ITU was, last week, pleased to host a meeting of the Moving Pictures Expert Group (MPEG) in parallel with the ITU-T Study Group 16 (Multimedia) meeting. Through MPEG, the ITU and ISO/IEC have formed the Joint Collaborative Team on video coding (JCT-VC) working on the successor to H.264 (also standardized as ISO/IEC 14496-10, or MPEG-4 AVC), the Emmy award winning video coding standard.
There was a demonstration of emerging 3D TV technologies such as autostereoscopic displays (similar to that used in the new Nintendo 3DS but on a larger scale). This new technology allows for 3D viewing without glasses.
Current extensions to the widely used H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec are deployed in Blu-ray 3D discs that provide a stereo 3D experience, and also in the "frame-compatible" stereoscopic 3D video used in emerging broadcast applications.
The successor to H.264 – working title HEVC – is work in progress with approval expected in early 2013. Experts say that at the time H.264 was first approved there was no real market demand for 3D and so 3D support was essentially put into the standard later as a work around – even though it provides excellent levels of quality. Discussions continue on which kind of native support for 3D could eventually be incorporated in HEVC.
This work is complementary to that of ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector which is focusing on a framework for 3D TV broadcasting systems.