Compression technique allows internet 3D

Posted by Emma Woollacott

A new data compression technique could allow 3D movies to be seamlessly transmitted over the internet and via satellite, say its developers.

Because at least two images are required at a time, 3-D movies have higher data rate requirements than two-dimensional versions.But the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications team has come up with a compression technique, Multiview Video Coding (MVC), which it says reduces the data rate used on the transmission channel while maintaining the same high-definition quality.

"MVC packs the two images needed for the stereoscopic 3D effect so that the bit rate of the movies is significantly reduced," says Fraunhofer scientist Thomas Schierl, adding that it makes 3D movies are up to 40 percent smaller.

"New TV sets will start off by only playing 3D movies from the Blu-ray disc that is now coming into the third dimension. The next step to bring 3D into living rooms will be made possible via broadcast or IPTV channels running via DSL or cable."

The MVC format will work with glasses-free 3D systems, because it can code and compress several views. It compresses all views into one compact file or stream and one receiver, with a set-top box decoding the information and passing it on to the television.

It will also be possible to play the MVC-coded movies on older televisions and set-top boxes, says Schierl.

"The first view corresponds to the signal that the existing television can receive, and we would hide the second view in the same stream so that only the new receivers can use it," he says. "They are invisible to older televisions."

This could be particularly interesting to movie lenders and television stations because they wouldn't have to worry about compatibility.