NAB: Dolby 3D Format Specification Launched for Glasses Free Viewing

The company teams with early adopter The Foundry to demo how the format can be used in post-production.

Dolby Laboratories and Royal Philips have launched a technical specification for their co-developed Dolby 3D content delivery format, meaning that users could begin to develop content for and build products that support Dolby 3D. The announcement was made Monday as the NAB Show opened in Las Vegas.

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Dolby 3D was initiated to support the creation, delivery, and playback of glasses-free 3D content on TVs, smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices. “Dolby believes 3D with glasses isn’t going to work in the home,” Dolby's Csilla Andersen said, added that there also needs to be a way for studios to “easily add a [glasses-free] 3D deliverable."

In recommending Dolby 3D, the companies first previewed the development at NAB in 2012, and have since demonstrated the technology at events such as CES, as well as during receptions held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Good glasses free 3D is of course a tricky thing to do, but recent feedback on the quality of Dolby 3D seems to be generally positive.

Dolby and Philips are aiming to standardize the Dolby 3D format with standards body Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.

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The new spec for Dolby 3D, which attaches playback information to content, will be available for licensing, initially through an early adopters program. Dolby plans to publish the spec for wide use by year’s end, and expects to see Dolby 3D-supported devices become available “in the next year or two.”

At Dolby’s booth this week at NAB, software developer The Foundry—a member of the early adopter program—plans to demonstrate the future integration of the Dolby 3D format into its Nuke and Ocula postproduction products. “We’re building [Dolby 3D] into the existing tools,” Simon Robinson, chief scientist and co-founder of The Foundry, said. “To get 3D to grow I think we need to follow through on initiatives like this one.”

At NAB, Dolby will also show streaming of Dolby 3D content onto glasses-free devices through Vudu.