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Sigma Designs' ICs add full 3-D support

Mon, 09/13/2010 - 8:35am
Brian Santo

Sigma Designs plans to add support of TDVision Systems' full HD stereoscopic video decoding technology to its next iteration of media processors.

TDVision's 2D+Delta system consists of different profiles to best fit the transmission pipeline available. These profiles include the basic Multiview Video Coding (MVC) standard, advanced profiles for high-bandwidth savings and hybrid implementations for full MPEG-2 legacy support.

The two companies said Sigma Designs is the first chipmaker to support TDVision's 2D+Delta decoding.

David Lynch, vice president and general manager of the Media Processor Division at Sigma, said, "By integrating TDVision's technology into our media processors, we are enabling full HD 3-D decoding over IPTV, satellite, cable and over-the-air devices."

At present, most service providers are using the half-frame approach, essentially as a means of preserving bandwidth. Rather than send two full-resolution copies of each frame to achieve a stereoscopic effect (one for left, one for right), many service providers cut the resolution of each image in half, so that the pairs of images can fit into a single standard channel.

This was always meant to be a stopgap means of providing 3-D, until codec technology improved. The Sigma Designs/TDVision approach is one means to address that.

"The industry is moving from half-resolution frame-compatible interim formats to our service-compatible and full HD 3-D solutions," said Manuel Gutierrez-Novelo, CEO and president of TDVision.

"Implementing TDVision's 2D+Delta system on the highly optimized Sigma media processors allows service and content providers to enable new 3-D users with the best-quality 3-D HD video, optimizing the bandwidth used for transmission while retaining full compatibility with the current installed base of legacy 2-D users in HD. We understand that quality and compatibility are key to succeed in the home, so we must not preclude the entire existing 2-D installed base," Gutierriz-Novelo added.

3-D video in the TDVision 2D+Delta format could also be decoded by updating the firmware of some set-top boxes (or PCs or videogame consoles). Legacy decoders will discard the Delta information and will decode full 2-D HD, TDVision explained. The company was not immediately available for comment on which set-tops, or types of set-top, are candidates for the firmware upgrade.

Either way, the resulting image can be displayed on any stereoscopic 3-D display (full HD dual input, frame sequential, line interleaved and checkerboard) without any additional hardware or changes on the display side, TDVision said, at the best native resolution.

The 2D+Delta format is a part of the MVC codec (ISO/IEC 14496-10:2008, Amendment 1), an extension to the ITU-T H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) spec.

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