DVB Project Aims To Develop Standards for 3DTV

As Sky approaches its second weekend of 3D Premier League football coverage and European facilities launch services to support the technology, the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) Project  has announced a programme to develop a general standard for stereoscopic television. The “First Generation of 3DTV” has been launched with different, competing formats available to broadcasters, but the DVB Project hopes to have a unifying set of standards approved this year.

The standards will be Phase 1 of the project’s 3DTV work, with two specialist groups looking at specific aspects of the technology. One group will set out commercial considerations for stereoscopic operation, and the other will decide on technologies that meet these requirements.

A major part of Phase 1 will be allowing existing set-top boxes to receive 3D transmissions, although viewers will have to buy new TV displays. The DVB Project says it hopes to achieve a link between receivers and 3DTV sets using the HDMI connector. The organisation understands that the domestic 3D monitors due to hit the market this year will be compatible with the Phase 1 format and also able to receive 2D signals.

Phase 2 is already under discussion. It will consider 2D versions of a programme being carried on a 3D channel and controls on the TV set that will allow the depth of a picture to be adjusted for the best “eye comfort.”

Once the two 3D groups have agreed on their proposals, details will be sent to European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) for ratification. The commercial group is led by David Wood of the EBU’s technical department; David Daniels of BSkyB heads up the technical group.

Graham Mills, chair of the DVB Project’s Commercial Module, says, “DVB has been very successful in the past because its technical specifications are based upon, and are checked against, genuine commercial needs rather than engineers’ wish lists. We are following this pattern here with 3DTV.”

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