The Realtek RTD 1186 media processor is currently the most popular solution for use in standalone media players with support for playback of 3D videos. It is nice and affordable solution with HDMI v1.4 supporting 3D output and MVC decoding and Blu-ray 3D ISO support, so it is no wonder that there are so many devices out there that are using this chipset. Before the users started demanding that the standalone multimedia players also support 3D video playback there was another company that was very popular and widely used and that was Sigma Designs. However the’ve had their share of issues with bringing 3D video support into their media processors range, they have announced the SMP8910 with 3D video including Blu-ray 3D support, but it was not welcomed by the manufacturers who decided not to adopt it. And it took quite some time before a media player manufacturer finally decided to use a variation of this chip, namely the SMP8911 found in the Popcorn Hour A-400 media player. The SMP8910/SMP8911 media processor is looking very promising specification wise, but apparently it is not problem free and not that easy to implement as the Realtek alternative, so no wonder there is still no other player based on that chip.
Sigma Designs also have a bit lower range media processor, the SMP8672, a more lower-end solution that uses HDMI 1.4 and has 3D support, however does not support Blu-ray 3D ISO images, even though the chip is capable of decoding MVC. The SMP8672 is newer chip and is still not widely adopted, but it shows more promise that its predecessor the SMP8910. Not long ago Dune HD has announced and started shipping the first media players with 3D capabilities based on the Sigma Designs SMP8672, the Dune HD TV-303D and Dune HD Base 3D. And while the SMP8672-based devices may turn out to be more of a competition for the users in need of 3D video playback capabilities, though the lack of Blu-ray 3D support may be a bit of a setback. Also the fact that these SMP8672-based players are more expensive than the alternatives based on Realtek 1186 could be a big advantage for the Taiwanese company that currently has the advantage on the market for standalone multimedia players. With H.265 coming and 4K HDTVs starting to appear we are soon going to need a faster and more powerful media processors to power the next generation of media players for the new compression methods and high resolution displays.