRAC

there are many other much much cheaper options and the advantages of the system was never worth the extra cost.

Nice tech – but no-one needs it.

Mitch says:
25 August 2010

“Nice tech – but no-one needs it” ???

I don’t need a house; but I live in one.

I don’t need cushions; but I have some on my sofa.

ziggy says:
28 August 2010

I don’t understand the past tense of your post chris. Blu-ray was indeed a Sony idea…but it is successful. It’s nothing like Betamax – Betamax lost the format war against VHS. But Blu-ray won against Toshiba’s HD-DVD. Blu-ray is now growing faster than DVD did in its beginning, and with the falling cost of HDTVs everyone will want Blu-ray. In fact, anyone buying an HDTV and not buying content for it…well that’s just pointless.

Blu-ray discs are getting cheaper to make – and they have so many advantages over and above HD pictures. They can fit much better software on them, meaning that using a Blu-ray is better than DVDs. You don’t need to go back to the menu screen to turn on subtitles or put on the commentary for example. And then there’s the internet capability of them, and their ability to store 3D films. They’re also almost unscratchable – so much more durable to DVDs due to a patented protective plastic. That means no skipping discs.

Blu-rays are already a success and they’ll just naturally replace DVDs without you even noticing. Studios won’t be supporting selling their films for £2 much longer.

So if I’ve got a 3d telly, do I need to wear the glasses all the time I’m watching it in 2d? (presumably for 99% of the time I’m watching it as there’s not a lotta 3d programmes yet)

And if I’m using my laptop at the same time as watching a 3d TV will I see video on my laptop in 3d too?

And if I wear the specs for too long will it make one eye go blue and the other go red?

Oh Mr. Stevens, please help an enquiring mind……

Hi Charlie – no you won’t need to wear 3D glasses to watch 2D programs on your 3DTV, because these TVs are simply everyday 2DTV’s with a high refresh rate that allows them to output two images one after another – the glasses then filter these out to separate eyes. Watching 2D programmes on this just means the TV won’t be flicking between the two images.

I’m presuming the rest of your questions are sarcastic – but I’ll answer this one anyway. No, your eyes won’t go blue and the other red – because this technology doesn’t use the old-fashioned ‘red-blue’ glasses (at least it shouldn’t, since it’s not very good, as Ben argues in his article.)

Edit: And Ben beat me to it!

Mitch says:
25 August 2010

Avatar is being re-released in 3D for a 2 week period starting this Friday, you should go and see that for an example of proper 3D content filmed in true stereoscopic 3D.

The only difference is that cinemas use cheap, disposable glasses, but the effect is the same as the new active shutter glasses that come with 3D-TVs.

3dusergermany says:
25 August 2010

and the best, if you have a samsung 3d-tv -> it makes 2d tv into 3d tv 🙂 from all sources. in nice quality.
thats teh reason, why i have no sony 3d-tv, i got a samsung-tv on my sony ps3. so i can watch all my series in 3d 🙂 not perfect and not as good as original 3d-bluraydiscs, but fine enough. there are only 9 3d-blurays or so, and 5 available:
so, samsung tv is just fine 🙂

Mitch says:
25 August 2010

I think Anaglyph and Triovitz 3D should be completely stopped.

I also think that 2D-to-3D conversions should be stopped; sure, you might get the odd good conversions but it’s not good for the industry; most of it is awful.

…it’s in the interest of the studios, 3D gets bad press from Anaglyph and from poor 2D-to-3D, they may make a quick buck on the 3D bandwagon now by practicing in this way, but in the long run it may put people off, poorly informed people who don’t know the difference between the different 3D methods.

IMO, only true stereoscopic 3D should be used; it’s in the interest of the consumers, the studios and everyone in between, particularly in the long run.

justin says:
20 November 2011

I just bought a panasonic 3d tv with 2 pairs of panasonic active shutter glasses bundled in.i then went and bought my bloody valentine 3d blu ray and final destination 3d blu ray but the active shutter glasses dont make any difference and dont seem to work but the cheap paper glasses that were free with films do work.have i got faulty glasses or could it be something that i’m doing?

john arundel says:
13 December 2011

just bought the same tv package with free active shutter glasses and panasonic 3d blue ray ,got best hdmi cables ,bought saw the final chapter high definition 3d and it is just blurry ,seems waste of money and ordered some more glasses ,is there any answers or are the glasses s**t

I know ,I’ve had my sharp aquos 3d,50″ ,blah ,blah and I’m still waiting to actually view a 3d movie ,e.bay have glasses that are exclusively for sharp blah , so I’m w8n for delivery and then its a bucket of popcorn ,5ltrs of coke and sit back and soak up the experience,will update you as it happens,jo

[This comment has been edited to align with our Community guidelines. Thanks, mods]