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Insight Media: Standards Still in the Way for Broadcast 3D

28 Mar, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

More than 200 3D Blu-ray Discs, 150-plus 3D sporting events, 150-plus 3D console games, and around 200 non-sports 3D video broadcast events are expected in 2012, according to Insight Media.

Consumer electronics companies such as Samsung and Sony are producing their own 3D content. YouTube has more than 10,000 3D videos, and close to a half-dozen dedicated 3D channels are available in the United States.

But all this positive news on the content side doesn’t mean the consumer electronics industry will hit a “critical mass” when it comes to 3D in 2012, according to Insight Media president Chris Chinnock.

The biggest issue facing 3D in the home, he said, is the lack of standards in the broadcast and mobile realms.

“When you put a Blu-ray Disc into your 3D Blu-ray player, it automatically detects it,” he said during a broadcast 3D presentation March 28. “The problem in the broadcast realm is that’s not there. There’s no system detection.”

Currently broadcasters are using a method that allows 3D broadcasts to be interpreted by legacy set-tops, with no requirement for consumers to buy new equipment, other than the 3DTV to watch content, Chinnock said. But that 3D stream is not compatible with standard TVs, won’t broadcast in 2D and resolution is lost along the way, preventing 1080p 3D broadcasts, he added.

Likely not intending to make a joke, Chinnock said, “I think we’re going to find quick resolution to these issues,” noting that the standards body Digital Video Broadcasting group could release specifications that resolve some of those issues later this year.

The ability for broadcasters to send one stream that could be interpreted by both 3DTVs and regular HDTVs is important, considering the lackluster penetration of 3DTV thus far in America. According to NPD DisplaySearch data from earlier in March, 3DTVs accounted for a mere 9% of fourth-quarter 2011 TV shipments in the United States.

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