Three-dimensional (3D) television and film has been a niche application partly because of cost, but mobile devices equipped with simpler and less expensive 3D technology could help it break out. The core components of next-generation 3D TV for mobile phones are being developed by the EU-funded Mobile3DTV project. Mobile3DTV scientific coordinator Atanas Gotchev says that coming up with the best format to represent 3D video for mobile delivery is a key challenge, and he suggests that all industrial players adopt the format in order to avoid a format war. The project elected to use as the system platform the EU’s Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld standard. To maximize the comfort and enjoyment of the 3D viewing experience, the project is using auto-stereoscopic displays, which generate 3D images that preclude the wearing of cumbersome glasses. “Auto-stereoscopic displays use additional optical elements aligned on the surface of an LCD, to ensure that the observer sees different images with each eye,” Gotchev says. “As mobile devices are normally watched by a single observer, two independent views are sufficient for satisfactory 3D perception.” The major impediment to broad adoption of 3D mobile TV has been a lack of compelling content, and Gotchev says the project is working to illustrate “the necessary technical evidence of the technology’s potential” to content providers and operators.
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