33D STREAMING TECHNOLOGY AND LIMITATIONS
3D films are not a new technology, but only recently have movies been brought into our homes thanks to the high capacity of Blu-Ray discs and because of new televisions that feature high refresh rates which show films at double the frame rate required for our eyes to distinguish motion. A 3D movie is really two entire movies shown at the same time, one that your left eye sees, and one for your right eye. Special glasses are required to switch between the two in a way that your brain perceives as three-dimensional. Because of this, twice as much data is needed for a 3D movie compared to a 2D one, which presents certain issues when trying to send this data over a medium such as the Internet. Thankfully, several technologies are emerging that will make this possible in the near future and that we believe Blockbuster is well positioned to take advantage of in order to offer 3D content streaming to their customers.
The biggest factor of sending a movie over the Internet is the amount and type of compression that is used. It would be impossible to send a fully uncompressed high definition movie directly to your home, whether or not it is 3D, because the amount of data is staggering. In order to make the files smaller and able to be sent in small pieces, companies like Netflix use compression formats such as MPEG or AVI which use special technologies that result in smaller files. This involves limiting the bit depth for colors in a way that humans don’t really perceive, as well as comparing individual frames to the ones ahead of and before it so that only the differences have to be shown. In an MPEG-4 video, the type used by Netflix and Apple, scenes with very little action such as in a dark room use much less data compared to an action scene because of the way this compression scheme works (IEEE, 2004).
On a Blu-Ray disc, they simply splice both video channels into a single stream with twice the data rate, alternating...