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3D TV – The Next Heavy-Bandwidth App?


Philips is once again showing its 3D TV displays at this week’s IBC conference in Amsterdam. The technology looks exceedingly cool (better than in the photo from IBC above), and it should have near-term application in casinos, high-tech movie theaters and gaming facilities.

The one issue I haven’t seen addressed, however, is the impact consumer-level 3D TV could have on bandwidth demand. Keep in mind, 3D TVs in your home are still quite a ways off, but they’ll get here eventually, and when they do, we’ll likely be having the same argument we’re having today around providing enough bandwidth for HDTV.

The Philips technology works by generating nine different views of every TV image to create picture depth. According to an old Wired article, the high number of image views is critical to getting a good result. (Sharp produces a display with two views, which doesn’t create nearly the same effect.) The Philips press release says: “The 3D format known as 2D-plus-depth is now standardized in MPEG, and offers the flexibility to deliver a high-quality 3D viewing experience with minimal bandwidth requirements.” However, with nine views of every image, I can only compare Philips’ technology with that of an advanced mosaic application. In both instances it seems you’d have to manage multiple video streams for one end-user display. Bandwidth-intensive indeed.

6 Responses

  1. […] 3D TV, The Next Heavy-Bandwidth App: Connected Home 2 Go […]

  2. Well, the 9 images would be very similar to each other, so if they can do the typical MPEG-2 compression stuff, using inter-coding and motion vectors, you should be able to refer to the “reference” first version of the frame quite efficiently. So it won’t need 9X the bandwidth. Still there’s enough overhead, that its gonna be expensive anyway…

  3. Good point. Not 9x the bandwidth, but there’s got to be some increase.

    As far as the expense, I’m betting we’re more than decade out from seeing anything like this in most consumer homes. Imax and Vegas seem a lot more likely.

  4. […] point of unlimited bandwidth. I find this a remarkable assertion because we can’t even guess what new applications are around the corner. What seems unlimited today will be table stakes tomorrow. Sure everything is getting cheaper […]

  5. I hope one day we can view movies like in the star trek next generation Holodecks

  6. […] can’t speak to the TV sets – though 3D displays have generated increasing attention over the last 18 months – but I can speak to the set-tops supporting 3D. There are three basic […]

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