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At the 2010 NAB Show, Dolby Laboratories announced a new open specification for broadcast 3-D delivery that details how 3-D images can be encoded and carried using frame-compatible techniques through a conventional 2-D broadcast infrastructure. The company said that the specification, now available for review, is fully compatible with currently used side-by-side and over/under approaches, although it favors side-by-side transmissions to maintain the highest-quality HD resolution, especially with interlaced signals. The spec also includes accommodations to enable the transmission of full-resolution 3-D (1080p/60 HD) in the future.

The specification is available free at

Jason Power, senior director of marketing for broadcast at Dolby Laboratories, said the proposed Dolby specification allows professional equipment manufacturers to create frame-compatible 3-D encoding tools to squeeze two signals into a single HD frame using an open packing format that is compatible with existing set-top boxes in the field. The company has devised a special encoding technique that packs two signals (left eye, right eye) into a single broadcast stream to preserve image quality. Dolby has begun working with broadcast equipment vendors like Axon in the UK, which has embedded the new Dolby scheme into an HD signal conversion card, to offer content providers a way to efficiently send 3-D to the home.