IBC 2009: Eutelsat Touts 3D HD's Potential

Demos live channel off Eurobird 9A

IBC Amsterdam 2009: Complete Coverage of the IBC Show

European satellite operator Eutelsat used IBC to demonstrate a live stereoscopic 3D HD channel it has been broadcasting off its Eurobird 9A satellite since early this year, showing a mix of sports and entertainment content on a 3D-capable Hyundai LCD display in its booth.

Eutelsat, which is part of the 3D@Home consortium has partnered with OpenSky and DBW Communication to create 3DSG, an end-to-end solution for 3D HD from production to playout. It has already produced several live events, including a concert in France that was distributed to paying customers in digital cinemas managed by OpenSky in Italy.

"We are not in the lab; we are out in the market making public demonstrations," says OpenSky managing director Walter Munarini. "The perception of 3D from the customer perspective is fantastic."

Munarini sees big potential for both out-of-home 3D HD viewing and living-room 3D displays, though he doesn't expect consumer equipment to be available until late 2010 or 2011. 3DSG's transmission approach is to send the left- and right-eye camera feeds needed for the 3D HD effect together on a single HD channel that looks like 2D to both the satellite and the receiver, and let the display produce a 3D effect that can be seen with special glasses.

"The receiver is normal and what is coming out is a 2D image," says Munarini. "The screen does the rest."

For the IBC demo, 3DSG was using MPEG-4 AVC encoding to compress the 3D HD images at a bit rate of 10 to 12 Mbps. Munarini says that OpenSky has also used MPEG-2 compression to deliver 3D HD to cinemas, running at a rate of 15 Mbps.