The Truth about 3D TV, Part 6

About multiplexing formats:  I don’t think anybody’s going to dominate in a business sense because there are going to be too many different kinds of format.  It isn’t going to be like Fraunhofer dominating JPEG or MPEG technology.  It’s going to be something different.  It will be interesting in that there won’t be one dominant format, because every delivery system will require its own format.  The SMPTE, in conjunction with the Entertainment Technology Center, has had a series of meetings that I think have now exhausted themselves, to essentially set up an agenda for an SMPTE working group to provide recommendations for the studios or content producers.  

The recommendations are centered on what the studios need to deliver to the distributors.  By distributors I mean those who send the content to the customer and they include cable operators, and they might use one method for their regular channel line up and another for on demand.  Also included are people like Netflix and their Roku on-line box, or terrestrial broadcaster, or disc manufactures.  Even one of which may require a different kind of stereoplexing format. And that will require a flexible stereo chip in the TV set, or handheld device, or whatever. 

It’s necessary to have a single stereoscopic format so the studios or content providers can hand off to the distributors.  The standard will probably resemble the DC28.40 standard that’s used for distribution of stereoscopic movies. It’s just a field sequential left-right format. It won’t be identical, there are different concerns, but a stereoscopic signal has to conform to certain requirements.  It’s got to have two pictures. When the distributors get the signal they will massage it; they’ll take what I’ll term this precursor format or the master format and they will turn it into however they choose to broadcast.  The same thing is true for DVD encoding, and so on.  

If we look at the entire value chain of stereoscopic television, we see that no one is going to dominate.  There are going to be people who make stereoscopic cameras and stereoscopic television sets, the broadcasters will have to go along with the joke even though the joke’s on them, and the public will get a benefit by seeing stereoscopic images at home, which will be fun.  And that’s what entertainment is about – fun.

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