3D movies on a 3G cellphone

Those clever chaps at Fraunhofer have found a way to put 3D on a cellphone by combining the new LTE-Advanced mobile radio standard with a video coding technique.

They’ve come up with a special compression technique for films in high-resolution HD quality, computing the films down to low data rates while maintaining H.264/AVC quality.

And what the H.246/AVC video format is to HD, they say, the Multiview Video Coding (MVC) is to 3D.

“MVC is used to pack together the two images needed for the stereoscopic 3D effect to measurably reduce the film’s bit rate,” says Thomas Schierl of the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications. The technique, he says, can be used to reduce the size of 3D films by as much as 40 percent.

And this means that it’s possible to receive excellent quality 3D films over a 3G-LTE mobile radio connection.

The key element is the radio resource management integrated into the LTE system, which allows flexible data transmission while including various quality of service classes.

“The 2D and 3D bit streams divided up by MVC can be prioritized for each user at the air interface to support different services, thus opening up a completely new field for business models,” says colleague Thomas Wirth.

This could involve premium services, for example, where only the paying user can watch the 3D version of the film. It could also enable a 3D quality guarantee – even in unfavorable reception conditions such as in a moving car.

The team plans to show off the system at MWC next week.