Big Turnout Planned for 3DTV Meeting

More than 160 people representing more than 80 companies are signed up to kick off Tuesday (Aug. 19) one of the first big industry efforts for bringing stereoscopic 3D to television. The group is expected to submit a report within six months on the feasibility of setting a content mastering standard that could be a key underpinning for 3DTV, seen by many as the next big thing in consumer electronics.

The meeting is the first of a task force chartered by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers to explore feasibility of a stereo 3D mastering standard for content viewed in the home. The task force is chartered to assess format standards for all varieties of content whether delivered via broadcast, cable, satellite, Internet or packaged media.

At least seven vendors will demonstrate their 3D technologies to the group at the meeting which is being held under non-disclosure terms. The vendors include Dolby Labs, DDD Group plc, Philips, Real D Cinema, Sensio Technologies, TDVision Systems and Texas Instruments. At the meeting, the task force will establish working groups for specific tasks and liaisons with other standards organizations.

A broad range of companies and participants are signed up for the event. They include Hollywood studios, content production and distribution companies and a wide range of system, component and software companies. Attendees range from CEOs to engineers.

If the task force recommends creating a standard, a separate group will be chartered to handle the work, and effort that could take 18-30 months to complete. SMPTE is reaching out to an alphabet soup of other standards groups who may play a part in defining 3DTV including the CEA, DVB, BDA, ARIB, ATSC, DVD Forum, ITU-R, IEC, EuroCE and others.

The SMPTE task force is one of at least four groups formed just this year to explore standards for 3DTV. The Consumer Electronics Association will hold a meeting in October to determine if it should try to set standards potentially covering, TVs, set-top box and disk players.

In addition, The Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California which will host the SMPTE meeting has formed a 3D working group of its own. Chaired by a representative from Dolby Labs, it aims to define the core issues for driving 3D content into the home.

By Rick Merritt, EE Times