Technology

TDVision Pushes ‘Full’ 3D

8/03/2010 11:01 AM Eastern

The first 3DTV broadcasts
from cable and satellite
operators don’t look quite as
spectacular as they could.

That’s because, to deliver the
signals over existing infrastructure,
pay TV operators are shoehorning
the two separate images
required for 3D into the space usually
taken up by one HD feed.

Now, a small company called
TDVision Systems claims it has a
way to deliver 3D in full high-resolution
format — without needing
twice the bandwidth.

The privately held firm is pitching
its “2D+Delta” encoding technology,
which delivers one full
HD signal along with a subset of
information for the second eye.
That “delta” includes only the
differences between the left-and-right-eye images, allowing two
full-HD streams to be reconstituted
on a compatible 3DTV.

Initially, cable and satellite-TV
operators are delivering 3DTV in
so-called frame-compatible format,
which squeezes left-and-
right-eye views into one screen.
While that has the advantage of
working with existing set-tops
and transmission equipment, the
approach amounts to “just mercilessly
ripping out half the pixels
and throwing them away,” said
Ethan Schur, TDVision’s chief
standards engineer and head of
marketing.

According to Schur, a framecompatible 3DTV broadcast
requires roughly 115% of the
bandwidth for a regular 2D channel,
to account for some overhead,
while delivering only half
the resolution of 1080i HD. Using
TDVision’s 2D+Delta encoding,
a “full-resolution” 3D stream
would need about 145% the bandwidth
of its 2D counterpart.

Moreover, the TDVision system
is designed to be backward-compatible
with 2D-only TVs, which
would simply disregard the additional
3D information and display
a single image.

The 2D+Delta system would require
more processing power on
set-top boxes to deliver 3D, Schur
acknowledged. But he noted
that the company’s codec is part
of the Multiview Video Coding
(MVC) amendment to the H.264
Advanced Video Coding (AVC)
standard recently adopted by the
Blu-ray Disc Association as the
Blu-ray 3D specification.

The privately held company,
based in Irvine, Calif., has fewer
than 10 employees, Schur said.
TDVision was founded in 2003, by
Manuel Gutierrez Novelo, an electrical
engineer from Mexico with
a background in digital computer
systems and electronic-control
systems.

TDVision is planning to license
its technology to video-encoder
makers and other equipment vendors
through Italy’s Sisvel, which
handles licensing for patents associated
with international standards
including Digital Video
Broadcasting–Terrestrial (DVB-T)
and Long Term Evolution (LTE).
Its first partner on this front is
Magnum Semiconductor, which
plans to embed the 2D+Delta codec
into its video-compression
chip sets.

TDVision plans to demo the
technology at the CableLabs
Summer Conference in Keystone,
Colo., Aug. 15 to 18, which is open
to the consortium’s members and
invited vendors.

September