NDS’s Programme Guides for the 3D Era

If 3D TV is to become a reality the question of programme guides and other data overlays needs to be resolved. Today’s interfaces are designed for the old world of 2D video, and as soon as they are overlaid on 3D video something starts to look very wrong.

NDS demonstrated a couple of solutions to this problem at IBC. The first used the firm’s “Snowflake” programme guide. During playback of a 3D movie, if the guide is selected, the movie switches to 2D mode and the guide is presented in the foreground, so appearing to “float” in front of the TV screen. Another example illustrated a VOD selection menu in the foreground, against a 2D movie background, with certain titles “raised” above others.

NDS also demonstrated a method of integrating subtitles over 3D video, so that each subtitle was linked to the appropriate depth of the relevant content. For example, if a character was moving “towards” the viewer, the subtitle can be linked to the correct depth.

The more advanced demonstration actually overlaid a 3D EPG on top of a 3D movie. This clearly takes some careful planning, because any mixing of the guide data with the depth of the movie would create confusion. So the guide is allocated a certain depth in front of the screen, while the movie is positioned behind, with a clear “depth boundary” between the two. The guide must also feature only solid graphics, since any transparency again would lead to visual distortion.

NDS was running this last demonstration from a PC, and it featured upscaled 2x1080p 3D video: today’s set-top boxes are not powerful enough for these data processing requirements. But NDS believes that next generation chips from Intel will support these capabilities.

By David Mercer, Videonet