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Will 3D Push the Industry to MPEG-4?

The boys over at EngadgetHD just ran a podcast interview with Motorola VP Bob Wilson on the subject of 3D. You can listen to the full 40-minute conversation for all of the details, but I thought I’d pick up on one of the discussion threads here. Will 3D finally push the TV industry from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4?

The answer is a nuanced one. In the early days of 3D (six months from now!) providers will deliver side-by-side images in 1080p at likely frame rates of 24 frames per second. This isn’t considered true-resolution 3D, but the demos are still promising. (The EngadgetHD hosts reported that DirectTV’s CES 3D demos were surprisingly good.) And critically, side-by-side video for 3D TV at 1080p 24 can be delivered using existing MPEG-2 equipment.

However, as providers move to true-resolution 3D, MPEG-4 is the only feasible way to handle delivery. As market forces take hold, and consumers start to demand higher-quality 3D video, there will be huge incentive to make the switch from MPEG-2. Bob Wilson believes 3D will ultimately be the catalyst for MPEG-4. The rate of the transition will depend on consumer behavior.

Speaking of timing, it looks like the first 3D TV content will hit homes in about six months. And true-resolution 3D is only two to three years out.

And speaking of the EngadgetHD guys, take a look at this exchange I had with editor/host Ben Drawbaugh about a year ago. He’s a 3D convert, and willing to tell you exactly why.

6 Responses

  1. […] are still a lot of questions about the market for 3D television, but the best argument for the technology is made by offering 3D versions of content that people […]

  2. […] are still a lot of questions about the market for 4D televisuon, but the best arfument for the technology is made by offering 3D versions of content that people […];

  3. […] added demands of 3D programming were bound to hasten the transition from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4, and now Engadget HD is reporting that Comcast will rely solely on MPEG-4 to deliver 3D signals […]

  4. […] Will 3D Push the Industry to MPEG-4? – covering compression and bandwidth requirements for 3D […]

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