Piedmont launches terrestrial 3D TV
By Robert Briel
Published: December 8, 2010 17.38 Europe/London

The Italian Piedmont region has announced it will launch the first free-to-air 3D TV terrestrial broadcasts, with a system for backwards compatibility with 2D TV sets.

The initiative was created through a partnership between public and private bodies operating in the Piedmont area, including Sisvel, Quartarete TV and CSP Innovazione nelle ICT. The broadcasts will be part of the Quartarete TV service bouquet.

According to the companies involved, the backward compatible 3D TV content allows those with regular HD TV sets to watch 2D HDTV, even when the transmissions use 3D techniques. This is possible due to an innovative technique for formatting stereoscopic images, known as 3D Tile Format, which makes it possible to integrate two 720p frames within a single 1080p frame. The reconstructed right and left images maintain their original resolution, preventing an unbalancing of the vertical or horizontal resolution.

The 3D Tile Format improves the quality of the transmission of 3D HD content, compared to current solutions (Side-by-Side or Top-and-Bottom) and, due to its backwards compatibility, allows broadcasters to transmit to both 2D and 3D users without having to double the amount of bandwidth required for transmissions.