3D TV - Three-dimensional television

ITU-R has a study programme on 3D TV with the objective of agreeing worldwide recommendations for standards. The advances have been tremendous:

In April 2009, a workshop on 3D TV was organized by ITU-R Study Group 6: Broadcasting Service (Working Party 6C: Programme production and quality assessment) in association with the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and the European Broadcasting Union. The workshop reviewed the landscape of 3D TV systems and work being done in the area of: options for production and display, the role of standards bodies, the tools available for picture coding, and the emerging technologies of the future.

By January 2010, work underway at Study Group 6 (Broadcasting service) set out a roadmap in Report ITU-R BT.2160 - 'Features of 3DTV video systems for broadcasting', for highly advanced new broadcasting systems that mimic real-life visual experience and which outlines a roadmap for future 3D TV implementation and envisages systems so smart they accurately mimic the way our eyes and brains perceive the visual world. As a result, television viewers could soon be enjoying their favourite programmes or feature films in ‘stereoscopic 3D’, thanks to ground-breaking work being undertaken at ITU.

The new roadmap would see 3D TV technology rolled out in three successive generations (technically known as profiles).

  • The first generation — 'plano-stereoscopic television' — calls for two views to be delivered to viewers’ TV sets. Wearing special glasses similar to those used to watch 3D cinema, viewers will be able to see depth in the picture, although the view will remain the same when they move their heads (in real life, our view changes when we move our heads).

  • The second generation will provide for multiple views, with head movement changing the view, for a viewing experience that more closely mimics real life.

  • The third generation will feature systems that record the amplitude, frequency, and phase of light waves, to reproduce almost completely human beings’ natural viewing environment. These kinds of highly advanced systems are technically some 15-20 years away.


"This new Report ITU-R BT.2160 - 'Features of 3DTV video systems for broadcasting', establishes a clear framework for the development of new types of systems that will totally change the way we experience broadcast and multimedia content," said Valery Timofeev, Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau. "It maps out an exciting vision that won’t just change the look of entertainment, but open up a whole range of exciting new possibilities in sectors from education and healthcare to traffic management."

New 3D TV technologies being developed under the auspices of ITU will also have major implications for the film and television production sector, as content will need to be filmed using special new equipment in order for viewers to enjoy the full 3D experience.

Future technical challenges for ITU experts include television with 16-32 times the definition of HDTV pictures ('UltraHDTV'), and more pictures per second so that movement is smoother and sharper.

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