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Mobile TV On The Way

“It is right in front of us,” Paul Childers, Rubber Duck Media Lab, said of Mobile TV during a panel at the HPA Tech Retreat.

According to industry journalist Debra Kaufman, who moderated, predictions suggest that 63 million smartphones will be in use in the U.S. by 2013, and mobile TV subscriptions are expected to reach an estimated 23 million in 2010.

ATSC’s Jerry Whitaker presented an overview of ATSC Mobile DTV, a broadcast spectrum that affords delivery of realtime and non-realtime TV content and data to mobile and handheld devices.

Tools include channel listings, an electronic service guide and subscriber interaction (security, billing enabled services), a rich media environment and viewer data collection.

ATSC is now studying a scalable full-channel option. The goals include increasing user options, backward and forward compatibility, and no impact on legacy services.

As an example of bandwidth allocation, he suggested that of the 19.4 Mbps used by broadcasters, HD might use 13-15 Mbps, an additional SD multicast might use 2-4 Mbps, PSIP might use 0.3 Mbps and two to three mobile service might use 4-6 Mbps.

ATSC is launching a Mobile DTV consumer showcase in Washington to help accelerate the commercialization of the services.

Naturally, the topic shifted to 3D.

“Mobile 3D will become increasingly important, especially because the mobile turnover is faster than TVs,” said Ethan Schur, chief marketing officer at TDVision.

He reported that there are already different types of autostereo options for mobile devices. He commented: “Personally, I don’t think autostereo (for TVs) will be ready in 20 years. For a mobile devices, I think it can be viable.”

He urged the extension of the ATSC Mobile DTV standard to include 3D.

3D Industry Anxious For Standards

A need for standards remains on the minds of many 3D stakeholders, and that message was restated at an HPA Tech Retreat panel on  stereoscopic 3D, moderated by Warner Bros.’ Wendy Aylsworth.

During the session:

–HDDC’s Peter Wilson discussed 3-D acquisition and the work of BBC Research (www.bbc.co.uk/rd/projects/virtual/).

–In-Three CEO David Seigle discussed hybrid/multimode 3D creation, including the In-Three Dimensionalization process.

–TDVision’s Ethan Schur included his company’s work toward development of a 3D encoding process, with features including 2D/3D compatibility.

–Steve Banaszek addressed 3D exhibition, with Sony’s development of a single projector/dual lens system using Sony’s soon to be released 3D adaptor and 4K pojector.

–Pia Maffei discussed Alioscopy’s technology for autostereoscopic display.

Where will 3D in the home come from? Said Wilson: “SMPTE needs to urgently nail down the master, after that I think it is going to be the traditional consumer standards bodies.”

Schur emphasized the importance of creating a distribution format, noting that SMPTE is working on the mastering standard and the CE industry is exploring the consumer side. “There is a lot of confusion; that’s the biggest problem for the 3D industry,” he said.

Noting that UK broadcaster Sky recently demonstrated that its set top box could deliver 3D to the home, Wilson said the industry needs to start getting the sets out to the market. He added: “We need 3D-ready (consumer electronics), but there has to be an education program for retailers as well as for us.”

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