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ITU tries to resuscitate 3-D

The ITU has issued new recommended standards for 3-D TV production and distribution that it hopes will revive flagging momentum for the 3-D movement.

Once touted as the new HD, 3-D TV has been largely confined to niche viewing, such as the occasional blockbuster movie or major sporting event, by the need to wear goggles and the fact that it can cause visual discomfort.

The new recommendations embrace methods for evaluating 3-D TV image quality, depth and viewer comfort level. The ITU stated last week that it hoped the work would provide a timely boost to the fledgling 3-D TV sector.

“These recommendations will be of great value to those who make and distribute 3-D TV programs today and in the future,” said David Wood, chairman of ITU-R Working Party 6C (WP 6C). “They will make the 3-D TV world more comfortable for the media community, and will surely encourage the success and further development of 3-D TV.”
ITU secretary-general Hamadoun Touré also tried to talk up the success of 3-D.

“3-D TV has made a huge impact on TV viewers around the world and led to new developments and opportunities in the broadcast and manufacturing sectors,” he said. “The new ITU-R Recommendations will provide fresh impetus to this exciting television format.”

The current proposals cover 3-D TV program production and broadcasting in the two formats that are widely used right now, that is 720p and 1080i, as well as 1080p.

The ITU has also agreed on the digital interfaces used in studios for 3-D TV program production, and on the general requirements for 3-D TV. On top of this, the ITU-R Study Group 6 has agreed upon a recommendation for the methods to evaluate the quality of 3-D TV images, which relates to three aspects or quality factors: picture quality, depth and comfort levels.