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back to article HD bandwidth limits BBC Olympics 3D coverage

The BBC has revealed what parts of next summer Olympic Games it plans to beam into homes in glorious 3D-o-Vision. And it's not an awful lot, really. The opening and closing ceremonies will be transmitted in 3D, as will "nightly highlights" of each day's athletic antics. We were hoping for the ladies' beach volleyball …

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Ah, 3D...

... it really is deader than dead.

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Re: Ah, 3D...

I beg to differ Mr Bourke.

While in general 3d is very gimmicky on TV, sports events are in a class of their own.

The reason for sports being enhanced by 3d is that they are not messing about trying to have stuff come flying out of the screen at you to exaggerate the 3d effects. Sports in 3d just ads depth to the playing area of which ever sport.

Even movies, the more modern efforts are just going for the atmospheric enhancements over having swords poke at you in the face.

My 16 year old daughter watched Justin bieber over the weekend in3d, and I can see the appeal of live concerts in 3d...replace bieber with someone of class and ability and that would be very appealing!!

so to summarise,,, live events are perfect for 3DTV

Paris, a fine view in 3D

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Anonymous Coward

Sports in 3D?

Look like an old computer game.

The players in a 3 year old version of Fifa look more realistic than those I've seen on telly.

3D is pretty rubbish in my eyes.

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Re: Re: Ah, 3D...

Your 16 year old daughter has not grown out of watching Justin Bieber? Dear oh dear.

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I assume that means bandwidth usage from the events to the studios, as broadcasting to the home in side-by-side 3D doesn't require any additional bandwidth.

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Not quite

It means that BBC HD has to be commandeered and turned into BBC 3D, thus removing half of the BBC's HD availability. Since the other half (BBC One HD) will be showing the same thing as BBC HD (but in 2D) it effectively means that the BBC can only show one HD programme at once.

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Boffin

"broadcasting to the home in side-by-side 3D doesn't require any additional bandwidth."

Actually, the 3D channel on sky is 1080i at 25frames per second....if it was720p like the rest of the HD channels then you would be looking at a real crappy resolution...

specs can be viewed here!!

www.sky.com/shop/__PDF/3D/3D_Tech_Spec_Short_Rev5_CJ_Apr2011.pdf

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Re: Not quite

Presumably they are showing the left eye on the BBC HD channel and the right eye on BBC 1 HD or something similar, and the TV combines the two? A bit like in 1925 when the BBC broadcast their first stereo transmission by broadcasting the left ear on long wave and the right ear on medium wave.

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Incomptibility

I may be wrong, but AFAIK a 2D HDTV doesn't have the intelligence to interpret a 3D signal so as to show only one side. So it comes out looking all messed up...if it's able to interpret the signal at all (if it gets a funny signal, it may reject display with an "incompatible signal" or the like). So if a 2D channel is commandeered to show 3D, it means people with 2D TVs can't use the channel.

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Re: Re: Not quite

Syncing 2 channels at the receiver side is next to impossible with normal consumer chipsets. You'd need to decode 2 channels (not enough DSP power for that) and somehow know which frames belong together (not sure if that can be done in MPEG) to then put them side by side for your video.

It would be way more sensible to have one side as a normal H264 full resolution stream, and then the difference to the other image in a separate stream. However that would require new encoders which frankly nobody cares enough about 3D to warrant their development. (Broadcast video encoders are still very specialized devices.)

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Anonymous Coward

@ jonathanb Re: Re: Not quite --but totally wrong

"Presumably they are showing the left eye on the BBC HD channel and the right eye on BBC 1 HD or something similar"

that would be totally impractical to do.

its a single 1080i @ 25FPS transmission on a single channel. The image is split down the middle, left side is the image for the left eye, right hand side is the image for the right eye. The TV takes the single image, splits it down the middle and superimposes one over the other each with a different polarisation.. (for passive) your 3d glasses will only allow the left image to be seen by the left eye and the right image seen by the right eye by using polarised filters. The down side to this is with all the polarising lenses for the light to pass through,the image will end up a little dark. and the best HD image it will effectively be will be Half HD (540i)

For Active 3d, the TV will take the image,split it and show each frame alternatively the glasses will have an active shutter,syncing with the tv only allowing the correct eye to see the correct image. Active can show a full HD 1080i 3d movie from a blueray, but content from sky will be exactly the same quality using active or passive 3d. Active glasses are far heavier and more expensive. so if the only 3d content you are going to watch is on SKY hd then save the pennies and get a passive 3d set.

besides all that, 3dtvs do an awesome job at normal 1080i HD content....

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standard definition

used to be watchable. these days it's like watching through a seive. blocky as fuuuuuck. even the sky single def channels are terrible. was watching he rugby league over the weekend and it's impossible to make out the advert hordings on the sidelines.... and all so they can force you the hd premium priced content for what used be about right.

and it's worse for old Auntie or any of the other channels.. try watching standard def Channel 5 or the BBC2 in the day-time .. truly awful quality. and not just the program content ( before you go there).

admittedly, this is through a virmin media HD box into an LG 42 inch telly.. it ought to be ok but it's just pants.

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Boffin

Re: standard definition

Depends on your content delivery system. I find freeview as good as analogue ever was on the primary channels. The compressed-to-buggery channels are less so, but the content usually warrants that... I have noticed on parents VM box that the quality of the same channel can vary enormously, but the freeview multiplexes are standardised.

Still, it doesn't help that your TV is massive compared with what it would have been like even 10 years ago :-) Try watching it on a 24" box and see if it's watchable then

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Meh

Re: Re: standard definition

Nah it's crap.

Luckily at home I have a rare 32" Sharp Perfect PAL TV that has a 960x540 screen so it matches up nicely pixel to pixel (you dont see 35 lines or so as its hidden in non image data) with SD Freeview and DVD material. Looks fantastic with none of that horrible upscaling pixel wobbling you get pushing it up to a 1080 screen. Plus if you push 1080 material through it then its a very neat 50% downscale and it still looks great. My friends still comment on how much better and smoother the 360 looks playing on my TV in 1080 downscale than their mega screens.

My dad bought a 37" 1080p Panasonic a few weeks ago and the SD material looks really messy on it to me. HD looks good but anything else you have to sit 15 feet or more back from it to not see the 'bubbling'.

Why didn't they choose screen standards that properly scale up and down?

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What about the 5th HD channel capacity?

Not that I see much point in putting money into 3D (or indeed the Olympics), but for those people who do, isn't there an unused chunk of Freeview HD capacity declined (twice) by Channel 5?

I assume there's already intrastructure planned to support additional "red button" streams, so it can't be much of a stretch to set up a temporary HD channel.

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Re: What about the 5th HD channel capacity?

Do people actually USE that red button dross? Other than to pick a different footy match on Saturday nights ?

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Re: Re: What about the 5th HD channel capacity?

Red button is just a fancy/redundant way of changing channel! I use the channels during Wimbledon constantly, but find it far simpler to just change directly to the channels, usually 801/802

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Bronze badge

There is another way

Another option, though it relies on boxes having an up to date MHEG engine, is to broadcast 3D in the way they did for the StreetDance 3D film over the New Year holiday.

That had the broadcast in the standard side by side format, with an MHEG app that allowed views to press Red for 2D.

When they did that, it scaled the left hand side of the screen to full size. Details are at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/researchanddevelopment/2012/01/2d-compatible-3d-broadcasts.shtml

This method means you have both on a single channel, but it does risk confusing people wanting to watch in 2D (unless the app auto-started, perhaps...). It also means that if you use a non-Freeview HD receiver that doesn't have an MHEG engine, you can't see anything other than the 3D version.

There are research projects on methods for encoding the difference/depth information, so you can have a completely 2d compatible broadcast, but they're not yet standardised, so the MHEG trick is the only way you can really do it right now, and be sure it'll work with consumer equipment - anything with a Freeview HD/Freesat badge should have a compatible MHEG engine to handle the scaling.

My guess is that, for the Olympics, they don't want to run the risk of even a few people complaining about not being able to get the 2D version - rather different to a minority interest holiday film with '3D' in the title.

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This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

Can't tell if trolling...

or just completely and utterly f*cking moronic!

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Re: Can't tell if trolling...

Surely it's moronic in either case?

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I like 3D...

I'm ready for the down posts, but I'll say it anyway... I like 3D. I think it is just going to take more time for mass market adoption than we have patience for as commentators. I'm not going to buy a new TV because my current one is 2D, but when I buy a new one that has 3D, as increasingly more do (at least here in Asia), then I'll use it. Most people don't buy a telly as often as they do a phone (again over here where they seem to buy a phone every few months), but at some point it will be available in enough places that it will very slowly become 'standard', and will then get used more. Does anyone know how long HD took to transition from just being available to becoming common place?

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mens 100m in 3d!

thank god Linford Christie isnt still running. i would want to see that lunchbox bouncing about in my face!

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jai
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missing opportunity

sure the javelin event would have been perfect for broadcasting in 3D, no?

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Re: missing opportunity

agreed.

it might even make gynmastics ribbon twirling shite look vaguely interesting.

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Re: missing opportunity

Definitely, although it would be a bit dodgy being the camera-person getting the shot of the Javelin coming towards the viewer ;)

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no to the red button!

Subtitles stop working once you are in red button mode. So no!

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Joke

Watch the entire Olympics in stunning 3D HD

http://www.tickets.london2012.com/

Hope that helps.

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