[opendtv] Hollywood gears up 3D TV effort

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 10:35:47 -0400

Hollywood gears up 3D TV effort
Task force will study content format requirements

Rick Merritt
(07/21/2008 1:27 PM EDT)
URL: http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=209400058

SAN JOSE, Calif. - It may not be easy, but Hollywood wants to bring its
growing library of 3D films showing at the local cineplex to your living
room. The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers is forming
a task force that will set the stage for an effort to define a stereo 3D
mastering standard for content viewed in the home.

SMPTE's 3-D Home Display Formats Task Force will produce a report on the
issues, challenges and suggested minimum standards for a 3D content
format that would serve tethered TV and PC screens in the home. The
report will lay the foundation for a subsequent standards effort.

The task force is chartered to assess format standards for all varieties
of content whether delivered via broadcast, cable, satellite, Internet
or packaged media. It will not directly address hardware issues or
mobile systems such as media players and cellphones. The Consumer
Electronics Association and a wide swath of other groups are
investigating hardware standards for 3D displays.

The SMPTE group will invite a variety of 3-D display makers to
demonstrate their offerings at the group's first meeting August 19 at
the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern
California outside Los Angeles. The meeting is open to any technology
professional involved in content, consumer electronics systems or
related fields with registration at the SMPTE Web site. However,
participants must be members of SMPTE or pay a small fee to attend.

The task force is expected to submit its report within six months. The
job of setting a 3D standard for playing 3D content on TVs and PCs
across all distribution means could take 18-30 months, said Wendy
Aylsworth, vice president of engineering for SMPTE.

It's unclear how long the job of defining common 3D codecs for TVs and
PCs could take, she added. "We are just at the very beginning of a long
path," said Aylsworth who also is a senior vice president of technology
for Warner Brothers.

"It took a quarter of a century to bring high definition to the home,
but I hope 3D doesn't take that long," she said. "We are not changing
the entire distribution circuitry, but just adding something on top of
it this time."

Aylsworth helped drive initiatives in digital cinema and 3D movies at
SMPTE. "We have gone from eight versions of 3D content standards for the
cinema down to two today, which is still probably more than we should
have," she said.

The timing is right to start work on 3D for the home, in part because
consumers are shifting to digital flat-panel displays and away from
analog cathode ray tubes. "That's making this easier," Aylsworth said.

Nevertheless, the job will be a tough one in part due to the wide
variety of networks and devices that will carry and play the content.

"The motion picture market is small by comparison" to the home, she
said. "You are only dealing with probably less than 100,000 theaters
worldwide and a dozen or so companies who make projectors and media
servers so the problems were fairly small and quantifiable."

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