Firms Make Case for Full HD 3D Streaming


Is 1080p 3D streaming on the way?

One of the key issues surrounding 3DTV is the limited amount of available content -- coupled with how to get this data-intensive content into the home.

Verizon, along with Panasonic, suggests the possibility of streaming Full HD (1080p) resolution 3D. The companies recently offered a technology demo, showing the ability to stream at 18Mbps using Verizon's FiOS service to a Panasonic Blu-ray player that handled the decoding.

Side by side with half-resolution 3D, there was a noticeable difference in image quality -- though it remains to be seen if half-res 3D, which requires less bandwidth, is good enough for most consumers.

Streaming, though not 1080p, has already been used to show live events, such as the 2010 Masters golf tournament. in 3D.

Verizon didn't have a timetable for availability of a 1080p 3D service. But as a 18Mbps pipe isn't available going into most American homes, services such as this will be limited, at least initially. The average connection speed to U.S. homes is 4.6 Mbps, according to an Akamai study released in October, though consumers with services such as FiOS have more bandwidth and would likely be early adopters of such 3D streaming services.

At this stage, more attention has been on 3D Blu-ray to get 3D to the home, as the storage and bit rate (up to 64Mbps) offered by the Blu-ray format would support Full HD 3D.

Cable/satellite services have been the other area where 3D has taken hold, as terrestrial broadcasters generally have their allocated spectrum tied up with HDTV, multicasting and/or mobile DTV services.