SignageWire

SMPTE to set home 3-D standards

Published on: 2015-02-05

From this article at Hollywood Reporter:

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers is starting a significant initiative that could help to propel the stereoscopic 3-D home entertainment industry forward.

The international standards-setting body will create 3-D mastering standards for content that will be viewed in the home -- for all devices and delivery methods.

"Right now there are many companies that have different technical methods for doing 3-D in the home, but you need to format content in different ways in order to have it work on those different systems," explained SMPTE engineering vp Wendy Aylsworth. "If the studios have to make different (types of) discs for these home entertainment systems, it's not going to happen. And consumers, I think, will not want to read the box to see what will work on their sets."

According to the SMPTE plan, the society will first establish an industry task force to define the parameters of a mastering standard for 3-D content distributed via broadcast, cable, satellite, packaged media and the Internet, and played-out on televisions, computer screens and other tethered displays. In six months, the 3-D Home Display Formats Task Force will produce a report that defines the issues and challenges, minimum standards, and evaluation criteria.

Our take:

While 3-D video projection may have gotten its start in Hollywood (remember all of those cheesy films that made you wear those red-blue glasses?), today the tech is primarily used for advanced visualization purposes -- think oil exploration or remote surgery. However, there's a large and growing number of companies offering glasses-less 3-D video for the digital out-of-home market.  The current crop of displays suffer from some serious limitations, like relatively low brightness, a narrow viewing angle to get the 3-D effect, and, of course, ridiculous price tags.  However, if the technology can be commercialized for consumers, at least that last one will be impacted by the law of supply and demand (remember how much flat screens used to cost?).  While it will still be a long time before 3-D displays become the norm, the SMPTE action indicates that at least we can expect to see something of it in the future.


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