3D TV has been all the rage over the past few years because of the added realism it offers the viewer, but there’s really not that much content that you can stream or play on a Blu-ray device. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a box that could create 3D on the fly from a 2D stream or Blu-ray? This week I discovered that such a box does exist and I got to see it myself courtesy of a company called VEFXiand their converter box called 3D-Bee.
Manny Muro is the VP of Engineering at VEFXi, and he invited me over to their place in North Plains, Oregon, about a 40 minute drive away from my home. This 3D-Bee product has an FPGA inside, along with some video chips off-the-shelf. Manny and his team are hard at work on the next generation chip that will have higher performance and be implemented as an ASIC where the ASIC vendor will take the RTL code and do the physical implementation. Their design process starts with an architect writing algorithms which then get manually entered as Verilog, followed by logic synthesis with Synopsys. For virtual prototyping they are using a Xilinx Spartan-6development board from Avnet. With an HDMI daughter card they can look at real video results to verify their design.
I asked Manny if they were using any of the High Level Synthesis (HLS) in the Vivado software from Xilinx, but surprisingly he said that they didn’t because they needed a finer level of control over the implementation. I remember that Luke Miller blogged about the HLS in Vivado, and thought that video conversion would be a perfect fit for it at VEFXi.
For a demo they used a Blu-ray player with 2D content and a 3D TV that required glasses, and we watched different action movie clips where the 3D effect made the movie even more compelling. I learned that 3D TV’s have two different technologies:
- Side by side
- Frame sequential
I also met Craig Peterson, the founder and CEO of VEFXi. Craig is also on the board for the International 3D Society (I3DS). For the grand finale, Craig showed me a demo of some of their upcoming 3D technology that provides dramatically more depth during viewing compared to any other technology out there.
The holy grail of 3D is to do away with the funny glasses, and view 3D unencumbered, naturally. Stay tuned for some upcoming product announcement in this area from VEFXi. In the industry they use the phrase auto-stereoscopic 3D, which means glasses-free 3D.
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