Fragmented approach harming 3DTV

By Julian Clover | June 2, 2009

The current fragmented approach to 3DTV is harming the progress of the format, according to an industry-wide consultation on behalf of the Digital TV Group (DTG).

Members said they feared that de-facto, non-open standards, would emerge from technology decisions being made by the first providers, most likely pay-TV operators, which would impact on later free-to-air broadcasts. Although not named in the study, BSkyB is a leading proponent of HDTV.

“Members have expressed their concerns over uncertainties – in particular over standards – and knowledge gaps,” said DTG director-general Richard Lindsay-Davies. “We are actively considering how the DTG can best meet the needs of its members in these areas, and the role it should play in 3DTV, and will report to members very soon.”

The organisation said that 78% of the respondents, drawn from broadcasters and platform operators, agreed that 3DTV was an evolutionary next step for high definition TV. Several members said 3D was either important or very important to their strategies, though they admitted that current systems were too immature for a successful market launch. Only two respondents said the business case for 3DTV had already been made.

There was widespread agreement that 3DTV could command a premium on the current fees currently paid for the enjoyment of the majority of HD services.

The consultation, conducted for the DTG by Lovelace Consulting, identified a number of possible areas for research including understanding the psycho-physiological effects of stereoscopy (such as eye strain, headaches and possible safety issues), and how best to produce 3D-optimised content. Glasses-based solutions were suggested as having the best potential for first generation systems.