CES: Verizon Demos Full HD 3D To Panasonic Blu-ray Player


Verizon showed off full HD 3D video -- in contrast to the "frame compatible" 3D currently available from pay TV providers -- over FiOS TV streaming to a Panasonic Blu-ray Disc 3D player here at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The telco enabled the demo by porting its interactive program guide to run on the Panasonic player. The video, a clip of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, was delivered with 1080p for both left- and right-eye images. Frame-compatible 3D delivers half the resolution of HD, by squeezing both images into one screen.

"Panasonic has always believed that the best way to view 3D is via a Full HD, 1080p resolution image, but until now the only option available has been on Blu-ray Disc media," Panasonic chief technology officer Eisuke Tsuyuzaki said in a statement. "Over Verizon's high-bandwidth FiOS network, we've now shown that this kind of innovation can be accomplished by a premium television service like FiOS as well."

Verizon Full HD 3D

Currently, no set-top boxes on the market have the processing power to accommodate full HD 3D, although Broadcom's latest line of system-on-a-chip silicon on display here at CES is able to handle it.

In the demo, at the Verizon-sponsored Blogger Lounge at CES, Verizon execs showed the 3D content streaming to a Panasonic Full HD Blu-ray 3D Disc player at a bit rate of up to 18 Megabits per second in MPEG-4 format. That's about twice the bandwidth that regular HD uses.

Verizon is in the process of bringing the IP streaming features to more than three dozen other devices, including those from Samsung and gaming consoles from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. At CES, Verizon also showed live TV streaming to an iPad, Android devices and on a Samsung Blu-ray player.

"We want customers to use whatever hardware they want to access our content," said Joe Ambeault, director of product development and management for FiOS TV. Instead of buying set-top boxes, "we'd rather take that capital and invest it in the network and in capacity."

Verizon is delivering live TV as IP unicast video streams in MPEG-4 format, from two data centers in the U.S. FiOS TV delivers regular cable programming to set-top boxes via a cable headend architecture, over digital QAMs.

On the 3D programming front, Verizon is slated to add ESPN 3D sometime in 2011, and currently offers a selection of 3D movies on-demand.

Last year, FiOS TV carried the first National Football League game in 3D -- a preseason matchup between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots -- as well as the first Major League Baseball games in 3D, between the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners.

A video about the full-resolution HD 3D demo is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_MZb-7iOmQ.