Patent published on August 22, 2023

New Patent Could Make Watching 360 Videos Easier and Cheaper

Today, we find ourselves in a tech-laden world where virtual reality and 360-degree videos are swiftly conquering the visual media space. Imagine freely looking around a concert or a scenic park without being there. This experience is being made real by a recent patent, US11736725B2, filed by TDF. It promises to offer new methods for encoding and decoding of data flow representing an omnidirectional video, which in simple language, translates to much cheaper and convenient viewing of 360 degree videos.

The current challenge stems from the most widely used video content receivers' inability to handle 360-degree video content. Traditional receivers are typically designed for 2D or 3D video content. Moreover, delivering a video captured in multiple formats—2D, 3D, and 360 degrees, which allows for different images and angles—demands substantial bandwidth, thereby escalating costs and creating technical hurdles.

This conundrum makes TDF's patent a potential game-changer. It proposes to optimize the process by creating an initial layer of a 2D or 3D video and adding an enhancement layer over it. This enhancement layer, which is compared with the initial base for accuracy, manifests the video in a 360-degree view. This innovative layering significantly cuts down the cost of transmitting video streams when the content needs to be viewed in 2D or 3D as well as the more immersive 360 degree view.

Adopting this technology will morph the world of visual media. Consumers will be able to watch videos in 360 degrees, giving them a sneak peek into a kind of virtual reality experience. For instance, educational institutions can offer virtual tours to prospective students, and travel agencies can utilize this technology to offer potential close-to-reality glimpses of holiday destinations. Furthermore, the patent allows the rebuilding of only a part of the omnidirectional image, meaning the viewers can focus on specific parts of a video, which reduces the complexity and the associated costs.

However, as intriguing as this might sound, it's important to remember that at this stage, it remains a patent. Whether this technology will see the light of day, become commercialized, and adopted in our everyday lives, the future is yet to reveal.

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