Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)

The CEA is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $172 billion US consumer electronics industry. More than 2000 companies are members of the CEA, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, and the fostering of business and strategic relationships.

At recent CEA Industry Forums (2009), the focus has been on consumer electronics retail trends (e.g., changes in channel dynamics), 3DTV technology, green technology, and social media. CEA takes the (tentative) position that the 3DTV technology is demonstrating clear success at movie theaters and will gradually evolve into other facets of consumers’ viewing habits. But the guidance is that the industry needs to have reasonable expectations for 3DTV. 3DTV is gaining momentum, as covered in this text, but may not completely reach critical mass for several years. CEA recently observed that the top trends and technologies likely to prominently feature at upcoming international CES events are as follows: interactive TV topped the list as a trend to watch with a variety of partnerships, widgets, menus, and new ways to manage content across screens likely to generate “buzz” at upcoming CES trade shows; and 3DTV also will be a big trend, with the question of whether 3D glasses or an alternative solution will emerge as the most viable option. E-books and Netbooks were also highlighted as top 2010-and-beyond CES trends [17].

CEA is developing standards for the interface for an uncompressed digital interface between (say) the STB (called source) and the 3D display (called sink); these standards will need to include signaling details, 3D format support, and other interoperability requirements between sources and sinks. In 2008 CEA started standards work aimed at enabling home systems to play stereoscopic 3DTV. The group’s first step was to upgrade the interconnect standard used in the High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) to enable the cable/interface to carry stereo 3D data. Specifically this entailed an upgrade of the CEA 861 standard (A DTV Profile for Uncompressed High-Speed Digital Interfaces, March 2008) that defines an uncompressed video interconnect for HDMI. The standard defines video timing requirements, discovery structures, and a data transfer structure (InfoPacket) that is used for building uncompressed, baseband, digital
interfaces on DTVs or DTV monitors. A single physical interface is not specified, but any interface implemented must use Video Electronics Standards Association Enhanced Extended Display Identification Data (VESA E-EDID) for format discovery. CEA-861-E establishes protocols, requirements, and recommendations for the utilization of uncompressed digital interfaces by consumer electronics devices such as DTVs, digital cable, satellite or terrestrial STBs, and related peripheral devices including, but not limited to DVD players/recorders, and other related sources or sinks. CEA-861-E is applicable to a variety of standard DTVrelated high-speed digital physical interfaces such as Digital Visual Interface
(DVI) 1.0, Open Low Voltage Differential Signaling Display Interface (LDI), and HDMI specifications. Protocols, requirements, and recommendations that are defined include video formats and waveforms; colorimetry and quantization; transport of compressed and uncompressed, as well as Linear Pulse Code Modulation (LPCM), audio; carriage of auxiliary data; and implementations of the VESA E-EDID, that is used by sinks to declare display capabilities and characteristics.

At press time, CEA was also working on creating standards for 3DTV active and passive eyeglasses, metadata, on-screen displays, and user controls. A CEA group set up in 2009 was working on a standard for infrared signals used to control active shutter glasses; the group developed a requirements document and published a broad call for proposals in early 2010. The CEA also has a task group studying how to place captions in 3D space; the group was expected to issue a call for proposals in early 2010.

TM-3D-SM Group of Digital Video Broadcast (DVB)

The DVB Project is an industry-led consortium of over 250 broadcasters, manufacturers, network operators, software developers, regulatory bodies, and others in over 35 countries committed to designing open technical standards for the
global delivery of DTV and data services. The DVB project is responsible for the definition of today’s 2D DTV broadcast infrastructure in Europe, requires the use of the MPEG-2 Systems Layer specification for the distribution of audiovisual
data via cable (DVB-C i.e., Digital Video Broadcast-Cable), satellite (DVB-S i.e., Digital Video Broadcast-Satellite), or terrestrial (DVB-T i.e., Digital Video Broadcast-Terrestrial) transmitters. Owing to its almost universal acceptance and
worldwide use, it is of major importance for any future 3DTV system, and to build its distribution services on this transport technology [16] (services using DVB standards are available on every continent with more than 500 million DVB receivers deployed).

During5 2009, DVB closely studied the various aspects of (potential) 3DTV solutions. A Technical Module Study Mission report was finalized, leading to the formal creation of the TM-3DTV group. A 3DTV Commercial Module has also now been created to go back to the first step of the DVB process: what kind of 3DTV solution does the market want and need, and how can DVB play an active part in the creation of that solution? To start answering some of these questions, the CM-3DTV group was planning to host a DVB 3D TV Kick-Off Workshop in early 2010.

There have already been broadcasts of a conventional display-compatible system, and the first HDTV channel compatible broadcasts are scheduled to start in Europe in spring 2010. In 2009, DVB had been closely studying the various aspects of (potential) 3DTV solutions. A Technical Module Study Mission report was finalized, leading to the formal creation of the TM-3DTV group. As the DVB process is business- and market-driven, a 3DTV Commercial Module has now also been created to go back to the first step: what kind of 3DTV solution does the market want and need, and how can DVB play an active part in the creation of that solution? To start answering some of these questions, the CM-
3DTV group hosted a DVB 3DTV Kick-off Workshop in Geneva in early 2010, followed immediately by the first CM-3DTV.

MPEG Industry Forum (MPEGIF)

Moving Pictures Expert Group Industry Forum (MPEGIF) is an advocacy group for standards-based DTV technologies. The group is an independent and platformneutral not-for-profit organization representing more than 20 international companies and organizations with the goal to facilitate and further the widespread adoption and deployment of MPEG and related standards in next-generation digital media services. MPEGIF is among the consortiums focused on standardizing technology and methods for delivering 3DV/3DTV.

MPEGIF announced in December 2009 the formation of the 3DTV Working Group and launch of the “3D over MPEG” campaign. The new working group and campaign continue MPEGIF’s work in furthering the widespread adoption and deployment of MPEG-related standards including MPEG-4 AVC/H.264. The chair of the newly formed 3DTV Working Group stated that “3DTV is of keen interest to everyone in the video creation and delivery industries. The challenge we all face is that of sorting through the myriad technical options. Our common goal is to create a 3DTV ecosystem that delivers great new experiences to consumers. The 3DTV Working Group and the ‘3D over MPEG’ campaign are designed to provide focus and clear information to decision makers. 3DTV can be distributed today using MPEG-related standards. Existing broadband and broadcast services and infrastructures are 3D-ready, and ongoing works by standards bodies provide a compelling path for the future evolution of 3DTV . . . 3D video is showing distinct commercial promise in theatrical releases and could thus transition to the advanced living room to follow High-Definition and Surround Sound. As a result there is a growing array of competing technologies and work from various standards bodies. It has therefore become a major theme of the next MPEG Industry Forum Master Class being held at CES 2010 in Las Vegas in January 2010.” About 30 industry participants joined the 3D Working Group at the launch.

The 3DTV Working Group aims at providing a forum for free exchange of information related to this emerging technology, an industry voice advocating the adoption of standards and for consolidating the overall direction of the 3DTV industry. Its focus and constituency will be derived from video service providers, consumer electronics manufacturers, content owners, equipment manufacturers, system integrators, software providers, as well as industry advocacy groups, industry analysts, financial institutions, and academic institutes.

MPEG-4 MVC is being given consideration. As we have seen, MPEG-4 MVC can be used, among other more sophisticated applications, to handle simple transmission of independent, left-eye/right-eye views, which is considered to be the viable early commercial approach, at least in the United States. An arrangement called by some “frame-packing arrangement and SEI message” enables the encoder to signal the decoder how to extract two distinct views from a single decoded frame; this could be in the form of side-by-side, or over–under images.