Philips is once again showing its 3D TV displays at this week’s IBC conference in Amsterdam. The technology looks exceedingly cool (better than in the photo from IBC above), and it should have near-term application in casinos, high-tech movie theaters and gaming facilities.
The one issue I haven’t seen addressed, however, is the impact consumer-level 3D TV could have on bandwidth demand. Keep in mind, 3D TVs in your home are still quite a ways off, but they’ll get here eventually, and when they do, we’ll likely be having the same argument we’re having today around providing enough bandwidth for HDTV.
The Philips technology works by generating nine different views of every TV image to create picture depth. According to an old Wired article, the high number of image views is critical to getting a good result. (Sharp produces a display with two views, which doesn’t create nearly the same effect.) The Philips press release says: “The 3D format known as 2D-plus-depth is now standardized in MPEG, and offers the flexibility to deliver a high-quality 3D viewing experience with minimal bandwidth requirements.” However, with nine views of every image, I can only compare Philips’ technology with that of an advanced mosaic application. In both instances it seems you’d have to manage multiple video streams for one end-user display. Bandwidth-intensive indeed.