The DVB has allied with the 3D@Home Consortium to encourage the development of standards for 3DTV. The move will also ensure that knowledge about 3D viewing is shared and that the bodies’ work is complementary. Commenting on the liaison is David Wood, chair of DVB’s Commercial Module on 3DTV: “3D@Home is an important organisation for 3DTV. They have many areas of interest, including the study of ‘human factors’ associated with 3DTV viewing that we are hoping to learn from. For our part, our work developing delivery specifications for 3DTV, will be helpful for 3D@home.” The 3D@Home Consortium was formed in 2008 with the mission to speed the commercialisation of 3D into homes worldwide and provide the best possible viewing experience by facilitating the development of standards, roadmaps and education for the entire 3D industry – from content, hardware and software providers to consumers. “We are thrilled to link with DVB and communicate their standards-setting activities to the broader 3DTV eco-system,” said Heidi Hoffman, managing director of 3D@Home Consortium. “Our members – many not directly involved in the broadcasting area – use this information in their strategic decision-making, which enables the entire eco-system to develop more quickly and seamlessly.” DVB began its 3DTV standardisation work in January 2010. In February 2011, the DVB Steering Board approved the specification for a first phase 3DTV delivery system. This system was developed for broadcasters and content deliverers needing a system that works with existing HDTV receivers, provided they are used with a 3D display. This approach, termed ‘Frame Compatible’, is now a principal system in use for 3DTV delivery throughout the world and is termed DVB-3DTV Phase 1. The DVB Steering Board recently approved the Commercial Requirements for a second 3DTV delivery system. For more on this please see http://www.tvbeurope.com/newsletter-3dmasters-content/full/the-dvb-project-considers-new-3dtv-standard
Termed ‘Service Compatible’, this system is required by content deliverers to enable the 2D and 3D versions of a programme to be broadcast within the same video signal, so that new 3D TVs and STBs can receive 3D programmes, while consumers with existing 2D HDTV receivers and set-top boxes can watch the 2D version. This 2D picture will probably be either the left or right image of the ‘stereo pair’. This second approach is termed DVB-3DTV Phase 2a.
Phase 2a will provide additional opportunities for 3DTV services, complementing the first specification. The DVB is also taking into account the requirements of content deliverers wanting to continue the use of a Phase 1 signal, but wish to provide additional information to improve the image quality for those with ‘new’ receivers. This may result is a Phase 2b specification in due course.