Howling looks to Freeview 3D

By Julian Clover
February 10, 2010 17.34 UK

Freeview managing director Ilse Howling has held out the possibility of 3D channels eventually joining the terrestrial platform.

“Manufacturers and engineers across the platform are very excited about 3D and we know that Sky will be launching 3D this year,” Howling told the Broadcasting Press Guild. “What we’re doing is watching it with interest to see how the consumer demand goes and how the technology works as that is ultimately another area where Freeview can move to.”

Last December, in a report prepared for the regulator Ofcom, Zetacast predicted that a compressed 3D signal might take between 1.4 and 1.8 times the bandwidth required by a 2D transmission. Part of the ZetaCast scenario is that by 2020 a combination of a new compression algorithm and more sophisticated encoder implementations might take the bitrate down to 50% of the levels required today for 1080p/50 content, ie, 6.5 Mbps.

Howling said it was too early to say when 3D might have a presence on Freeview, but that a timeframe of five years was not out of the question.