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Technical Review | April-June 2012


Progression of 3DTV and Ultra High Definition Television


Extract from the Report of ABU Advisory Group on Next Generation Broadcasting Services


Introduction With the rapid progress of the digital transition around the world the term ‘new media’ has become common to content consumers. Previously the term ‘new media’ mostly referred to ‘media that are different from normal TV’. However, as newer and newer media has emerged, ‘new media’ cannot fully generate a mental image that signifies newness, to the consumers. This conceptual change has given way to narrow and specific terms like ‘N-screen’, ‘Smart media’, ‘Social Media’, ‘Connected/Hybrid Media’, etc.


The versatility, interoperability, compatibility, and flexibility of recent technologies has created better developed content systems, where content is no longer bound to technology platforms. Once the media content is produced it can be served ‘any time’, ‘any where’, on ‘any device’. A platform revolution, accelerated by the digital transition is now generating a technology-driven content shift.


Better and stronger technologies are coming one after the other relentlessly, without giving the broadcasters a break. Should they sit and watch the technologies come and go, or should they try to employ every new technology at the risk of replacing each new system with one even newer?


This report provides a glimpse of some of the new services, so that broadcasters can grasp recent developments in the media industry and ponder what action may be relevant in the future.


1. 3DTV


Even though 3DTV is not so dominant in the production and broadcasting of programmes, TV manufacturers are equipping their mid-to-high-end TV sets with 3DTV capabilities. Also, 3DTV content has significantly increased on VOD services.


Improvement and research into 3DTV is ongoing in every part of content production and delivery.


• 3D Capture and Processing: 3D audio-visual scene capture and reconstruction techniques for static and dynamic scenes, synchronisation and calibration of multiple cameras, holographic camera techniques, multi- view and multi-sensor image and 3D data processing, mixing of virtual and real worlds, 3D tracking.


• 3D Coding and Transmission: Systems, architectures and transmission for 3DTV, coding of multi-view video, 3D meshes, and holograms, audio coding for 3DTV, error resilience and error concealment of 3D video and 3D geometry, signal processing for diffraction and holographic 3DTV.


• 3D Visualisation: Projection and display technology for 3D videos, stereoscopic and auto-stereoscopic display techniques, holographic display technology, reduced parallax systems, integral imaging techniques, underlying optics and VLSI technology, 3D mesh, texture, point, and volume-based representation, object-based representation and segmentation, 3D motion analysis and animation.


• 3D Quality of Experience: Subjective quality evaluation, objective quality metrics, multimodal experience, interaction with 3D content.


• 3D Applications: 3D television, cinema, games and entertainment, virtual studios, advanced 3D audio applications, 3D imaging in virtual heritage and virtual archaeology, augmented reality and virtual environments, underlying technologies for 3DTV, medical and biomedical applications, 3D content-based retrieval and recognition, 3D watermarking, other applications.


• Physical and mental effects on viewers


Sales of 3DTV sets have kept rising and studies show that consumers buying 3D television sets buy them simply because 3D is it is available on a widening range of TVs. it is generally not that they particularly aim to watch 3D TV. Having got the facility however they do watch 3D content once in a while.


The problems the 3DTV industry is facing on its way to the mass market can be summarised as follows:


– High 3D programme production costs


– Low resolution due to lack of bits available in conventional HDTV. This problem being tackled by introducing higher compression technology or using a separate data link to an deliver additional (e.g right-eye image) However this needs modification to the receiver.


– The inconvenience of having to wear 3D glasses. . Glasses-free 3DTV technologies are being researched in many countries but have tended not to show satisfactory results so far.


– Lack of (low-cost) content. Consumers are reluctant to pay extra for 3D content.


– Possible harmful physical and/or mental effects (especially worrisome to parents of young children)


– Different 3D television Formats. 3D formats include. Side-by-Side, Top/Bottom, Line-by-Line, Dual-Stream etc.


– Uncertain revenue. TV viewers are not so eager to pay for 3D devices and content.


– A less immersive 3D experience in the home. For example, a small living room space can limit the experience of visual and aural 3D effects.


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