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SES Astra announces 3D TV initiative

Satellite operator SES Astra has announced a new initiative to support the introduction of 3D TV in Europe.

Astra said the industry had reached a common understanding of the minimum technical specifications for the introduction of 3D TV and broadcasting. The initiative is backed by Astra and European broadcasters including public and private TV channels as well as representatives from the consumer electronics industry.

Initial satellite 3D transmissions will use either the side-by-side for 1080i resolution formats or top-bottom for 720p resolution formats, which make them compatible with existing HD set-top boxes. Side-by-side and top-bottom are two transmission formats for 3D satellites broadcasts whereby two pictures are arranged either horizontally or vertically in one frame. The delivery of two different images for the left and right eye is necessary in order to create a 3D stereoscopic image for the viewer.

Ferdinand Kayser, president and CEO of Astra, said: “We are very pleased with the results of our initiative which represents a major leap in the introduction of 3D television across Europe. By working closely with our broadcast customers and the consumer electronics industry, we are again demonstrating our ability to bring together key-industry players to drive innovation in the field of broadcasting technology.”

Separately, sports broadcaster Eurosport has announced that it will broadcast the US Open tennis tournament in 3D in partnership with Eutelsat. Capacity on the Eurobird 9A satellite will be used by Eurosport to transmit the tournament in 3D for demonstrations at consumer electronics show IFA from September 3 -8. The US Open will be available in 3D on a dedicated Eurosport 3D signal for broadcast on Panasonic’s booth.