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3D Basics: History, Encoding, Bandwidth

Need a quick refresher, or a first-time primer on where we are with 3D TV today? Motorola has set up a 3D landing page with various media assets, a 3D TV guide, and a white paper on video encoding for 3D. As seen in the timeline above (click to enlarge), the third dimension in TV has been a long time in coming, but there are reasons it’s now living-room-ready.

First, old tube TVs didn’t have the physics to support 3D, whereas flat-panel TVs enable higher resolution, higher refresh rates, and higher frame rate inputs, and they can support active or passive polarization. Second, the industry has made significant process with encoding technology. The MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 standard now includes Multiview Coding (MVC), which will eventually enable higher-resolution 3D. At the same time, Supplemental Enhancement Information (SEI) has also been added to the MPEG-4 AVC standard, allowing existing encoders and decoders to determine how frames have been packed together, and providing an interim solution until MVC equipment has been deployed.

As far as bandwidth goes, we’ve come a long way in reclaiming spectrum from analog channels and extending bandwidth through techniques like switched digital video. Initially, 3D television won’t take up any more bandwidth than HD, but once we get to 3D delivery with full resolution for each eye, there’s a 70% bandwidth premium to consider. Bandwidth: there’s just never enough.

Check out the Motorola landing page for more info. The 3D guide even includes a handy dandy glossary of 3D terms.

2 Responses

  1. You forgot to mention that the Moto 3D page also links to a really awesome podcast. ;)

  2. Yes. Yes, it does. :)

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