Into the third dimension
3D TV represents the next big step forward after HD.
At present, 3D uses single-viewpoint plano-stereoscopy to create an illusion of depth by presenting a different image to each eye. The user must wear glasses, and the two images are separated either by polarised lenses or alternate frame sequencing. This model can only present a single viewpoint; the viewer can’t move their head to get a different view or look round objects in the frame. In the future, multi-view encoding techniques may allow this, and autostereoscopic systems may allow 3D image viewing without glasses, but they are at an early stage of development.
Just as HD took five years to become mainstream, so 3D will take time to develop beyond a niche. Over the next few years, we expect the entertainment industry to adopt a common standard for 3D. This will pave the way for higher HD frame rates, reduced judder and enhanced 3D video and broadcast TV. With operators already delivering 3D content, the demand for 3D-capable viewing platforms is growing fast.
Today’s set-top boxes already allow payTV operators to launch a basic 3D service, allowing them to offer a teaser or taster without upgrading in-home technology. However, higher-level services such as 3D in HD or multi-view 3D require a more sophisticated set-top box with new encoding technology, more memory and more processing power. As more users’ homes have 3D-capable TVs, so payTV providers will need to optimise their distribution and delivery systems and roll out new set-top boxes so they can make more bandwidth-efficient choices for delivering 3D content.
- View the Technology Briefing presentation on 3DTV by Dr. Paul Entwistle (Head of Investor Relations and Chief Technologist, Pace plc)
Technology Briefing - 3DTV (PDF, 1.1MB, 25 slides)