Virgin Debuts 3D On-Demand Movies

Virgin Media today launched the first commercially available 3D digital TV on-demand service in the UK.   Called “3D Movies On Demand”, it’s ready for Virgin Media TV customers with 3D technology, who will now be able to choose 3D movies from the already extensive range of programmes available on-demand.

The on-demand back-end is provided by FilmFlex and it’s expected that the number of 3D films available will grow over the next few months.  Customers will need a 3D-ready set-top box and a 3D hi-def TV plus glasses.

We’re really excited to bring a taste of 3D to our customers in the comfort of their own homes. As we’ve already seen with the take-up of high definition programmes, viewers are continually looking for new ways to experience their favourite shows, and with the addition of 3D On Demand, they will be able to watch eye-popping movies whenever they want.” said Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media.

Reading the technical blurb, it says that, “Virgin Media have chosen a 3D encoding method that is compatible with our existing 2D TV broadcast platform. This method which has been adopted by many other broadcasters around the world takes the two (left and right eye) 3D images with 1920 x 1080 resolution, squeezes each image down to 960 x 1080 and then joins them together to form a new “side by side” image with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 that is now compatible with our existing 2D platform.  The 3D TV then recreates a full picture by expanding the side-by-side encoded images and displaying these together (polarised or passive 3D) or alternately (shutter or active 3D).”

I was wondering how they managed to do this so (relatively) quickly.

The full press release is here.