TDVision Systems and CyberLink will showcase their full HD 3D solutions at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. CyberLink's PowerDVD video player software, integrated with TDVision's 2D+Delta decoding technology, delivers full HD 3D video decoding capabilities. TDVision is the world's leading innovator in Full HD 3D (1920x1080 per-view) video encoding and decoding sector and was recently honored as the 3D Innovator of the Year by IMS research.
The 2D+Delta Format, invented and patented by TDVision Systems, makes use of redundancies between the left and right stereoscopic views. This is accomplished by encoding a full resolution 2D view and only the Delta Difference information between the left and the right views. This difference is stored into the video stream in a format that updated decoders and 3D displays can play out in any 3D format at the highest quality possible while legacy 2D televisions and decoders play the stream in 2D, making the system fully backward compatible and display agnostic.
The 2D+Delta format is also known as TDVCodec and is a key part of the "Multiview Video Coding" (MVC) codec (ISO-MPEG-14496-10:2008, Amendment 1), an extension to the ITU-T H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) recently adopted by the Blu-ray Disc Association as the "Blu-ray 3D" specification.
Source: TDVision Systems
TDVision Systems and CyberLink will showcase their full HD 3D solutions at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. CyberLink's PowerDVD video player software, integrated with TDVision's 2D+Delta decoding technology, delivers full HD 3D video decoding capabilities. TDVision is the world's leading innovator in Full HD 3D (1920x1080 per-view) video encoding and decoding sector and was recently honored as the 3D Innovator of the Year by IMS research.
It remains to be seen when Korean viewers will be able to enjoy the three-dimensional (3D) TV experience, but government officials are promising the wait won't be too long. The Korea Communications Commission (KCC), the regulator for broadcasting and telecommunications, announced the launching of a joint government-industry steering committee to manage trial services for 3D television planned for next year.
The committee will be joined by national television networks and cable television operators, technology giants Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, and state-run research institutions led by the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI).
Terrestrial and pay-television networks, such as cable and satellite, are scheduled to begin trial 3D television services in October next year. The KCC plans to have broadcasters and electronics companies collaborate for the building and testing of broadcasting systems and equipment from next month. The KCC will issue a license in January for the trial services for land-based 3D television broadcasting, which is to be delivered in full high-definition (HD) quality.
If the broadcasters can get things right in a punctual manner, Korea could be the world's first country to provide 3D television in HD through terrestrial networks, government officials said. The steering committee will have a leading role in promoting 3D television and will also manage efforts to develop and standardize core technologies.
"Korea's role in the future HD television market will lie in the success of the HD 3D trial services that began this year, so there is a serious interest among companies in broadcasting and technology," said Park Yun-hyun, director of the KCC's radio policy division.
Pay-television channels may beat the national networks to the punch. Cable television heavyweight CJ HelloVision is planning to provide 3D versions for some of its regular programming during the early part of next year. Viewers will be required to have separate set-top boxes for viewing CJ HellowVision's 3D programs, which will mostly consist of cartoons at first.
TU Media, a SK Telecom unit that provides satellite television services on mobile phones, is planning to release a handset capable of supporting 3D video. The company is also considering establishing a separate channel on its satellite network to test 3D broadcasting services for about an hour per day.
Sky Life, a satellite television operator, is also planning to start trial services of 3D broadcasting in as early as January.
Despite concerns over technology, prices and content, 3D television has become the latest buzzword of the tech industry, with electronics makers competing to bring full 3D effects to the living room. Samsung and LG, now the world's top two flat-screen television makers, are expected to join their global competitors like Sony and Panasonic in introducing a wide range of 3D television products and demos at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month.
Samsung, which vows to cement its lead in the global television market, unveiled a 22-inch 3D monitor with a 120 hertz (Hz) refresh rate earlier this year, and recently unveiled a 52-inch 3D television set and a 55-inch high-definition 3D television panel with a 240 Hz refresh rate.
Cable operators and content developers, desperate to keep growth alive in the saturated pay-television market, hope 3D television provides them with a needed injection of energy.
By Kim Tong-hyung, The Korea Times
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Quartics and DDD Group are collaborating to bring the most compelling and cost effective 3D technology yet to HD TVs and Netbooks by optimizing the Quartics’ Qvu Video Processor with DDD’s TriDef 3D software technology. The combined Qvu and TriDef solution will automatically convert traditional 2D content into a rich, immersive 3D environment that is ideal for cost sensitive consumer devices.
The combined solution is compatible with virtually any 3D display technology including passive polarized and active shutter glasses. It supports the decoding of a wide variety of original 3D content formats including those used in Blu-ray and broadcast 3D applications. Devices equipped with the Qvu 3D features can automatically convert any existing 2D HD content to 3D from Blu-Ray, social media sites, games consoles and more.
Qvu is a programmable SoC solution that provides a “Beyond HD” level of video quality surpassing even that of high definition. Qvu consumes a minimal amount of power and thus significantly improves battery life and viewing time, while offering a single platform that can be repurposed for use in multiple applications to handle all HD video processing tasks in a consumer electronics device. Qvu is ideal for Netbooks, Laptops, IP Set-Top Boxes and HD TVs.
Source: PR Inside
In a wide range of demos, companies will claim at the Consumer Electronics Show in January that stereoscopic 3D is ready for the home. In fact engineers face plenty of work hammering out the standards and silicon for 3DTV products, most of which will ship for the holiday 2010 season.
Hollywood studios are driving 3D to the home as a way to make more money on a growing number of successful 3-D titles at the theater ranging from Avatar to Up. A standards effort launched in June to define a content format for stereo 3D movies was one of the first major actions in this direction.
Much more is still ahead. Observers expect many demos at CES of 3DTV sets using content from stereo-3D enabled Blu-ray players, thanks to a newly minted Blu-ray spec for stereo 3D. However most of the players and many of the TVs will not be available until later in the year when new chips for the spec are available.
Beyond the Blu-ray effort, multiple standards and chips based on them are still in progress. The latest is an upgrade of the HDMI interface that will pave a way for future stereo 3D broadcasts to be available on new and existing HDMI links. The HDMI Licensing group is adding support to its version 1.4 spec for the top/bottom format that many broadcasters are expected to use. The format squeezes information about left and right eye images on to a single frame to save bandwidth, albeit at a loss of some resolution. An HDMI implementation of the top/bottom format will be defined in meeting of the group in January.
"I have been told by the technical team that this is not a hard exercise," said Steve Venuti, president of HDMI Licensing LLC. "When we launched 1.4 in June, we did not launch a mandatory format for broadcasters because we were not sure where broadcasters would go," said Venuti. "Since then, we've been polling anyone who might have a take on this and what came across was they wanted to implement top/bottom which we did not put in 1.4," he said.
The HDMI group has talked to CableLabs, DirecTv and content companies including HBO about the changes for stereo 3D. Venuti said he did not know whether the new format will require changes to HDMI 1.4 silicon already in the works.
3D Moving "Fast and Furious"
The HDMI group also is relaxing its specs so that many existing set-top boxes and TVs do not have to handle a variety of previously mandatory formats often beyond their processing capabilities or needs. Instead they can handle stereo 3D broadcasts in the top/bottom format with a firmware upgrade.
"Of all the HDMI 1.4 features, 3D is going faster and more furious than we thought, certainly from the broadcasters," said Venuti. "Everybody is lined up behind 3D, so it will be a big launch next year," he added.
The HDMI work grew out of conversations between the group and a related working group in the Consumer Electronics Association, CEA 861.
"There are improvements expected as new silicon supports higher transfer rates on the interface, [but] the intent [also] is to have existing equipment be as functional as possible," said Brian Markwalter, vice president of technology and standards at CEA. "That's critical because without HDMI support, we won't get anywhere [in 3D] in 2010," he said.
Ultimately OEMs will have to support many formats for stereo 3D content. The ideal is to provide sequential left and right frames at twice the desired viewing rate. However because broadcasters and some devices may lack bandwidth for that approach, a number of alternatives have been used. Broadcasters appear to be rallying around top/bottom, however Venuti said trials are still on-going. Other approaches that involve some form of compression include checkerboard, side-by-side or interleaved rows or columns.
"I think the TV will have to have a lot of electronics to recognize all the formats and transcode and convert them to the native rate of the TV," said Chris Chinnock, president of market watcher Insight Media. "It sounds complicated but if you think about all the frame rates we initially had to support in HDTVs for cameras and TVs and so on, you see TV makers know how to handle this kind of situation," he said.
BSkyB announced it will start stereo 3D broadcasts in the U.K. in 2010. Other broadcasters may announce plans at CES, but Chinnock said he expects them to go slowly.
"They will probably start with a very simple sampling technique and get a service started with minimal impact on bandwidth," he said.
A Broadcom executive recently said he expects 3DTVs to start shipping in volume in late 2010. They will need about $100 in new silicon, he estimated.
Of Eye Glasses and Captions
3DTV standards in two other areas are still in process—active eyewear and captions. A CEA group set up earlier this year has decided it will set a standard for infrared signals used to control active shutter glasses. The group is working on a requirements document and expects to have a broad call for proposals in January. The group could have a spec done in less than six months if it doesn't have to resolve conflicting proposals from major suppliers.
"Everyone is aware of the market pressures to get this stuff out, and [the group has] all the players you would expect participating," said Markwalter of CEA.
Different display technologies will use a variety of different kinds of active and passive glasses. Philips folded in April an effort to define an autostereoscopic technology that required no glasses because it had a narrow viewing range and had a relatively high loss of resolution and brightness.
The CEA also has a task group studying how to place captions in 3D space. It is expected to issue a call for proposals in January. "This is another one of the pieces slowly coming together as we think about all the systemic issues for rolling out 3D," said Markwalter.
CEA set up earlier this year a task force to investigate any areas where standards are needed. "They are the first filter for any standards projects on 3D at CEA, but don't do the standards themselves," he said.
By Rick Merritt, EE Times
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
XDC, European leader in digital cinema distribution services, has taken a major step forward in order to execute its strategy to deploy and service more than 8,000 digital cinema screens across Europe by 2015.
XDC is the first company to have VPF digital cinema deployment agreements with all 6 major US film studios for a total of 8,000 digital screens in 22 European countries. VPFs (Virtual Print Fees) allow cinema exhibitors to invest in digitalisation with the financial support of the film studios, throughout XDC, deploying entity. XDC's VPF agreements make it the largest player in the roll-out of digital cinema in Europe.
As only 5% of the European movie screens have already been digitalized, digital cinema is expected to grow tremendously in the coming years, thanks to the VPF system and a strong market demand for 3D movies and alternative content.
The new EUR 15.3 million funding by Gimv, SRIW and selected existing investors, provides the company with the funds to finance its growth in the coming years. Founding partner EVS remains the most important investor with a 30.2% fully diluted stake (41.3% not diluted) while SRIW and Gimv become cornerstone investors with a 20.7% and 20.2% stake (fully diluted) respectively.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
TDVision Systems announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a Notice of Allowance for TDVision’s United States patent application directed to methods of generating three-dimensional images within a video game.
The patent application is U.S. Application No. 11/471,280 filed June 16, 2006 titled “3D Videogame System” and relates to earlier patent applications filed in 2002 and 2003. The newly allowed claims cover methods and systems for displaying three-dimensional images in a videogame that supports dynamically changing the stereoscopic settings based on a gamer’s object of interest.
The key feature of this patent is the dynamic stereoscopic convergence in video gaming. This method emulates the way the human eye perceives images in real life. When implemented on the videogame, it reduces side effects and enables a more enjoyable gaming experience. In real life, our eyes converge dynamically, depending on the object of interest. This is the same effect that occurs with the TDVirtualCam.
The TDVirtualCam can be implemented with DirectX, OpenGL filters, and at the Game Engine, Driver Level and the GPU level. This provides the videogame publishers and hardware manufacturers the flexible implementation required to achieve massive adoption. Currently, this method has already been adopted with some videogame titles.
Upon issuance, TDVision will begin licensing this technology under the brand name “TDVirtualCam” to game developers and others with an interest in stereoscopic gaming.
3-D interest does not stop in Hollywood. According to an analysis of world patent activity published by the IP Solutions business of Thomson Reuters, Coming Soon in 3-D… Everything, consumers will soon be able to experience 3-D technology on their televisions at home. The report tracks unique inventions published in patent applications and granted patents from 2003 to 2009 to identify the areas showing the sharpest growth over the last five years.
The findings include:
- 3-D TV in your Living Room: It will only be a matter of time before you can enjoy 3-D television programs from your couch. Between 2003 and 2008, patent activity in the 3-D television space grew by 69 percent. Breakthrough new technologies include lenticular lenses, which create a more natural 3-D viewing experience without the need for special glasses.
- Capture Moments with 3-D Photos: 3-D photographic technology is also on the rise; it has grown by 57 percent between 2003 and 2009 as the digital camera industry works to combat declines in other areas.
- 3-D Glasses are Big Business: A great deal of 3-D cinema innovation has less to do with movie production than it does with ancillary products. Between 2003 and 2008, patent activity in the 3-D cinema space grew by 45 percent. Areas receiving the most attention include: projection systems, specialized glasses, cleaning apparatus and registration systems for glasses.
The data in this report was compiled using the Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI) database. Patent activity is being used as a benchmark for innovation. The research aggregates granted patents and published applications (examined and unexamined) in 2003 and 2008 through the first quarter of 2009. Results from both time periods were then compared to determine the overall growth trend over the last five years.
Source: Thomson Reuters
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
RealD announced an agreement with JVC Kenwood Holdings to license multiple RealD technologies including the proprietary stereoscopic RealD Format. The RealD Format and other RealD 3D technologies will see integrated support in JVC 3D products including 3D LCD monitors.
The RealD Format is a proprietary version of a side-by-side 3D format that multiplexes a left eye and right eye 3D image stream into a single channel for delivery of HD-quality 3D content to any 3D-enabled display type. The RealD Format uses a unique set of filters and other technologies making it compatible with today's HD infrastructure for high-quality 3D delivered via broadcast, packaged media or the Internet.
One of the product lines to integrate RealD 3D technology will be JVC's 3D LCD displays utilizing Xpol polarizer and passive circular polarized 3D eyewear. The company's distinctive high-quality 3D visual engine paired with RealD technology will allow the displays to deliver a natural flicker-free HD 3D experience.
In a recent online survey, over three-fourths of consumers said they would prefer to receive 3D content via their cable or satellite provider compared to those respondents who prefer Blu-ray/DVD, which was the second choice overall. Quixel Research, a market intelligence company focused on the Home Theater and Home Entertainment display markets recently published its second annual 3D Study, 3D Displays and Content 2009. The study surveyed 1000 HDTV owners online to quantify as well as qualify their opinions on 3D technology.
“Consumers not only prefer to receive 3D content from their cable or satellite provider but they are willing to pay more for a 3D movie channel,” stated Tamaryn Pratt, Quixel Research Principal. “Consumers are very familiar with recent 3D technology and those who have seen a 3D movie in the 12 months are interested in owning a 3D TV even if it requires glasses.”
The full study provides the most recent findings regarding consumers’ willingness to purchase 3D TVs and glasses, as well as accepted price points, 3D brands and 3D content types. The new 3D report is currently available for purchase.
A few data points covered in the study:
- 3D Product Awareness: 78% of respondents have had a 3D experience.
- 3D Interest/Purchasing: Half of those surveyed are interested in watching 3D at home, with those who have seen a 3D movie recently more interested in purchasing than the overall sample.
- 3D Timing: Over a third of those surveyed expect 3D TV within 12 months.
- 3D Content: Almost 1/3 would be interested in changing their content provider in order to receive 3D content.
- 3D Opinions: Almost 2/3 stated 3D is a group experience.
- 3D Glasses: Consumers are willing to pay for 3D glasses but don’t expect to pay twice as much for two pair.
- 3D Brands: Comcast was in the top 3 trusted 3D brands, along with CE manufacturers Samsung and Sony.
Source: Quixel Research
The Blu-ray 3D specification calls for encoding 3D video using the Multiview Video Coding (MVC) codec (ISO-MPEG-14496-10:2008, Amendment 1), an extension to the ITU-T H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) codec currently supported by all Blu-ray Disc players. MPEG4-MVC compresses both left and right eye views, and can provide full 1080p-resolution backward-compatibility with current 2D Blu-ray Disc players.
MVC was developed by MPEG to support multiple simultaneous views of a subject. In general, an MVC encoder receives N temporally-synchronized video streams and generates one output bitstream. The decoder receives the bitstream, and decodes and outputs the N video signals. The video representation format is based on N views, and for stereoscopic 3D, N=2. MVC works by exploiting the similarities between multiple-camera video captures of a scene. By eliminating redundant information across camera views, MVC achieves a reduction in bit rate of approximately 20-25% on average, when compared to encoding views from each camera separately.
The new Multiview High Profile, as defined in the MPEG-MVC Amendment, uses the same coding tools as supported by the previous High Profile (HP) of the MPEG-4 AVC standard, which was already adopted into the Blu-ray Disc specification. Level constraints for this profile have also been specified so that fixed decoder resources of single-view AVC decoders, such as memory, could be repurposed for decoding stereo and multiview video bitstreams (MPEG-4 also defines a High Stereo Profile; it’s not immediately known which of these is specifically part of the BDA specification). Moreover, MVC is backwards compatible in the sense that one view (the so-called base-view) can be decoded from a part of the MVC stream by using a HP decoder, which could then be output on a conventional monoscopic display. An MVC decoder would generate multiple output views from the full stream and forward them to a stereoscopic or multiscopic display.
It often takes several years for an industry to develop and embrace a single standard, with "format wars" all too often the case. MPEG-MVC, while defined over a year ago, was rapidly adopted by the Blu-ray Disc Association nonetheless, and this haste shows how this emerging market is motivating manufacturers and content providers to get Blu-ray 3D products and content quickly out the door: expect the first products and titles sometime next year.
By Aldo Cugnini, Display Daily
Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) announced that they finally selected Real Scope, Korea Digital Communications' subsidiary corporation (KDC), as a Korea's first 3D camera system (Rig) provider. The 3D camera system, especially, has been developed for the first time in Korea in terms of new types of camera arrangement that cross meet at right angles. With having this, users will be able to use a lot of upgraded functions including approach shooting, putting lenses on or off and large camera equipping for making movies.
"As you know, 3D broadcasting will be on the air starting in 2010 and will be given big time attention to 3D TV and its exclusive camera systems. That's why Real Scope is trying its best to develop higher quality 3D camera systems by cooperation with KDC and iStation." said Lee Jae-kwan, CEO of Real Scope.
By Yeon Choul-woong, Korea IT Times
The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is currently developing a 3D playback technology and is set to commercialize the technology in 2010, according to ITRI. Although ITRI's 3D playback technology is already able to transcode a 2D source for later watching on 3D-enabled equipment, the institute is aiming to make the technology able to perform real-time transcoding, ITRI added.
Currently, both Quanta Computer and Asustek Computer have expressed their interest in the technology. The institute added that it expects the commercialized solution to significantly reduce players' costs.
By Yen-Shyang Hwang and Joseph Tsai, DigiTimes
Welho, the largest cable operator in Finland, has started 3DTV test distribution in its cable network in the Helsinki region in mid-December. The signal is distributed from Welho’s head-end to all homes in the network, just like any ordinary cable channel. A sneak preview of future TV can be seen in Welho Store in Helsinki. Welho’s 3DTV test is auto-stereoscopic, offering a future viewing experience without 3D glasses.
Welho has been upgrading its service platform and fibre network consistently in order to be able to offer different capacity-intensive future services, such as 3DTV. Welho plans to launch commercial 3DTV services already next year.
"Homes connected to Welho’s network have always been in a privileged position because we see it as our mission to bring our customers all the new and interesting developments that TV can provide. Thanks to our substantial investments in network capacity, we can be fast in launching fascinating new services and products, brought about by technological advancement. We were among the first to offer digital HDTV services, and now we are ready for the new TV revolution," says Johan Flykt, President of Welho.
Welho has built the 3DTV demo together with Finnish Teleste and Stereoscope. The technolocigal solution for transmitting the 3D signal from Welho’s head-end to the cable network was implemented by Teleste, and Stereoscope has edited and partly produced the 3D content.
"Welho’s 3DTV demo has given us an excellent opportunity to test the requirements that 3DTV broadcasts place on cable network technology. We are very excited about developing future 3DTV experience together with Welho. Cooperation with our key customer and a leader in deploying new technology ensures emphasis on customer perspective in our technology development," says Tommi Ketola, R&D Manager of Teleste.
"Our goal is to bring new innovations to our customers for testing as early as possible, so that we can use customer feedback in developing our services," says Kari Ruopsa, Vice President of Technology at Welho.
The first 3DTV broadcasts will most likely be international sports events and concerts. "We are ready with our distribution technology, so if 3D content becomes available soon enough, our customers will be able to watch these programmes in 3D at home among the first," Ruopsa promises.
The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) announced the finalization and release of the “Blu-ray 3D” specification. The specification, which represents the work of the leading Hollywood studios and consumer electronic and computer manufacturers, will enable the home entertainment industry to bring the 3D experience into consumers’ living rooms on Blu-ray Disc, the most capable high definition home entertainment platform.
The “Blu-ray 3D” specification fully leverages the technical advantages of the Blu-ray Disc format to deliver unmatched picture quality as well as uniformity and compatibility across the full range of Blu-ray 3D products, both hardware and software. Notably, the specification allows every Blu-ray 3D player and movie to deliver Full HD 1080p resolution to each eye, thereby maintaining the industry leading image quality to which Blu-ray Disc viewers are accustomed. Moreover, the specification is display agnostic, meaning that Blu-ray 3D products will deliver the 3D image to any compatible 3D display, regardless of whether that display uses LCD, Plasma or other technology and regardless of what 3D technology the display uses to deliver the image to the viewer’s eyes.
The Blu-ray 3D specification is also designed to allow PS3 game consoles to play back Blu-ray 3D content in 3D. Additionally, the specification supports playback of 2D discs in forthcoming 3D players and can enable 2D playback of Blu-ray 3D discs on the large installed base of Blu-ray Disc players currently in homes around the world.
The Blu-ray 3D specification calls for encoding 3D video using the Multiview Video Coding (MVC) codec, an extension to the ITU-T H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) codec currently supported by all Blu-ray Disc players. MPEG4-MVC compresses both left and right eye views with a typical 50% overhead compared to equivalent 2D content, and can provide full 1080p resolution backward compatibility with current 2D Blu-ray Disc players. The specification also incorporates enhanced graphic features for 3D. These features provide a new experience for users, enabling navigation using 3D graphic menus and displaying 3D subtitles positioned in 3D video.
The completed specification will be available shortly and provides individual manufacturers and content providers with the technical information and guidelines necessary to develop, announce and bring products to market pursuant to their own internal planning cycles and timetables.
Sony Corporation and the PGA TOUR announced a partnership to explore new entertainment experiences for golf in 3D. Together, Sony and the PGA TOUR will work to develop a plan to make the 2011 Sony Open in Hawaii the first PGA TOUR event shot in 3D and available for distribution in 3D to select audiences, in addition to its regular 2D presentation.
Development work will begin at the 2010 Sony Open, at which Sony will shoot portions of the event in 3D as a first step in the joint study, and continue through the 2010 PGA TOUR season. The organizations will also explore development of 3D golf for other potential applications.
"From the lens to the living room, Sony is driving the transition to 3D," said Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President of Sony Corporation. "Just as video of sports and nature were key to the adoption of high definition television, we expect the same to be true for 3D. The sport of golf and the natural beauty of Hawaii are an ideal combination to showcase the distinct advantages of 3D and bring the full, 3D experience to life for consumers."
"High definition television is already driving increased golf viewing," said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. "We are excited about working with Sony to showcase the potential of 3D technology at the 2011 Sony Open in Hawaii. We believe that 3D has the potential to put the fan right in the center of the action and make our telecasts even more exciting and engaging. The beauty of the Sony Open in Hawaii makes this the perfect setting to debut this technology."
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Cinedigm Digital Cinema issued an update on the state of digital cinema in the United States. In 2008 and 2009, the digital transition -- defined as the industry's conversion from analog to digital technology -- was slowed, largely due to the lack of necessary financing. That trend shows signs of reversing; financing is now available and industry-wide momentum has returned. Hollywood movie studios have embraced digital cinema, both from a financing and a creative perspective.
At present, there are 7,736 digital screens (these figures do not include IMAX screens) at 2,112 sites in the United States and Canada, representing just over 21% of the approximately 36,000 screens in total. Of those 7,736 digital screens, almost 3,400 (44% of digital screens, 9% of all screens) are 3D-enabled, at 2,000 sites.
Though just under 10% of all U.S. and Canadian movie screens are currently 3D-enabled, industry-wide momentum has picked up markedly in the last few months. In late October, Cinedigm announced that it had secured a commitment letter for a $100 million financing from GE Capital and Société Générale that will support the deployment of up to 2,133 digital systems in 2010. Many exhibitors are also taking advantage of an Exhibitor-Buyer option that will permit them to convert an additional 2,000 to 3,000 screens.
Sony Corporation and RealD announced a technology partnership aiming to provide immersive 3D home entertainment to consumers beginning in 2010. The pact includes Sony licensing the stereoscopic RealD Format, know-how in producing active and passive 3D eyewear and other RealD technologies. Sony and RealD have been closely working together to create a better 3D experience at movie theaters for years. The parties will now join forces to deliver a similar premium 3D entertainment experience to the home.
"Sony has its proprietary LCD panel driving technology to reproduce full HD 3D images on the screen of new "BRAVIA" LCD TVs, which will work in sync with new 3D eyewear based on RealD's technology. We are excited to work with RealD in bringing 3D to the home," said Hiroshi Yoshioka, Executive Deputy President, Officer in charge of Consumer Products and Devices Group, Sony Corporation.
"We are thrilled to partner with Sony on 3D eyewear and to integrate support for the RealD Format into Sony "BRAVIA" LCD TVs and other Sony products. This collaboration enables the distribution of high-quality 3D content to Sony displays through the existing HD infrastructure, a vital element to the widespread adoption of 3D in the home," added Michael V. Lewis, Chairman and CEO of RealD.
The companies are working in partnership to bring to market 3D compatible "BRAVIA" LCD high definition TVs and other consumer products in Sony's current and future portfolio that will support the stereoscopic RealD Format. The RealD Format is a side-by-side 3D format capable of delivering crisp, clear, high-quality 3D utilizing all channels of the existing HD broadcast infrastructure.
Source: PR Newswire
LG Electronics and Korea Digital Satellite Broadcasting (SkyLife) signed a memorandum of understanding for the strategic partnership to take the lead in the 3D TV industry, working closely together in developing technologies to set industry standards and deploying promotional activities to help expand the market. LG announced Korea's first 3D LCD TV in August 2009 and SkyLife will run a second trial of 3D broadcasting in January next year after airing earlier trial 3D content from October.
"LG is the first TV manufacturer in the world to cooperate with a digital satellite broadcaster to map the standards for 3D images ranging from technologies, to devices and broadcasting content," said Dr. Woo Paik, President and Chief Technology Officer at LG Electronics. "The partnership will focus on developing technology that helps produce 3D images that don't cause eye strain or dizziness -- an issue that has plagued previous technologies."
"SkyLife aims to be the top digital satellite 3D broadcaster in Korea. We expect the partnership between LG and SkyLife to propel us to the lead in digital new media. We plan to invest KRW 30 billion (USD 25 million) in creating 3D content in collaboration with LG," said Mong-ryong Lee, President and CEO at SkyLife.
LG plans to introduce a wide range of 3D TVs ranging in size from 42- to 72-inches next year, following the 47-inch LCD 3D TV (47LH503D) this year. The company also plans to include 3D functionality in its flagship models for next year. The new series features an ultra-slim bezel which is expected to maximize the 3D effect. LG's 3D technology will also find its way into 150-inch projectors in the coming year.
LG has been committed to bringing active TVs that only require shutter glasses to experience 3D images, as well as the passive models that include a filter over the screen. In addition, LG has developed a chipset to handle various types of 3D broadcast signals and continues to develop correcting technology that automatically controls the brightness of overlapped parts on each eye to ensure optimum 3D images.
Both LG and SkyLife have agreed to invest in creating 3D content. Starting with 3D broadcasting for the FIS Snowboard World Cup, both will continuously produce or distribute 3D content from sport to educational programs and movies from overseas.
The trial is initially commencing in Korea but LG is aiming to build up a global 3D TV market that includes the US and Europe. LG aims to secure and maintain leadership among 3D TV brands and has aggressive sales targets of 400,000 units in 2010 and 3.4 million units in 2011.
LG expects the 3D TV market to increase sharply as internal global surveys indicate that as many as 58 percent of consumers want to purchase 3D TVs. Up to 75 percent of consumers who have seen 3D images said that they'd like to watch them again. The company also expects strong support from the industry, including 3D broadcasters, 3D Blu-ray players, 3D game consoles and 3D camcorder manufacturers.
LG will focus on extending the initiative in North America and Europe from 2010 and will launch 3D TVs in South and Central American and Asia from 2011. The market is expected to expand worldwide as the London 2012 Olympics are currently slated to be aired in 3D.
DisplaySearch, the leading source for information on the microdisplay industry, predicts the volume of the 3D TV market to increase sharply to USD 1.1 billion in 2010, USD 2.8 billion in 2011, USD 4.6 billion in 2012, and as much as USD 15.8 billion by 2015.
Source: Korea IT Times
Prismatic Magic introduced Laser-3D, the world's first 3-D laser projection system on the eve of the 50th anniversary (in 2010) of the invention of the laser. Laser-3D combines the vibrant, scintillating colors of traditional laser-light shows with full-color, stereoscopic 3-D technology. Laser-3D marks the latest technical milestone in Prismatic Magic's effort to enhance laser projection technology for novel applications in entertainment and academic settings.
"Laser-3D is unique in that it fuses two of the most popular concepts in the public consciousness, 'lasers' and '3-D', into a single, dazzling visualization medium," said Christopher Volpe, Ph.D., Prismatic Magic's president. "And we believe that Laser-3D is an important step towards the holy grail of projection technology - free-floating, holographic objects."
Prismatic Magic's Laser-3D is an extension of 3-D technology developed by Infitec, the same high-quality 3-D system used by Dolby 3-D Digital Cinema. "We designed Laser-3D around Infitec's 3-D format because, in comparison to other stereoscopic formats, it clearly results in the most realistic 3-D effect." said Dr. Volpe. "It also is the most versatile."
Laser-3D works by generating left and right duplicate images that are slightly offset from one another. Each image is projected by its own dedicated red, green, and blue (RGB) laser subsystem. The laser wavelengths of each subsystem are tuned 10-30 nanometers from one another in order to match the optical transmission of Infitec's reusable 3-D glasses. By allowing each eye to see only one RGB image, the 3-D glasses create a stereoscopic parallax, which is interpreted by the wearer as a full-color, 3-D laser image.
"Prismatic Magic's experience with laser projection and our experience in 3-D complement one another in an ideal way to form a new and unique product," said Helmut Jorke, the founder and CEO of Infitec.
Laser-3D is projected onto any lightly-colored, smooth surface. No special screen is required. The system is compact and portable allowing transport and projection indoors and outdoors. Eight complete 40-minute 3-D programs are expected to be initially available, with additional content created on an ongoing basis. Laser-3D systems are expected to be commercially available early 2010.
Source: Prismatic Magic
Silicon Image announced the newest member of its IP core family, the cineramIC 4K and 3D H.264 digital video decoder. With its high performance, low cost and high-quality video imaging, the cineramIC IP core can be integrated into System-on-Chips (SoCs) for next-generation digital TV (DTV), set-top-box (STB) and camcorder applications, as well as professional video editing, broadcast, medical and surveillance FPGA applications.
While consumer HDTVs are now prevalent worldwide, 3D video capability is gaining momentum in movie theaters and emerging in the consumer DTV market. The commercialization of ultra-high definition (UHD) resolutions is also on the horizon given the latest availability of professional 4K resolution cameras and displays.
The cineramIC IP core is a high-performance, cost-effective multi-standard digital video decoder design with the following features:
- Performance of up to 4K x 2K at 30 frames per second or high-definition 1080p 3D at 60 frames per second utilizing a single video pipeline implementation.
- Support for H.264, MPEG-1/2 and VC-1 decoding.
- Fully automatic multi-stream decoding for up to 16 streams, error detection and concealment, with very low software processing requirements.
- H.264 Multiview Video Coding (MVC) extension support for multi-camera 3D, surveillance and sports viewing applications.
- JPEG decoding of images up to 16K x 8K size with a decoding rate of 9 pictures per second for 32 Megapixel pictures.
The cineramIC technology is designed to support HD, 3D, 4K and higher resolution video decoding functions. A 4K (4K x 2K) resolution digital video decoder SoC using the cineramIC IP core running at 30 frames per second will require about 970k ASIC gates to implement with a minimum clock speed of only 300MHz. This implementation can decode compressed video streams of up to 160 mega bits per second (maximum average CABAC performance), with the ability to decode even the most difficult professional video streams.
FPGA implementations will use a lower clock speed and require additional gates to implement. Fewer than 2 million instructions per second (MIPS) of CPU time is required to decode 4K video streams, making the cineramIC IP core one of the industry’s highest performing, most efficient video decoders in the world. Similar hardware and software resources are required for decoding high-definition 1080p 3D 60 frames per second video content.
Source: Silicon Image
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
A strategic move by 2D/3D conversion company BSAT Labs to hire a major VFX facility in Chennai India will allow BSAT Labs access to more than 400 seats to do majority of the labor intensive work that is involved in the 3D conversion process.
"The number of 3D box office hits this year and many more 3D releases coming to theaters next year is proof that 3D is here to stay. Several forums such as SMPTE, CEA and BDA are doing a great job and working very hard to bring 3D to the home and pushing for Blu-Ray standardization, once standardized we will see a great volume of conversion work for legacy titles and commercials, but Studios are going to expect quality and quick turnaround times at low cost - BSAT labs is ready today!" said BSAT Labs president Yusuf Broachwala.
BSAT Labs uses a non proprietary method that is easy to use, non cumbersome and produces excellent quality. "Our non proprietary method allows us to easily expand our staff as required by the project, learning curves are short and compositors can become productive in a matter of days," Broachwala said.
BSAT Labs launched its 2D/3D conversion in May of this year and has since tested for several studios. BSAT labs goals are realistic, it expects several companies to offer 3D conversion but the ones that mitigate quality, costs and reliability are here to stay. Our sister company BSAT Inc has been in business since 2001 serving the cable and broadcast industry "working for the cable industry, we know what it takes to be reliable, quick turnaround times and keeping costs low," said Broachwala.
Optillusion, BSAT Labs 3D conversion process and techniques involves direct interaction with filmmakers. "We believe in 100% client satisfaction, our work flow includes filmmaker creative suggestions and decisions” Broachwala said “Our decision to select this VFX Company was twofold, keep costs low and quick turnaround - productivity is literally 24X7!"
"All our 3D conversion compositing work is done right here in the USA. We are a US company just taking the necessary steps to keep our clients profitable," ” Broachwala emphasized.
Source: Business of Cinema
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Broadcom Corporation announced that it is the first silicon provider to ship a true single die Blu-ray Disc chip. The new Broadcom BCM7630 offers an unprecedented level of integration combining proven optical front-end and back-end video decoding and display technologies in a single die solution.
Also announced is the BCM7632, which supplements the capabilities of the BCM7630 by adding support for the playback of 3D Blu-ray movies in stereoscopic full 1080p resolution. Although the 3D Blu-ray standard is not yet finalized, it is anticipated that the BCM7632 will comply with the final specification. The BCM7630 is in production. The BCM7632 is sampling to early access customers.
The world’s largest HD screen continues to have its problems. The Dallas Cowboys had planned to demonstrate Dec. 13 how conventional 2-D HD video could be converted to 3-D HD through sophisticated software processing using technology from HDLogix, an Edison, NJ, startup. During their game against the San Diego Chargers at Cowboys Stadium, the Cowboys used the 160ft by 72ft video wall that hangs 90ft above the field to show 3-D “anaglyph” images that were created using HDlogix’s 2-D to 3-D conversion system, ImageIQ3D. It took feeds from the teams’ in-stadium cameras and converted them to 3-D for display on the giant LED video wall.
The Cowboys distributed the red and blue glasses required to watch the anaglyph 3-D images to the 80,000 fans attending the game and planned to begin showing the 3D images during halftime and throughout the second half. Apparently, the demo didn’t go so well. After seven minutes, the board was turned off after continuous loud “boos” from the fans. Most of the 80,000 never bothered to put on the 3-D glasses and saw a blurry anaglyph image. Some who did wear the glasses complained that the 3-D effect caused nausea.
HDlogix has the technology to display 3-D without the glasses, but it didn’t work when scaled up for the huge monitor at Dallas.
Earlier this year, the 1.2-million pound, four-sided, $40 million display showed problems when Tennessee Titans punter A.J. Trapasso kicked a ball into the screen in a preseason game — the first-ever game played in the $1.15 billion stadium. It became apparent that the display was suspended too low. The NFL has ruled that the screen can stay in place — at least for this football season. Commissioner Roger Goodell also clarified rules, for this season only, on punts that ricochet off the HD screen.
By Michael Grotticelli, BroadcastEngineering
NXP Semiconductors announced the availability of the PNX5130, the industry’s first video co-processor enabling 3DTV, frame-rate conversion (FRC) and local backlight dimming in a single chip. By eliminating the need for external FPGA devices to support 3DTV, NXP is providing a highly cost-effective post-processing solution that will enable manufacturers to bring competitively priced 3D-enabled TV sets to the mainstream consumer market.
The PNX5130 enables conversion of all popular 3DTV formats to both line and frame interleaved displays, and is designed for maximum flexibility to support emerging 3DTV standards. The PNX5130 is available immediately and will be demonstrated at 2010 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Flexible Architecture for 3DTV
Although 3DTV is still in the early stages of standardization, the flexible architecture of the PNX5130 supports the most popular formats for encoding – including spatial 3D, temporal 3D and 3D with depth – as well as display. The PNX5130 is able to drive two different types of 3DTV display technologies used today: frame interleave, which it can support at 240Hz, as well as line interleave.
In frame interleaved displays, images for the left and right eye are presented sequentially, and require the use of shutter glasses which are synchronized with the alternating frames. In line interleaved displays, passive polarizer glasses are used to filter between odd and even lines, which present different images for the left and right eyes. In addition, the PNX5130 can also generate depth to 2D video or adjust depth to stereoscopic content.
Motion Accurate Picture Processing (MAPP)
The high-performance PNX5130 video post-processing platform also enables 3DTV with movie judder compensation. Based on the architecture of the PNX5100 platform, which has been widely recognized for its outstanding support of MEMC (Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation), the PNX5130 features the next generation of NXP’s proprietary MAPP (Motion Accurate Picture Processing) technology, which combines movie judder cancellation, motion sharpness, and vivid color management in a single device.
Key features of the highly integrated PNX5130 video co-processor include:
- 3DTV algorithms and format converters enabling conversion of all popular 3DTV formats to line interleaved (60/120Hz) and frame interleaved (120/240Hz) displays.
- Superior motion sharpness technology and full motion compensated up-conversion (ME/MC) to 1920 x 1080p at 120Hz and 240Hz.
- HD halo-reduced movie judder compensation and motion blur reduction.
- Integrated local dimming feature for combined local dimming and MEMC applications.
- Wide color gamut mapping; skin tone protection; green, blue and white stretch; sharpness enhancements (2D peaking, LTI, CTI, CDS); and contrast enhancements.
- Dynamic backlight control and 2D (local) dimming for 120Hz and 240Hz TVs.
In addition, the PNX5130 will offer integrated Full Motion Estimation for 3DTV starting in Q1 2010.
Engineering samples of the PNX5130 are available immediately, while the final software release will be available in Q1 2010.
Source: Yahoo Finance
Sony Electronics has announced the next generation of its tape-based HDCAM SR 4:4:4 high-definition (HD) acquisition product line, which now includes a new HDCAM SR camcorder (SRW-9000). The camcorder, to be available by the end of the year, provides an upgrade path to 35mm imaging and file-based production. New SR memory solid-state media, a new version of Sony’s SRW recorder and more cost-effective BCT-SR series tape pricing were also announced.
Across the SR range, Sony can deliver up to 1080/60p and 50p recording at a 880Mb/s data rate, and that range also now includes a next-generation file transfer and storage technology.
Rob Willox, director of Sony Electronics’ content creation group, said the SR format is file-based, and currently supports data recording in resolutions up to 4K as DPX files. The addition of solid-state media enhances the format’s inherent file-based design.
The new SRW-9000 camcorder combines the SR format’s image quality with the versatility of a one-piece camcorder. The full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution camcorder uses 2/3in CCDs with a 14-bit A/D converter and digital signal processing to capture up to 1080/60p images.
In addition, recognizing the market’s need for a 35mm “B” camera to complement Sony’s high-end F35, the company is unveiling an optional upgrade path for the SRW-9000 to a 35mm imager and PL mount to increase the camcorder’s flexibility and protect a user’s investment.
The company also announced the latest in HDCAM SR compression, “SR Lite,” which is a 220Mb/s data rate codec based on the MPEG-4 SStP (Simple Studio Profile) format and will be supported as an MXF wrapped file. This will help ensure high picture quality and enable near real-time exchange over a fast GB Ethernet connection. Content recorded on HDCAM tape can also be integrated into the MXF SStP file-based operation since the system is backwards compatible. Three different transfer rates — 880Mb/s, 440Mb/s and 220Mb/s — will all be available in future HDCAM SR products.
The SRW-5800/2 deck, to be available next summer, will support MXF file transfer and the 220Mb/s data rate as well as the ability to record and playback 4:4:4 content at 2X real time. These capabilities will also be available to existing SRW-5800 owners through optional hardware upgrades.
A series of new SR solid-state memory cards will deliver transfer rates of more than 5Gb/s and a storage capacity of up to 1TB. This new SR memory technology is designed to be the ideal media for future high-end production, with native acquisition capabilities for applications such as 3-D 1080p and higher resolutions up to 4K. Sony also plans to deliver an upgrade to SR memory on the existing SRW-9000 camcorder together with a memory adapter for the F35 and F23.
For the immediate future, the company’s new pricing structure for small-shell HDCAM SR cassettes will begin in January 2010, offering a near 25 percent cost reduction on the BCT40SR, the preferred model for SR production, as well as other cost savings on the BCT6SR and BCT33SR models.
Source: Broadcast Engineering
Replicator Technicolor is preparing to create and replicate 3D Blu-ray titles as early as the first half of 2010. Manufacturing 3D Blu-ray requires no upgrades to current replication machines. However, there has been significant development and innovation needed on the creation side to be primed for 3D. Technicolor is rolling out new software for authoring, encoding and subtitling.
In particular, subtitling has presented unique challenges for 3D because of concerns that eye-popping imagery could block out the words on screen. Yet Technicolor believes it has worked out a placement solution so 3D technology won’t interfere with subtitle use.
“On the replication side, it has been a pretty straight-forward process,” said Ahmad Ouri, chief marketing officer of Thomson/Technicolor. “We are using the same machines, and there are no major changes. We are developing new encoding, authoring and subtitling tools. We are building something new, and we want to be the first to deliver on all of these components. I have no doubt that in the first half of next year, our technology will be ready.”
The company’s 3D launch is dependent on the Blu-ray Disc Assn. finalizing its specification for the 3D Blu-ray format. The BDA is expected to announce this accomplishment in the next couple of weeks.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is one of the few studios to formally commit to releasing a 3D Blu-ray title, coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2010, at an undetermined time. (SPHE replicates at sister company Sony DADC).
Still, Technicolor hopes to be a pioneer for 3D Blu-ray production as it has been in the theatrical exhibition space. The company is considered one of the leaders in 3D theatrical print processing/post-production. It also is behind a new theatrical technology—3D for film—that enables exhibitors to showcase 3D products on traditional screens.
Ouri believes that the key to the successful adoption of 3D in the home is to make more people aware of the wonder of the technology through big-screen sampling. At the moment, just 6% to 7% of U.S. theatrical screens show 3D films.
“The more people can get exposed to 3D theatrically, the more likely they will venture out to buy a 3D TV" and other products, said Ouri.
Additionally, Technicolor has the capabilities to engineer 3D downloads. But the company believes that Blu-ray will offer the best high-resolution 3D product into homes. 3D could spark fresh consumer demand in Blu-ray in 2010. Technicolor is prepared to ramp up its creation/replication capacity accordingly.
“The big variable in 2010 is 3D—that is the ‘X’ factor,” said Ouri. “We structure our facilities in a way that we can move quickly on demand. We are always in a position to scale up.”
There will be a slew of Technicolor 3D demonstrations at January’s Consumer Electronics Show.
Even without 3D, Blu-ray has been a recent healthy source of growth for replicators. Sony DADC acknowledges Blu-ray demand was somewhat slow earlier in the year, with its machines running at about 50% to 60% of capacity with high-definition manufacturing. In the fourth quarter, the company’s machines are at about 80%. At this point, Sony DADC doesn’t have immediate plans to hike Blu-ray replication capacity in 2010. But like Technicolor, it says it can respond quickly to market changes.
Blu-ray "is coming along nicely … [and] we and our competitors are going to do whatever is required to expand,” said Jim Twiggs, senior VP of Blu-ray at Sony DADC. “This is our emerging market. We’ll do whatever is required of us.”
By Susanne Ault, Video Business
BSkyB is researching and developing technologies to turn live sports broadcasts into 3D interactive games. The project has been conceived as an extension of plans to augment Sky Sports' existing virtual graphics analysis tools for the launch of its 3D channel.
"The merger of live 3D sports broadcast with gaming is the next level," Darren Long, Head of Operations, Sky Sports at BSkyB, told TVB Europe. "One of my projects is investigating how to convert 2D HD information into 3D with as much realism as possible. We're taking player tracking data and information about head, leg and arm movements for playback in 3D.
"The important thing is to see how we can do better analysis of live incidents," he explained. "Despite the fact that football is regularly covered with 20 or more cameras, there are still instances of play which cause debate, perhaps because a camera hasn't really captured it in the best possible way. What's important for us is to accurately show exactly what has happened.
"We want to go beyond Hawk-Eye and Piero (two current sports analysis systems which extrapolate movement and positional data into 3D) and see if we can deliver a 360-degree virtual world in as much 3D realism as possible," he continued. "The real challenge is processing it fast enough.
"As a spin-off from that, we're exploring applications such as downloading the data to mobiles or other devices for people to view, interact or play a game with the sequence."
Sony has announced plans to upgrade all PS3 consoles to be capable of playing back a raft of new 3D games during 2010. Meanwhile BSkyB, whose Sky Player VoD service is already available on the Xbox, is expected to be ported to a number of new devices in the New Year, beginning with Fetch TV and to include the PS3.
By Adrian Pennington, TVB Europe
A major report commissioned for the regulator Ofcom has recommended the use of the 2D plus Difference method of 3DTV transmission. The proposal for the system, also known as 2D plus Delta, is made in Beyond HDTV: Implications for Digital Delivery, written by the consultants ZetaCast. Under the method one eye is chosen as the 2D video, which is encoded conventionally, allowing a viewer with only a 2D decoder to view the 2D video normally. When a stereoscopic decoder is used, the difference signal modifies the 2D video to recreate the view from the other eye. The difference signal can be compressed using a standard video encoder. ZetaCast estimates that the total bitrate would be between 1.4 and 1.8 times the 2D video alone.
The report carries significant weight because of an earlier report in which ZetaCast recommended DVB-T2 could be used in combination with a revision of the multiplex layout to launch HD services over the terrestrial system. BSkyB, which has plans to launch a pay-per-view 3D channel during 2010 is proposing the use of Frame compatible, side-by-side AVC.
“Of the ‘2D plus metadata’ methods, ‘2D plus difference’ is the most practical today,” says the report. “2D plus depth has the potential to reduce the required bit-rate further, but the depth map is likely to be difficult to create with any great precision, particularly for real-time events”.
Part of the ZetaCast scenario is that by 2020 a combination of a new compression algorithm and more sophisticated encoder implementations will take the bitrate down to 50% of the levels required today for 1080p/50 content, ie, 6.5 Mbps. The consultancy also assumes there will be no fundamental breakthrough in “3D” display technology before 2020. This leaves the same options for 3D display as today, requiring the use of either polarised or shutter glasses.
By Julian Clover, Broadband TV News
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
NVIDIA has been demonstrating a complete 3D movie solution consisting of a PC equipped with a GeForce GPU and NVIDIA 3D Vision active-shutter 3D glasses, as well as new 1080p, 3D LCD displays from Acer to showcase how consumers will experience this new 3D Blu-ray content once it is commercially available. In anticipation of an official announcement by the Blu-ray Disc Association and expected product unveilings at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this January, NVIDIA has been working closely with the world's leading movie playback software developers, including Arcsoft, Corel, Cyberlink, and Sonic, to ensure seamless support for 3D Blu-ray titles when they are ready to ship in 2010.
Over the last few weeks, NVIDIA has successfully demonstrated playback of 3D content encoded with the AVC Multi-View Codec (or AVC-MVC), the codec that is expected to become the foundation for how 3D content is encoded onto Blu-ray discs. 3D Blu-ray content encoded in AVC-MVC can be decoded in real time on select NVIDIA GPUs. NVIDIA GPUs that can decode 3D Blu-ray content include the GeForce GT 240 ($99 U.S. MSRP), as well as upcoming next-generation GF100 GPUs based on the NVIDIA "Fermi" architecture. This will allow consumers to build desktop PCs powered by GeForce GPUs and NVIDIA 3D Vision active shutter glasses for under $1000 in total, making them the ideal platform for watching 3D Blu-ray movies, viewing 3D photographs, browsing 3D Web sites, or playing more than 400 PC game titles in 3D.
Of course, consumers will need a compatible 3D Vision display to watch upcoming 3D Hollywood blockbusters in the home. As a result, the world's leading display manufacturers are readying new 3D-Vision-ready, 1920x1080, 120Hz 1080p LCDs for introduction in 2010, and Acer will be first to market with its new GD245HQ and GD235HZ models that are perfect for gaming, videos and other home entertainment uses, including 3D Blu-ray content.
Source: CNN Money
The National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys plan to demonstrate this Sunday how conventional two-dimensional HD video can be converted to 3D HD through sophisticated software processing, using technology from Edison, N.J. start-up HDLogix.
During their game against the San Diego Chargers at Cowboys Stadium, the Cowboys will use the giant (160 by 72-foot) video wall that hangs 90 feet above the field to show 3D “anaglyph” images that will be created using HDLogix’s 2D to 3D conversion system, ImageIQ3D. It will take feeds from the teams’ in-stadium cameras and convert them to 3D for display on the giant LED video wall. The Cowboys will distribute the red & blue glasses required to watch the anaglyph 3D images to the 80,000-odd fans attending the game, and plan to begin showing the 3D images during halftime and throughout the second half.
HDLogix, a privately-owned firm started a year-and-a-half ago by veterans of Sun Microsystems, IBM, Clique Communications and AgileVision, has developed a variety of image processing software for upconverting standard-definition video to HD and other applications. According to chief technology officer Will Gaddy, some of the “super-resolution” technology the company developed, such as sophisticate motion estimation algorithms, is also applicable to creating 3D images from 2D video. By closely analyzing each individual pixel of video, the HDLogix software can generate highly detailed information about a scene’s depth of field, and then modify the image to create the 3D effect.
“We’re doing motion estimation for every pixel, with one-hundredth of a pixel accuracy, and we’re [tracking] occlusion and disocclusion. When you’ve an got object moving in front of a background, you’ve got a leading edge that is hiding pixels and a trailing edge that is revealing pixels,” explains Gaddy. “In combination with camera motion, that gives you a lot of information about the depth of scene.”
That “optical flow” processing software, which runs on graphical processing units (GPUs) from chip makers like Nvidia and ATI, is the basis of how HDLogix creates what it calls “synthetic 3D” from conventional video. According to Gaddy, the software can sit anywhere in the transmission chain, and can be used to create all the varieties of 3D, including anaglyph, stereoscopic, which also requires special glasses, and autostereoscopic, which doesn’t need glasses. It can also be used to convert anaglyph 3D content to stereoscopic 3D, which is the format being adopted by major TV set manufacturers and used by several networks in early 3D trials.
HDLogix aims to sell its technology to programmers as a cost-effective way to produce 3D content, either for live broadcasts like an NFL game or for remastering movies and other archive content to 3D. The company says it can create a powerful 3D effect for live broadcasts, without requiring a specialized 3D HD production truck and a separate set of cameras, and can do an even better job with non-real-time content while costing a fraction of current manual processes for converting 2D to 3D. The company demonstrated the technology to cable executives at the CTAM show in Denver this fall, and will use the showcase of the Cowboys game to bring it to a much broader audience, including top sports executives.
A technology executive familiar with HDLogix says that the company thinks it has a groundbreaking technology for cheaply creating 3D, but that it remains to be seen whether programmers are satisfied with the image quality its system produces.
3D HD content is expected to be available on Blu-ray disc next year, and some 3D insiders have suggested that a 3D pay-TV service may also debut in the U.S. in 2010; British satellite broadcaster BSkyB already says it will launch a 3D service next year in the U.K. But HDLogix VP of sales and marketing Simon Tidnam expects there will still be very little 3D programming made available in the near term using traditional production methods, and says that HDLogix has a “golden opportunity” to fill the current void in 3D programming.
“It’s great that people are buying 3D sets, but there’s probably not enough content to justify that significant price premium,” says Tidnam. “To get to where there’s value, you need to have content.”
By Glen Dickson, Broadcasting & Cable
Get ready for 3D in the home, because it's going to hit big in the next 18 months, a panel of top industry tech mavens predicted at Variety's Future of Film confab in Santa Monica.
Ed Leonard, chief technology officer of DreamWorks Animation, said he sees a fast adoption of 3D-capable screens in the home because the technolgy is there. "It's extraordinary," Leonard said during the sesh moderated by David S. Cohen, Variety's associate editor of features.
Chris Carey, exec VP of worldwide technical operations for Paramount, noted that there's very little additional cost for people with HD TV sets to be able to access 3D. Those technologies should be very prominent at next month's Consumer Electronics Show, Carey said.
The march of 3D into the home will complement the push in theaters, Leonard said. Panelists agreed that in years to come, most megabudget pics will be made in 3D.
"3D provides us an opportunity to reinvigorate the experience in the theater," Leonard said. "3D done well is an incredible tool for our creative teams. Not as a gimmick but as a vehicle to really pull you into the story."
Cohen surveyed the panel, which also included Warner Bros. prexy of technical operations Darcy Antonellis, on what big technological leaps lay ahead in the next ten years.
Carey predicted continued morphing, or what he called "widgetizing," of TV and the Internet. "It's all going to be ported over into a 10-foot experience" on the TV set rather than the computer screen. "TV is increasingly going to be at the center if your entertainment experience," he said. "It's going to become appliance-like. Like your toaster. You just push a button and it works."
Antonellis emphasized the changes coming with the spread of cloud computing, which will help eliminate the need for consumers to store physical copies of DVDs, CDs, etc. She said search and recommendation functions will also continue to evolve and become more important to consumers. Other than that, she predicted the biz will endure "the wholesale change of all of our business models. Other than that it's pretty static," she quipped.
Leonard continued to pound the 3D drum, emphasizing that it will "change the way we think about entertainment."
By Cynthia Littleton, Variety
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
The RedBrix Vision is an embedded, yet compact real-time Stereoscopic Camera/Image Processor. Designed primarily to support a broad range of image sensors, it also incorporates a number of input/output ports to facilitate the image information transport. It performs a HQ debayering (demosaicing), color calibration, color correction of 2x HD CMOS or CCD sensors in real-time (1080P60).
The sensor heads are interchangeable giving access to different type of resolution and applications. The basic model comes with a 10MPixels sensor for still images and full HD for video in 3D. Could be converted to high-end video Sensor for movie making and/or for very high resolution still image camera.
The competition for supremacy in the global flat-screen industry is expected to get fiercer as Japan's Sony, which has failed to enjoy profits from its Bravia LCD TVs, is now trying to compete with Samsung Electronics in 3D TVs. Although analysts and industry watchers are still doubtful due to the low amount of 3D TV-only content, they say the Tokyo-based company's new focus seems enough to threaten Samsung, considering Sony's strength in content-based software businesses.
"Quite a few years would be needed for Sony to reap profits on the level the company hopes from its new focuses. But the key point is that Sony has the edge in home entertainment content," Park Hyun, an analyst at Prudential Investment, a local brokerage, said Monday.
Officials at Samsung Electronics said the world's biggest maker of LCD TVs is planning to make efforts to accelerate its sales of "converged LCD TVs with LED backlights" in the global market for the whole of next year. The upgraded flat-screen television sets make it possible to realize 3D figures on screen, and guarantee a greater accessibility to Internet-linked wireless content.
As industry latecomers to the LED TV business, such as Dutch-based Philips, and Toshiba and Sharp of Japan, are ready to commercialize LED TVs in 2010, Samsung is planning to add functions such as 3D effect to upcoming models to sustain its industry leadership, officials say.
"The market for 3D televisions will grow at a faster pace earlier than expected as Sony has clarified its intention for the segment," according to the analyst.
3D TV: Sony's Savior?
Sony Chairman Howard Stringer is confident that the Japanese company will finally reap the benefits of being a company whose businesses span video games, gadgets, music and movies. The company has often pointed to its ownership of content as an advantage over competitors but, so far, the benefits have proved to be illusory.
The TV titan failed to narrow the market gap with Samsung Electronics in the global TV industry as the strengthening yen and a management reshuffle distracted the company from joining the LED TV race. Sony relinquished the top spot to Samsung in 2006. Since then, its TV business has been stalling. For example, Samsung is now holding some 80 percent of the global market for LCD TVs with LED backlights. But Sony is just preparing to jump into the market.
"Just like LED TVs for Samsung, 3D TVs could be the new segment for Sony to eventually crack into Samsung's leadership," Park of Prudential said.
Sony CEO Stringer said the company hopes to regain its competitive edge in the global television market with the launch of three-dimensional TVs and expansion of its online services. 3D TVs allow viewers to perceive an illusion of depth on screen when they wear special glasses. Sony has said it expects one-third to a half of Sony TVs to be packed with 3-D features in three years time.
"While others, including Disney and DreamWorks, are aggressively bolstering their 3D production, Sony is also supplying animation and other content through Imageworks, and we confirmed that a company having its own content is a big strength," Morgan Stanley, a U.S.-based brokerage house, wrote in a memo to clients.
"The number of 3D movie screens has been on the rise globally, from 2,500 in 2008 to over-7,000 in 2009, and to 15,000 screens by 2013," it said, adding that Sony expects a full launch of 3D broadcasting in 2011, driven by sports programming.
Although analysts generally have no big questions over the long-term market outlook for 3D TVs and Sony's capability to produce 3D content, content is still cited as the biggest concern.
"What is limiting 3D is the lack of content. I think it's something that will become desirable over the next few years," a top-ranking industry official said.
"Despite all the advances, content is still important. You can have all the best technology in the world but if you don't have content people want to watch, they're not going to switch on," according to the official.
Sony plans to record up to 25 World Cup games in 3D via an agreement with FIFA, an international football governing body.
"But that's just for a one-time. I can say it's a show-off," the official added.
Sony Chairman Stringer said it would step up efforts to add 3D-related functions to Blu-ray players. But some say Blu-ray itself has done little to perk up the flagging consumer video businesses, whose revenue has traveled on a slight downward curve over the past few years.
Another question is how to ensure that 3-D scenes are shot to seem realistic. Filmgoers are comfortable with the "fantasy world" depicted in 3-D animation.
"Will consumers be asked to wear (the glasses) all the time? Most people today watch TV while doing something else," another industry official said, adding cost is another consideration.
"Vendors haven't yet disclosed pricing for 3-D Blu-ray players or TVs. But in a weak economy, another high-ticket gadget might hold limited appeal," he said.
At a time when Sony is expanding its aggressive footsteps to capitalize on such next-generation TVs and strengths in content-related services, Samsung plans to increase its sale of LED TVs by four-fold to 10 million units in 2010 from an estimated 2.5 million by the end of this year, Samsung officials say.
By Kim Yoo-chul, The Korea Times
AMD announced that it will demonstrate the forthcoming Blu-ray stereoscopic 3D standard at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, showcasing how consumers will soon get to enjoy high-fidelity 3D entertainment once reserved only for theaters.
Expected to hit store shelves in the second half of next year, Blu-ray stereoscopic 3D combines the crisp, high-definition images the format is known for with high-quality 3D visuals that seem to jump from the screen. As a contributing member of the Blu-ray Disc Association, AMD is working closely with technology partners as the format specifications are finalized over the coming year in order to help ensure compatibility with upcoming AMD hardware.
At the upcoming 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, AMD and CyberLink will jointly preview Blu-ray stereoscopic 3D entertainment for those in attendance. The new standard is one of many 3D technologies AMD openly supports, along with 3D DLP televisions, dual-panel and line interleaved 3D monitors, and is part of AMD’s initiative to further both the art of 3D entertainment, and its adoption in homes worldwide through close collaboration with 3D technology partners, including OEMs, software developers and content distributors.
RealD, the world's leading 3D technology provider for cinema and professional applications, announced that video game publisher and developer NAMCO BANDAI Games has introduced RealD's proprietary Stereoscopic Gaming API into their development environment. The technology delivers an automated continuous approach to 3D that is compatible with real-time rendering and promises to bring RealD's world-renowned 3D cinema experience to console gaming.
"RealD 3D introduced a new era of movies, giving filmmakers the ability to take audiences inside distant worlds, immersing them deeper into stories than ever before," said Joshua Greer, President of RealD. "RealD technology can now do the same for gaming by creating ultra-realistic 3D experiences where players can literally step inside a game and interact with a fully dimensionalized environment. This new generation of RealD 3D powered video games will for the first time truly replicate on screen the way we see and interact with our world."
"RealD has the world's best 3D technology, as evident by their leading the current 3D movie revolution," said Shin Unozawa, President & Chief Executive Officer, NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. "We look forward to our developers leveraging RealD's decades of 3D expertise and this breakthrough technology to deliver an unsurpassed and true-to-life 3D gaming experience."
The RealD Stereoscopic Gaming API is a toolkit of proprietary 3D technology designed to solve issues inherent with existing 3D gaming technology. This includes creating the perception of depth across the entire line of sight, eliminating any 'cardboard cut-out' background affects. The API also gives developers new gameplay tools like head tracking and automatic camera adjustments, creating a fully immersive 3D gaming experience that interacts with a player visually and physically.
Features of the RealD Stereoscopic Gaming API include:
- RealD stereoscopic output format - visually lossless universal 3D format for multiplexing a left/right stereoscopic image stream into a single image channel.
- Auto-camera - auto adjustment technology for viewing angles in changing scenes to assure comfortable viewing of crisp, clear 3D effects.
- Depth budget allocation - automated continuous 3D effects compatible with real-time rendering to create natural looking depth from the foreground to the farthest horizon.
- Negative disparity control - eliminates edge-intercepting objects from breaking frame and creating broken 3D effects.
- Head tracking - player head movements are tracked by a peripheral web-camera with 3D environments that rotate naturally about the screen plane to ensure image separation is always parallel to a player's eyes for more realistic effects.
RealD's Stereoscopic Gaming API will be implemented in upcoming as yet unannounced NAMCO BANDAI Games titles.
Source: PR Newswire
Catalan regional public broadcaster TV3 will start 3D transmissions in 2010 using stereoscopic image creation. TV3 is making 3D a bet for the future. It says it needs to explore new ways of watching television. Televisió de Catalunya - TV3's public owner- is signing up new productions for 3D-suitable material, including a theatre play. In order to be able to watch these broadcastings the viewers have to use special glasses.
Some 3D programming has recently been screened by broadcasters, including the UK's Channel 4. The United Arab Emirate's have tested 3D on some soccer matches, and the USA's Super Bowl final was broadcast in 3D after some 125 million 3D glasses were distributed for viewers.
By Iñaki Ferreras, RapidTV News
Sunday, December 06, 2009
A new partnership between 2D/3D conversion company In-Three and Mumbai-headquartered media giant Reliance might signal that a surge of new 3D content is on the way next year.
Reliance MediaWorks, a film and entertainment services company and a member of the Reliance ADA group, inked a deal with Westlake Village, Calif.-based In-Three to create a massive Mumbai-based facility dedicated to 2D/3D conversion. The operation will use In-Three's proprietary Dimensionalization process to convert new productions as well as library titles to 3D.
"We feel next year is going to a big year for 3D for theaters and the home," said Neil Feldman, CEO of In-Three, which recently worked on Disney's 3D G-Force. "We anticipate such a large volume of work that we need capacity, and that is where Reliance comes in. We are setting this up in advance."
Slated to launch in February, the operation intends to hire hundreds of employees -- possibly as many as 600 -- during its first year. They will be trained and equipped to handle 15-25 feature film projects a year. Further out, the companies expect the staff to number in the thousands.
The companies said that work on the first joint title will commence early next year, with several more projects planned for a start in the year's first half. Titles were not disclosed.
The number of 3D cinema screens worldwide recently topped 6,000, and the transition continues to move forward albeit at a slower pace than many had hoped. It is expected that the first projects from the facility will include new features and legacy titles as well as theatrical commercials.
TV series might not be far off as the consumer electronics industry is preparing a big push for 3D-ready TVs and Blu-ray Disc players at next month's Consumer Electronics Show. A steady stream of content will be required to drive the fledgling market.
The cost of creating content can be a barrier, and the agreement also takes aim at that issue. Conversion costs for 3D vary greatly depending on the complexity of the material and the process as some techniques are moving toward an automated commodity business, while others, including In-Three's system, often involve the filmmakers who make depth-related creative decisions.
For the Dimentionalization process, Feldman said the Reliance deal could help reduce turnaround time while bringing down production costs, which could realize savings of 25%-45% compared with the current In-Three model.
The alliance is enabled by the creation this year of Reliance's business process outsourcing operation in Mumbai that houses a massive restoration and image processing unit -- it also will include the In-Three unit -- in about 90,000 square feet of space.
Reliance last year acquired Burbank-based restoration/imaging processing business Lowry Digital and is expanding its capabilities and services in the new space, and the company sees the addition of In-Three as a good fit.
"Reliance MediaWorks already does image enhancement and restoration for the leading Hollywood studios, and the expansion of services into 2D-to-3D conversion was a natural next step for the company," Reliance MediaWorks CEO Anil Arjun said.
This move is the latest in Reliance MediaWorks' bullish growth plan. Arjun said the company eventually wants to offer "everything to do with creating a film, as well as exhibition."
Reliance MediaWorks' film services include motion picture processing, digital intermediate, visual effects, film restoration and image enhancement, digital mastering, studios and equipment rentals. It also operates television venture Big Synergy and cinema chain BIG Cinemas. Reliance, of course, famously inked a financing deal last year with DreamWorks.
"Reliance MediaWorks is in the business of enabling storytellers," Arjun said. "Our entire suite of services is geared toward this objective. We see 3D as a compelling opportunity and believe the next two years are major milestone years and aim to be catalysts in this for growth."
By Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter
Wistron is said to have recently received 3D TV orders from Vizio who plans to launch related products in 2010 with a consumer-friendly price to compete against Japan-based brands, according to market sources. Both Vizio and Wistron declined to comment.
Wistron sign an agreement with US-based Dynamic Digital Depth (DDD) and paid a license fee of NT$43 million (US$1.34 million) for the rights to use its TriDef 3D technology on notebooks and LCD TVs, the sources noted. Wistron has also invested NT$21 million in DDD and acquired a 15% stake in the company, the sources added.
The sources noted that LCD TV vendors such as Panasonic, Toshiba and Sony are also planning to launch 3D TVs in 2010, while Sony expects 3D TVs to account for up to 50% of its total TV shipments in the fiscal year of 2013 (April 2013 to March 2014).
Shipments of 3D TVs are expected to reach 50 million units in 2012, of which 10 million units will be 3D PDP TVs, and shipments of 3D LCD TVs are expected to reach 40 million units, 20% of the total 200 million LCD TVs forecast for 2012, the sources added.
By Yen-Shyang Hwang and Rebecca Kuo, DigiTimes
Element Technica, whose Technica 3-D Rigs precisely position a pair of cameras to achieve realistic stereoscopic digital video for broadcast and cinema, is now delivering the first new Quasar 3-D Rigs.
The Quasar is designed to accommodate full-size digital cinema cameras like the Sony F23 and F35, Red One, Panavision Genesis, as well as full-body and box-type digital broadcast cameras like the Sony F950 and 1500, Philips LDK and others. The Quasar is a platform for matching zoom or prime lenses to accommodate any shooting style or format.
Prior to introduction of the Technica 3-D Rigs, 3-D production typically used heavy equipment requiring specialized tools and a dedicated crew. The Technica 3D series overcomes these stumbling blocks by providing 3-D systems that are lighter in weight and less costly — bringing 3-D acquisition down to the simplicity of traditional 2-D production.
Technica 3-D rigs require only a set of Allen wrenches and a mirror gauge for complete camera/lens installation and precise alignment, which can be completed in less than 15 minutes as opposed to the hours required with other professional 3-D systems.
Technica 3-D systems will soon be available in three different sizes. The largest system, Quasar, the mid-sized Pulsar mounts box-style digital cinema cameras such as the Scarlet, Epic and the Si-2k. The ultra-small neutron is designed for the tiny 2/3in or 1/3in imager cameras using C-mount lenses such as the Si-2k Mini and the Iconix. All three Technica 3-D systems can convert from parallel to beam-splitter configuration and back, depending on the application.
LG Display, a leading innovator of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) technology, announced the world’s first commercial launch of 3D LCD panel boasting full HD resolution. The new product is a 23-inch 3D monitor LCD panel for use with shutter glasses that delivers full HD resolution. It offers picture quality that is almost twice as crisp as HD 3D displays currently available in the market.
The panel adopts the company’s proprietary technologies such as “high performance 3D exclusive controller” capable of processing more than twice as much image data as other HD 3D LCDs and “copper bus line” to improve on the resolution and picture quality. In addition, the panel is able to reproduce both 2D and 3D images, meaning that users can switch back and forth from 2D and 3D modes.
Although full HD 3D images have been developed for contents such as video games, movies and animations, 3D display products with full HD resolution were unavailable in the market. The commercial launch of LG Display’s full HD 3D LCD panel is expected to help to boost development of high resolution 3D contents while allowing users to view true-to-life 3D images.
The 3D display market is expected to grow at rapid pace as the industry players are shifting their focus from two-dimensional to three-dimensional technologies. The Korea Communications Commission recently announced plans to start a trial service for the world’s first full HD 3D terrestrial broadcasting from the second half of 2010. A launch of trial services for 3D satellite broadcasts had been also announced earlier in Japan and the UK.
Source: LG Display