SCTE Explores 3-D TV Over Cable

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The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers announced that it has begun to investigate the standardization required for the carriage of 3-D content on cable networks.

The SCTE's Engineering Committee, which oversees the professional association's development of technical standards for cable networks, has approved a project focusing on identifying necessary or desirable changes to existing SCTE standards, including transport protocols, to facilitate the provision of 3-D content by cable operators.

While 3-D movies shown in theaters have been gaining traction -- and captured buzz at the Consumer Electronics Show in January -- delivering three-dimensional video to TV sets is hampered by a lack of standards and bandwidth considerations.

"Although 3-D content is available today over cable, the long-term delivery of next-generation 3-D content will be strengthened by the adoption of uniform engineering and technical criteria," SCTE Engineering Committee chairman Charlie Kennamer said, in a statement. "To that end, SCTE intends to examine new 3-D television technology to develop standards that can be used by the cable industry to deliver a more immersive television experience."

The standardization work in this area is nascent, with the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers last summer announcing the establishment of a task force to define the parameters of a "stereoscopic 3-D mastering standard" for home video

The SCTE's "3D over Cable" project has been assigned to the association's Digital Video Subcommittee, which will make recommendations on standards and protocols based on the needs of the cable industry.

As part of this effort, DVS will consider not only cable industry activities but also standards work being conducted in other organizations such as the SMPTE and the Consumer Electronics Association. The subcommittee will discuss the project at its March meeting.

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