Calling on LG, Sony, Panasonic and Samsung to Smarten up their Smart TVs for “Hybrid” Broadcasting:

Everyone should applaud Fashion TV for pioneering and embracing Stereoscopic 3D in their mainstream programming. For those not in the know (and I only came to know about it a few days ago), FTV has a half hour block of its programming in Stereoscopic 3D. They use the default Frame Compatible 3D format so as to maintain compatibility with today’s HD broadcast signal.

What this means is, that if viewers do NOT have a 3DTV, they will have to watch this segment  with the left and right, i.e: the 3D image, showing as two halves of an HD image. This is a big step forward in Broadcasting. No one has dared to do this and run the obvious risk of losing their 2D audiences (those without 3D capable TVs).

In fact, Fashion TV in their press release state that audiences wanting to view that part of the programme in 2D should switch to the SD beam instead.

So… How can Smart TV manufacturers help out?

Backward Compatible, Hybrid Stereoscopic 3D in an HD feed:

In a previous paper, I had written and introduced the idea that the success of 3DTV is in offering it in measured doses. Fashion TV is doing just that. I had also mentioned “HYBRID 3D Broadcasting” and explained how this could be implemented by a simple Over The Air (OTA) firmware upgrade to today’s Smart TVs.

Below, in a similar vein, is a flowchart on how to embed even Live Stereoscopic 3D content in a 2D Signal:

Channels such as Fashion TV have already taken a leap of faith for the better, knowing that their genre of content is perfect for Stereoscopic 3D. Let’s recap some advantages:

  • There is something appealing, and unlocks something primal in us, when seeing the human form in Stereo3D.
  • If you haven’t already seen FTV in 3D, do so! It’s not important that one wait for the Lingerie segment in 3D only.
  • Jewelry, Accessories, make-up and dresses come alive in the 3rd Dimension and the difference that the unlocking of the spatial depth channel, v/s watching the same in 2D will be like night and day to viewers.
  • Other genres such as Reality TV, Sports, the NEWS, and Documentary channels are perfect candidates for 3DTV broadcasting.

 The lesson to be learned from Fashion TV’s approach to 3DTV broadcasting is simple:

You do not need a 24/7 linear programming block of content, nor a dedicated 3DTV broadcast beam to ensure success or ROI on venturing into 3D. Stereoscopic 3D in measured doses will = 3DTV success.

 To complete the article; some constructive critique:

  1. There is a need for better QC at FashionTV in my opinion… The image above is a cell-phone grab (click the image for larger). It clearly shows severe vertical mis-alignment in the 3D video. Other artifacts of bad 3D in this segment were: out of sync 3D cameras, convergence jumps (why would this not be rehearsed by the 3D crew?), possible mis-matched lenses.
  2. Fashion TV would do well to invest in a Stereo QC  department supervised by human Stereographers and aided by off the self equipment and systems such as PURE.
  3. Click on the first image in this article: It is from the main introductory sequence of the FTV 3D capsule. It also shows vertical mis-align on the models face and shoulders.
  4. The image below is from the ending of a sequence that was completely in 2D except for the FTV bug. Only the last few seconds of the segment was in 3D, even then another mistake is a missing title in the right eye view.

Fashion TV has taken a step in the right direction by introducing Stereoscopic 3D programming, but it is imperative that they implement guidelines to producers and suppliers of their 3D content, so that audiences don’t get turned off watching 3D, or worse, end up with headaches, which is actual physical harm.

Note: The aim of this article is not to critique FTVs content, but is more a call to SmartTV manufacturers to implement the solution outlined for Hybrid  TV broadcasting.