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[Tuesday at NAB]
 
Live From L.A. in Three Dimensions — It’s Howie
 
by Douglas Bankston, ~ April 15, 2008
 
DV MAGAZINE

“Deal or No Deal” game show host Howie Mandel got a kick out of poking members of the Content Theater audience … not literally, however.

In a proof of concept, viewers were treated to a live 3-D broadcast via satellite from Los Angeles of Mandel and “No Deal” Producer Scott St. John conspicuously, yet comically, plugging a new game show in development for NBC titled “Would You Rather …” They were accompanied by a live grizzly bear, buxom blondes, giant cockroaches, a denture-wearing lady and a “contestant” — you can see where this game show is going.

All joking aside, the actual presentation of 3-D hi-def content that did not suck up massive bandwidth was promising. That is because 3ality, the Burbank, Calif.-based force behind digital 3-D technologies, transmitted a single stream, no different than 2-D television today.

“If we’re going to be doing live 3-D,” explained 3ality CEO Steve Schklair, “we have to from the beginning be generating absolutely perfect images. Everything has to be identically matched.”

3-D DILEMMAS

3ality utilizes its own dual-camera rigs no larger than a typical pedestal studio camera and zoom lenses. No zoom lens tracks absolutely perfectly, a necessity for properly aligned 3-D, so each digital camera contains a look-up table that matches the lens and corrects zoom aberrations in real time. Software within the cameras helps them to match each other in real time for better cut transitions from camera to camera.

“For what we are looking at today,” he says, “all the equipment between Burbank and here [Las Vegas], there’s very little of it because ultimately we are transmitting a 2-D signal. We are looking at a single stream at 40 Mbps going up and coming back down.”

The 1920x1080 format is field interleave, but the acquisition is progressive — 60p, or rather 30p for each camera in the dual-camera setup. By interleaving the progressive images, one field serves the left eye and the other field the right.

3ality’s image processor box combines the stereo signal into the single stream. Another box on the receiving end reverses the process. “It’s really a 20 Mbps signal that has a redundant feed on the other 20 megabits,” notes Howard Postley, COO/CTO of 3ality.

Is the home ready for 3-D? Samsung and Mitsubishi already are selling 3-D-ready DLP sets, but those require active glasses, wherein the chic eyeware must actively alternate left/right polarization.

3ality’s live 3-D broadcast involved passive polarized glasses and LCD viewing monitors, in addition to Christie 2K projection on screen
 
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