Standards: New Digital Partnership, 3D TV

UK public service broadcasters are to produce a set of common HD and SD technical standards for the delivery of TV, as part of a new partnership that aims to help producers and broadcasters ‘maximise the potential benefits of digital production’.

The Digital Production Partnership (DPP) is an industry collaboration funded and led by ITV, BBC and Channel 4 with active participation from Channel Five, Sky, S4C and the Independent Production sector. The DPP also draws on industry experts from the worlds of technology and production to fulfil its remit.

Helen Stevens, ITV’s Director of Broadcast Services, and Chair DPP said: “We are working with colleagues from across the industry to identify and agree technical standards that will help ease everyone’s transition to full end-to-end digital production. Everyone involved has the goals of simplicity and maximising the potential benefits for the whole industry at the forefront of their minds—it is really is very collaborative and a great example of what can be achieved when broadcasters work together with minimal bureaucracy and process.”

The DVB Project has added 3D to its specification. DVB-3DTV defines how broadcasters should transmit 3D TV programming and how device makers should pick up the signal, decode it and display it, irrespective of whether the screen uses active or passive 3D. This will make it easier to upgrade existing hardware to 3D with a simple software update.

DVB-3DTV includes 720p and 1080i frame-compatible formats at both 50Hz and 70Hz, plus top-and-bottom and side-by-side 3D frame formats, and 24Hz 1080p side-by-side frames.

Meanwhile the DTG says it will “lead the development of a UK standard for 3DTV products and services”. Simon Gauntlett, Technology Director at the DTG, said: “The DTG has been at the heart of every development in UK digital television since its inception more than a decade ago…. Since the launch of our consultation, 3D has evolved from an emerging technology limited to cinema into a compelling home entertainment proposition—with broadcasters set to launch 3D services as early as this year and technical standards approved for 3-D Blu-ray and HDMI—what is currently missing is a standard for delivering 3D to the home via broadcast or IP delivery.”