SMPTE to Explore 3-D TV/Video Tech

Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers sets up task force to study '3-D mastering' for content viewed in home.

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers said Monday that it set up a task force “to define the parameters of stereoscopic 3-D mastering” for content viewed in home.

The SMPTE said it “will explore the standards that need to be set 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.” Thus, the effort will exclude nontethered devices such as iPods and mobile phones.

The first meeting of the 3-D Home Display Formats Task Force is scheduled Aug. 19 at the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California, near downtown Los Angeles. Various technologies will be demonstrated.

The meeting is open to all comers, subject to seating availability, although non-SMPTE attendees will be charged a small fee to support the effort. After six months, the task force will issue its first report.

“The project promises to propel the 3-D home entertainment industry forward by setting the stage for a standard that will enable 3-D feature films and other programming to be played on all fixed devices in the home, no matter the delivery channel,” the SMPTE said in a statement.

“In order to take advantage of this new opportunity, we need to guarantee consumers that they will be able to view the 3-D content they purchase and provide them with 3-D home solutions for all pocketbooks,” SMPTE engineering vice president Wendy Aylsworth said in a statement.

The SMPTE said its mastering task force will develop “the minimum standards that need to be set, evaluation and testing criteria for complaint 3-D masters. It will look at 3-D encoding methods and also consider such issues as color, aspect ratio, compression and more.”

The SMPTE added that its mastering task force is a small piece of a larger technology chain that will involve other industry groups and it is soliciting involvement of these organizations. These include the Consumer Electronics Association, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, the Advanced Television Systems Committee and the DVD Forum.