3-D TV Scheme Seeks to Replace Regular TVs

As TV makers ready 3-D models, a company called Dynamic Digital Depth claims its automatic 2-D-to-3-D conversion algorithms could help replace conventional TVs. Parent company DDD Group plc (Santa Monica, Calif.) argues that several dozen 3-D movie titles are not enough to persuade wary consumers to buy a dedicated 3-D display. By including automatic 2-D-to-3-D conversion for regular TV, PC games and even the user's own images, the company says 3-D TVs may be poised to eventually displace regular TVs altogether.

"There are not enough 3-D movie titles out there yet to justify purchasing a TV dedicated to stereoscopic," said Christopher Yewdall, executive director and CEO of DDD. "We are stuck in this Catch-22 situation where the TV manufacturers won't make many 3-D televisions until there is sufficient content available. And the content providers won't produce more 3-D programming until the 3-D televisions are available."

Putting a 2-D-to-3-D button on a TV remote control woud break "the chicken-or-egg dilemma by allowing viewers to automatically convert existing 2-D to 3-D," Yewdall added.

Last year, DDD formed a partnership with Altera Corp. to embed its TriDef Core algorithms into the company's Arria-GX FPGAs, permitting DDD to license pc-board subsystems to major TV manufacturers. DDD is currently delivering its subsystem technology to such TV makers as Hyundai IT, Sharp, Samsung and Wistron. It provides both automatic conversion capabilities as well as the ability to sense and display native 3-D content in a variety of formats.

The TriDef Core algorithms provide user controls for "point-of-focus" and "depth." Users adjust the point-of-focus to determine which parts of 3-D images protrude from the front of the TV. The depth control determines how far it appears between the point-of-focus and the farthest object in a scene (often the horizon).

When users tune in to native 3-D content, DDD's algorithm senses and translates it into the 3-D format of the display. 3-D content can come from Blu-ray disks, DVDs, live broadcasts or PC game consoles. Supported displays include parallax barrier, lenticular, polarized and LCD shutter-glasses displays.

For high-end LCDs, digital light projectors and plasma TVs, Hyundai, Samsung, Wistron and others are using Altera FPGA versions of DDD's algorithms for automatic conversions to 3-D and to sense native 3-D content. It is then translated for display.

By R. Colin Johnson, EE Times