13 September 2010

3D Movies via Internet & Satellite

Multiview Video Coding (MVC) is the new standard for 3D movie compression. While reducing the data significantly, MVC allows at the same time providing full high-resolution quality. Blockbusters like Avatar, UP or Toy Story 3 will bring the 3D into home living rooms, televisions and computers. There are already displays available and the new Blu-Ray players can already play 3D movies based on MVC. The first soccer games were recorded stereoscopically at the Football World Championships in South Africa. What is missing is an efficient form of transmission. The problem is the data rate required by the movies – in spite of fast Internet and satellite links. 3D movies have higher data rate requirements than 2D movies since at least two images are needed for the spatial representation. This means that a 3D screen has to show two images – one for the left and one for the right eye.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, HHI in Berlin, Germany have already come up with a compression technique for movies in particularly HD quality that squeezes movies while maintaining the quality: the H.264/AVC video format. What H.264/AVC is for HD movies, Multiview Video Coding (MVC) is for 3D movies. The benefit is reducing the data rate used on the transmission channel while maintaining the same high-definition quality. Videos on the Internet have to load quickly so that the viewer can watch the movies without interruptions. MVC packs the two images needed for the stereoscopic 3D effect so that the bit rate of the movies is significantly reduced. These 3D movies are up to 40 percent smaller. Users will be able to experience 3D movies in their living room in near future.

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