Glasses-Free 3D Goes for Gold

Advances in tech and content point toward 2012 Olympics

Why This Matters

IBC: News and Notes

The opening of IBC2011 exhibition halls on Sept. 9 in Amsterdam brought a slew of announcements of deals and new products. Here are some of the more prominent examples:

Grass Valley introduced the new Karrera Video Production Center switcher and unveiled its turnkey MediaFUSE Live automated content repurposing and multi-platform distribution system. The MediaFUSE Live system allows TV broadcasters and multi-platform content providers to automatically convert linear content and stream it live to about 95% of the devices available today, including Apple’s iPad and iPhone, and the Google Android platform.

In another example of how vendors are working to ease the pain and complexity of multi-platform delivery,Sorenson Media launched its Sorenson Squeeze Server 1.5, which the company is billing as the first enterprise transcoding solution to optimize performance for all three leading adaptive bitrate streaming platforms— Adobe Dynamic Streaming, Apple HTTP Adaptive Streaming and Microsoft Smooth Streaming.

With broadcasters looking to incorporate more social media into their operations, many are also worrying about the difficulties of controlling whatever their staffers are tweeting or posting. To counteract that problem, Ross Video demonstrated a technology it calls Slingshot that would give news directors more control over both the timing and content of social media output. No launch date has been officially set for the technology. —GW

While much of the hype surrounding
3D TV in the home has thankfully faded
over the last year, a number of notable developments
seen at IBC2011 offered some positive news
for the technology, both in equipment and content.

Shortly before IBC, at major European consumer
electronics trade fair IFA in Berlin, Toshiba announced
that it will start selling a 55-inch glass-less 3D TV in
Germany by the end of the year. There’s been no word
as yet on availability or pricing in the U.S., though the
sets are sure to be very expensive.

Until now, most of the glasses-free or auto-stereoscopic
displays on the market have been for smaller screens.
The quality of glasses-free 3D images on larger screens
had been limited by the lack of pixels and by the fact
that viewers needed to sit in a specific number of limited
spots to be able to see the 3D effects.

Toshiba’s new 55ZL2 tries to overcome that problem
by using a very high-resolution 3,840-by-2,160-pixel
panel—a much higher resolution than the typical 1,920-
by-1,080 HD screen. That allows for up to nine positions
where viewers can sit to comfortably view the effects.

Following on the heels of that announcement, there
were also some high-pro! le demonstrations of glasses-free
technology and 3D product launches at IBC2011.

SES Astra and iPont partnered to deliver a live 3D
glasses-free broadcast to the SES stand. For the demo,
iPont installed a wide-angle 42-inch auto-stereoscopic
LCD screen with its 3D TV box, which streamed realtime
3D broadcast content from the satellite receiver to
the display and converted the stereo content to a format
the auto-stereoscopic TV could handle.

A separate EBU demo also illustrated the fact that
glasses-free solutions are that much closer to hitting
the market.

“There are huge efforts by the industry to develop glassesfree
multiview displays” which will encourage broadcasters
to produce some high-profile events, such as the
Olympics, in 3D, notes Hans Hoffman, head of media fundamentals
and production technology at the EBU Technical
Department and engineering VP at the Society of
Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).

Several new 3D cameras and systems for transmitting
3D footage back to the studio also bowed at IBC.

Meduza Systems, which won kudos for the launch of
its 3D camera at NAB, was showing both its Meduza MK1
camera and the Delta 4K S3D Meduza Lens designed specifically for 3D production.

Panasonic showed a number of 3D-related products
that will be used in the production of more than 10
hours a day of 3D content during the 2012 Olympic
Games. The productions, which will cover over 12 different
sports as well as the opening and closing ceremonies,
will use Panasonic’s shoulder-mount AG-3DP1
camera launched at NAB.

“We are making a very strong push to provide better
solutions for 3D production,” says Christian Sokcevic, director
of the Professional AV Europe division at Panasonic.

In addition, Panasonic partnered with LiveU in a 3D
demo at IBC showing how 3D images from Panasonic’s
AG-3DA1 stereoscopic camera could be delivered
back from the field over cellular networks using LiveU’s
newly upgraded LU60 video uplink system, says Mike
Savello, VP of sales at LiveU.

To provide broadcasters with an economical way of
creating more 3D content, several companies were also
touting solutions for converting two-dimensional images
to 3D. Vizrt and SterGen High-Tech demonstrated
3D conversion technologies as a way to overcome
some of the high costs and complexities involved in
creating 3D content.

“SterGen software [for 2D to 3D conversion] offers
sports producers and broadcasters a compelling alternative
to expensive, logistically complex live stereo 3D
production,” says Petter Ole Jakobsen, Vizrt CTO.

Some business deals were also announced at IBC,
with the Electronics and Telecommunications Research
Institute and Korean Broadcast System choosing T-VIPS
to provide the transport of 3D video from the IAAF
World Athletic Championships at Daegu Stadium to
the KBS media center.

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