Audio and Video

Video: How to Watch 3-D Movies at Home Without Those Pesky Glasses

12 July 2017

3-D films have become a staple in theaters, but adoption for home use has been slowed by the need for as the a specialized video player, a specialized television and those pesky glasses no one wants to wear.

Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) may have found a solution, so home users would never have to don a pair of uncomfortable glasses ever again.

The new system, dubbed Home3D, allows users to watch 3-D movies at home without using the special glasses that convert 3-D movies from stereo into a format that’s compatible with automultiscopic displays. This type of display improves resolution over typical television displays and has the potential to be the next great thing in home theater systems.

“Automultiscopic displays aren't as popular as they could be because they can't actually play the stereo formats that traditional 3-D movies use in theaters," said Petr Kellnhofer, a researcher at MIT CSAIL. "By converting existing 3-D movies to this format, our system helps open the door to bringing 3-D TVs into people's homes."

The Home3D system runs on a graphics processing unit (GPU), meaning it could run on an Xbox or PlayStation gaming console. MIT CSAIL believes the system could be converted into chip form and placed into TVs or in media players such as Google’s Chromecast.

In initial testing of Home3D, those involved say videos with the system were 60 percent higher quality compared to those 3-D videos converted with other approaches.

How It Works

The system converts 3-D movies from stereoscopic to multi-view video. Rather than showing just a pair of images, the screen displays three or more images that simulate what the scene looks like from different locations.

The MIT CSAIL approach uses a combination of phase-based rendering — a fast, high-resolution technique — and depth image-based rendering, which manages well how the left-eye and right-eye images perform but operates at low resolution. The new algorithm takes the best of both elements to handle larger left/right differences than phase-based approaches while at the same time resolving issues such as depth of focus and reflections.

Modern TVs are so high-resolution that it can be hard to notice much difference for 2-D content, but using them for glasses-free 3-D is potentially a good use because the algorithm makes good use of the additional pixels these TVs can provide, says Piotr Didyk, a former CSAIL postdoc.

The team is working to further hone the algorithm to minimize ghosting, or the duplication of images near or around them, but researchers believe the current system offers the potential to bring existing 3-D movie content beyond theaters without using glasses.

MIT CSAIL will present its findings at the upcoming SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference in Los Angeles. The full research can be found in a paper written by the researchers by visiting:

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