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CableLabs Publishes 3D Encoding Spec

CableLabs has published its first specification as a guide for producers, programmers and aggregators of stereoscopic 3D programming.

The new Content Encoding Profiles 3.0 Specification details the specific requirements for formatting or "panelizing" 3D content into a frame-compatible format for use by cable TV systems. It was developed with support from cable operators, programmers and equipment vendors and will be "publicly available for any industry to use," said CableLabs President and CEO Paul Liao in a statement.

"This spec release marks a great step in the commercialization of 3DTV because it is the first public specification that fully describes the coding and signaling for these top-and-bottom and side-by-side 3D video formats," Comcast chief technology officer Tony Werner said in a statement.

Added Michael Kazmier, CTO of Avail-TVN: "Ensuring that content from all programming sources and cable systems is prepared in a uniform way will enable a nationwide footprint for 3D programming and enable interoperability with STBs and 3DTVs in the home."

The new CEP spec replaces the previous VOD-Content Encoding Profile 2.0 specification that was widely used within the industry. According to CableLabs, it builds on the existing 2D-coding framework defined by the previous version of this document and will be used as the reference for both 2D and 3D video coding going forward.

"A key part of this specification includes the definitions for signaling 3D content over existing digital video infrastructure that uses either MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 (AVC/H.264) coding," said Jim Occhiuto, vice president of technology and engineering, Showtime Networks. That signaling is critical for the receiver/decoder to enable automatic format detection and simplified user experiences when switching between 2D and 3D programs, he added.

Separately, CableLabs is continuing to develop standards for future 3D delivery systems that will expand the resolution and the quality as new equipment becomes available.

The CEP 3.0 specification can be found on the CableLabs website under OpenCable Specifications here: