Cable engineers always consider themselves to be problem solvers, so 3D could be the best thing that ever happened to them, because it has lots of problems.

At yesterday’s "Delivering the 3D Video Experience," the presenters talked about so many problems related to 3D TV that the audience started shaking their heads. Stefan Winkler, chief scientist with Cheetah Technologies, said the company recently began looking at 3D from a quality of experience (QoE) perspective. "We’re talking about a different animal than regular TV," he said. "You add another layer of complexity."

For starters, he mentioned problems with 3D related to the human visual system, ranging from lightheadedness, dizziness and nausea to such serious side effects as loss of awareness and convulsions.

As far as technical problems go, Winkler began, "Subtitles, captions, logos all become a lot more tricky in 3D. Where in depth do you place subtitles? How do you avoid collisions with things you insert with things already in place?" Then there are the issues with displays: It’s one thing to figure out screen resolutions for TVs via set-tops, but what about PCs, smartphones and tablets?

Dan Holden, Comcast Fellow with the Comcast Media Center, also mentioned frame rates, noting sports broadcasts, a genre that’s particularly appealing for deliverance in 3D, often have 60 frames per second. "You’re probably not going to see that going across the Internet to cellphones," he said.

Holden also raised the topic of 3D advertising. "Not all content will be in 3D," he said. "How do you achieve a smooth transition in a break? How do you take a 2D ad and put it into a 3D space? If you’re going to create a (3D) channel, any ads you get must be created in that format  – this is the current thought."

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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