The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Geneva has published its roadmap for the development of stereoscopic 3D television. It’s based on a document drawn up by the committee’s chairman David Wood, and published by our sister publication New Television Insider, last October.
“This new ITU report establishes a clear framework for the development of new types of systems that will totally change the way we experience broadcast and multimedia content,” said Valery Timofeev, director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau. “It maps out an exciting vision that won’t just change the look of entertainment, but open up a whole range of exciting new possibilities in sectors from education and healthcare to traffic management.”
The roadmap runs through three successive generations of 3D technology known as ‘profiles’. The first generation creates an experience similar to that fast gaining popularity in cinemas. Plano-stereoscopic television delivers two views – such as the left and right method favoured by BSkyB – with special glasses allowing viewers to see the depth within the picture, though the view remains the same when the head is moved.
In the second generation multiple views will create an a viewing experience that closely mimics real life with head movement changing the view. The third generation, featuring systems capable of recording the amplitude, frequency, and phase of light waves, to reproduce almost completely human beings’ natural viewing environment are said to be at least 15 years away. Only the third generation would require a new set-top box, though all rely on the purchase of a new television display.
The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for April 2010.
ITU 3D TV Categorization
|Compatibility level||Matrix of signal formats for 3D TV|
1st generation 3D TV
2nd generation 3D TV
|Object wave profile
3rd generation 3D TV
Conventional High Definition display Compatible (CDC)
|Optimized colour anaglyph|
Conventional HD Frame Compatible (CFC)
Left and Right in same High Definition frame
High Definition Frame Compatible
|Frame compatible plus MPEG resolution (for example, SVC|
Conventional High Definition Service Compatible (CSC)
|2D HD + MVC (ie, MVC)
Left and Right formed by matrixing
|2D HD + MVC (ie, MVC)
Depth, occlusion, transparency data
This table shows the anticipated development of 3DTV technologies in increasing order of performance and complexity (indicating the degree of compatibility with conventional 2DTV)
Note: The empty boxes are to be filled on the basis of the future work within ITU-R.
SVC: Scalable Video Coding; MVC: Multiview Video Coding