3-D distribution could become part of ATSC’s 2.0 TV transmission standard

There were many proposals and “what ifs” during an initial report on next-generation television technologies discussed at an ATSC conference last week in Washington, D.C. One of those proposals was the inclusion of 3-D television broadcasting in future distribution standards.

A major factor in 3-D’s future with broadcasters is whether or not the technology catches on with consumers. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith, in his address to the group, called the next-generation technology an important part of broadcasters’ future.

“3-D is already in the marketplace in satellite, cable and Blu-ray versions,” Smith told the ATSC conference. “It’s important to explore the possibilities for 3-D broadcasting. ATSC’s efforts in this area are much needed to make opportunities available for broadcasters in 3-D. Until those opportunities are available, stations aren’t likely to seriously analyze them or enter the 3-D business in a significant way.”

3-D was only one of the many technologies addressed at the conference. Most broadcasters remain unenthusiastic about 3-D’s future and are waiting to see if it catches on with consumers. But some of the other technologies discussed could pave its way — especially improved compression technologies that could free up bandwidth. One of those, MPEG-4, Part 10, could take at least 13 years to adopt for over-the-air television, according to the engineers.

Other technologies that could be in version 2.0 of digital television are broadband convergence — the ability to tie in broadcast services that are similar to Internet content or pulling content directly from the Internet itself. Also included are non-real-time and file-based delivery, conditional access, digital rights management, advanced electronic service guides, audience measurement tools and personalized advertising.