According to CableLabs, many older cable boxes will still work with 3D television formats.
With all the excitement over 3D TVs and 3D Blu-ray players, the lowly cable box hasn’t been getting much attention. Cable television may be the first place many people will get their 3D programming, and CableLabs has kept that in mind.
New 3D cable boxes will hit the market eventually to deal with the variety of 3D technologies, but many existing set-top boxes will work just fine with 3D. Some of it, anyway.
CableLabs has found that frame compatible formats (3D pictures where left and right images are broadcast, rather than top and bottom) will work out just fine. They can be sent through existing equipment to existing set-tops the same way a 2D signal would.
“We've found today's cable system is a flexible system that enables delivery of 3D TV signals with little to no change in cable's existing video on demand and switched digital video infrastructure to existing set-top boxes,” said Dr. Paul Liao President and CEO of CableLabs. “This system will deliver a high-definition 3D image to today's new generation of 3D TVs regardless of their native display technology.”
The downside is that you’ll lose resolution. If you get a 1080i signal from your cable provider now, for instance, the resolution will be cut in half for a three dimensional picture, since two pictures will be shown instead of just the one.