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CableLabs Seeks 3-D TV Info

4/11/2009 2:00 AM Eastern

CableLabs issued a request for information to about a dozen 3-D video technology companies in late March, as the industry consortium is looking to get in front of the issues involved in delivering three-dimensional TV programming.

CableLabs vice president of consumer video technology David Broberg said the organization will evaluate different 3-D TV systems and produce a report for its member MSOs. “This isn't any sort of qualification — it's background investigation,” he said.

As part of the RFI process, he added, CableLabs will assess operator requirements for a 3-D TV system.

Broberg last month was appointed to chair the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers' ad hoc working group on 3-D TV.

Standardization work for delivering 3-D television is in the early stages. For example, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers last summer established a task force to define the parameters of a mastering standard for 3-D home video.

Broberg noted that there are more than 30 different methods for multiplexing left and right images into a video stream.

Some approaches send the left and right images in alternating frames; others send the images side-by-side in the same frame — both of which would reduce overall picture quality. Another technique is color multiplexing, which uses color filters to separate the left and right sides.

“Then you get into the question of, Do you do left first or right first?” Broberg said. “It's going to be a slow process” to reach standardization.

September