Ultra-D Glasses-Free 3D Update - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 390 Old 10-18-2013, 05:49 AM - Thread Starter
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I am a fan of 3D movies, but I hate wearing glasses. And when I do don a pair, the last thing I want to see is artifacts instead of crystal-clear 3D. Unfortunately, almost all TVs have issues when it comes to 3D playback, such as ghosting and dim images. It is clear that the future of 3D is some sort of highly effective glasses-free display technology. Well, I'm here to tell you that such a system is no longer in the realm of science fiction or a prototype in a lab, years away from being practical.

 

Last time I visited Stream TV networks—a Philadelphia-based company that is at the forefront of autostereoscopic 3D technology—I witnessed a demo of its Ultra-D technology that made me a believer in the future of glasses-free 3D. That demonstration was not without its flaws, but at the time, I was so impressed with the overall effect that I thought it was nearly ready for prime time. The primary flaw I saw occurred when changing viewing position—namely, there was a rippling effect in the image as I moved around the screen.

 

This morning, I had the privilege to be the first member of the press to see the next evolution of Ultra-D—version 1.0 of the actual chip-based video-processing system that is about to go into production, as opposed to an advanced prototype. Stream TV Networks Chief Operating Officer Raja Rajan took me through the evolution of the Ultra-D system, highlighting how quickly the technology is progressing at this point. Version 1.1 of the video-processing system is just days away, and version 2.0 is right around the corner. It is hard to overstate how much the quality of the Ultra-D system has improved each time I have seen it.

 

In this morning's demo, the two Ultra-D UHDTVs on display were identical panels with the same settings. Only the video processing was different—one was using the new chipset while the other was using the previous prototype processor. That really surprised me, because there was such a huge difference in terms of overall image quality, including the reduction of the warble effect. Even better, with the new processor, picture quality was improved across the board in a manner that made the viewing experience superior in many image-quality criteria.

 

The new processor created a sharper image, with much better shadow detail and more accurate colors than the prototype processor. Perhaps the most important improvement was the quality of the 2D-to-3D conversion—it was excellent. In particular, I saw marked improvements in the 3D geometry of facial renderings. This is a crucial aspect of 2D-to-3D conversion; it usually does not work very well, creating disturbing anomalies such as exaggerated foreheads and overly long noses. The conversion I saw today looked extremely accurate—possibly superior some Hollywood studio 2D-3D conversions. We used The Avengers playing off a 2D Blu-ray as the demo material, and I felt that the auto conversion of that movie was on par with the studio conversion.

 

The latest Ultra-D processing is shown on the left—all aspects of PQ were improved

 

Of course, 2D-to-3D conversion is one thing, but actual native 3D content always trumps converted content in my experience. I checked out Life of Pi, which we had used as a demo during my previous visit. This time, 3D from Blu-ray looked profoundly realistic, clearly better than the previous incarnation. In fact, it is the most natural-looking 3D that I have seen on TV. I could watch content on a panel like that all day long.

 

Thankfully, the 2D-to-3D conversion does a great job with 2D content, and even 3D skeptics might find something to like in the way the video is processed. It's all about how the Ultra-D processor creates the 3D image. The processing enhances the resolution of 1080p source material, and it is not simple upscaling. Ultra-D uses information gleaned from multiple frames to calculate the motion vectors in the geometry of the 3D scene. Those multiple frames contain more texture and edge detail than any one frame by itself. The result is that 1080p footage processed through Ultra-D's algorithms contains more detail—gleaned from the differences between the frames used to create the 3D image—than the original single frames from the 1080p source.

 

Since the degree of depth generated by the automatic conversion is adjustable, a viewer can opt to have a very mild 3D effect applied to the processed footage, subtle enough to be imperceptible. However, the footage still receives the same processing that enhances the resolution—the best term I can think of for the effect is "enhanced 2D."

 

On my last visit to Stream TV Networks, I left convinced that I had seen the future of 3D display technology. The reason I say "future" is that the product had subtle flaws, which 3D aficionados have come to expect in just about any implementation of the technology. On this visit, I saw an improvement so dramatic, it is clear that perfect 3D reproduction—without glasses—is not just achievable, it is close to hitting store shelves. I promise you this: When you see your first production-quality Ultra-D equipped UHDTV, it is going to knock your socks off. And that statement includes most 3D skeptics.

 

On another note, the actual UHD panels I saw looked very good, as far as standard picture quality parameters are concerned. They are based on Innolux 50" UHD panels (CMI V500DK1), which are full-array backlit LED-LCD UHDTVs, and the evenness of illumination was very impressive, almost plasma-like in its uniformity. Of course, black levels were not a match for current plasma TVs, but overall, I saw very good picture quality on the demo units. Just a couple days ago, I visited the TV-testing labs at Consumer Reports and CNET, and I did not see one single LED-edgelit LCD TV that had anything close to the screen uniformity of these panels.

 

I left the Stream TV Networks office very impressed after my latest visit. There is a 65" Ultra-D TV coming to market in 2014, and I honestly cannot wait for that, because I do love 3D, and this is the best way to watch 3D content that I have ever seen. I am definitely going to save up and buy one. What I saw was so good, it is hard to believe that the technology can be refined further—but the advances in quality are very real and coming at a frantic pace. Since the system is display-agnostic, it could be used in conjunction with OLED, LCD, and (hopefully) 4K plasmas. Stream TV Networks is planning an 84-inch panel and is even discussing the creation of a 110-inch panel that features Ultra-D.

 

Now I know for a fact that near-perfect autostereoscopic 3D is not only possible, it is a reality, and perfect glasses-free 3D seems within reach. I did not expect to be among the very first to see a demonstration of this new level of 3D quality—it is my good fortune to live a short bike ride from Stream TV Networks HQ, and for being an AVS Forum Newsbreaker. I cannot wait to see the next round of improvements.

 

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post #2 of 390 Old 10-18-2013, 10:57 AM
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That sounds pretty great! I've never been a 3D fan, outside of a few films actually recorded in 3D. This sounds like the real advancement I've been waiting for to make 3D accessible and worthwhile.

What can you tell us about the way this tech is integrated in sets? If I understand and remember correctly, the panel needs to be 2160 lines of resolution and including a filter film (polarized). Is this new chip used in place of the panel's image processing? Or is it an add on? If an add-on, does it supplant the standard processing or work in series, so to speak, just adding its own processes to the panel's normal 2D processes?

What I'm trying to figure out is how this influences a manufacturer in their design and pricing decisions. Can this chip be added with limited additional re-engineering? Will manufacturers fear they will lose all the advantages they have engineered into their existing technologies by abandoning them in favor if this?


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post #3 of 390 Old 10-18-2013, 01:00 PM
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imagic,
You are a little wishy-washy. It's hard to get a handle on how you feel about this new process. Do you like it or not?
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post #4 of 390 Old 10-18-2013, 03:31 PM
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Pretty cool, but I still feel scale is essential for suspension of disbelief (especially in 3D)... I don't even want to ask how much an autostereoscopic 120" panel will be 10 years from now, let alone 2 yrs from now!

"A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad. "
-Samuel Goldwyn

I wonder what he'd think about 3D IMAX?
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post #5 of 390 Old 10-18-2013, 04:38 PM
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Sounds like they made a big improvment. Did you have to stay in a pretty well defined spot to get the effect? I.E, if you moved a little to the left or right did the effect deminish or was the 3D sweet spot pretty large for each viewing cone?

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post #6 of 390 Old 10-18-2013, 04:50 PM
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Wonder how long before glasses free 3D projectors will be a reality...
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post #7 of 390 Old 10-18-2013, 04:59 PM
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Mark, did they give any updates on putting this into a Projector/screen or something like that?
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post #8 of 390 Old 10-18-2013, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biliam1982 View Post

Mark, did they give any updates on putting this into a Projector/screen or something like that?

Unfortunately the process is not compatible with front projection, although rear projection is a theoretical possibility. However, in a previous conversation on that topic, Leo was quite emphatic that the next challenge Stream TV Networks plans to tackle is hologram projection, which Leo said was the logical next step after autostereoscopic display.

I have no clue how far away projector-based glasses-free 3D is, or if it will ever be possible. I do know that Stream TV truly exceeded what I thought was possible when it comes to flat-panel glasses-free 3D. 


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post #9 of 390 Old 10-18-2013, 06:03 PM
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Unfortunately the process is not compatible with front projection, although rear projection is a theoretical possibility. However, in a previous conversation on that topic, Leo was quite emphatic that the next challenge Stream TV Networks plans to tackle is holographic playback, which Leo said was the logical next step after autostereoscopic display.


I have no clue how far away projector-based glasses-free 3D is, or if it will ever be possible. I do know that Stream TV truly exceeded what I thought was possible when it comes to flat-panel glasses-free 3D. 

People use the term "holography" very loosely. Holography has a very specific meaning and in the recording, has to do with the interference pattern between a split laser beam: one to light the object and one directed towards the recording surface. In traditional film-based holography, the beam that lights the object can be further split, but all beams must be equidistant. There are several different types of holography, some that can only be seen when a laser is used again to light the playback medium and others that can be seen in relatively coherent white light. How this works in the digital world, I have no idea. But I wonder if they really mean holography.

I also question whether we would really want to see a movie in holographic form. In true holography, you'd be able to see around the objects and I would surmise that it would look like a bunch of animated action figures on a surface, sort of like that 3D chess game in Star Wars. Is that how we really want to see a story told? I can see it for video games, but I can't imagine how this would work for a movie or TV show.

Back in the 1970s, when cheap transistorized lasers first became available, everyone got very excited about holography. I took the first course ever given at the now defunct NY School of Holography. But the reality was that due to the technical limitations, most holograms wound up being made up of small toy objects (although there is that famous hologram of a girl blowing a kiss). And because it was so limited, people lost interest. The biggest use of holography today is the little security sticker on many credit cards and software packaging. Maybe digital holography (if there actually is such a thing) will revive interest.
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post #10 of 390 Old 10-18-2013, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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People use the term "holography" very loosely. Holography has a very specific meaning and in the recording, has to do with the interference pattern between a split laser beam: one to light the object and one directed towards the recording surface. In traditional film-based holography, the beam that lights the object can be further split, but all beams must be equidistant. There are several different types of holography, some that can only be seen when a laser is used again to light the playback medium and others that can be seen in relatively coherent white light. How this works in the digital world, I have no idea. But I wonder if they really mean holography.

I also question whether we would really want to see a movie in holographic form. In true holography, you'd be able to see around the objects and I would surmise that it would look like a bunch of animated action figures on a surface, sort of like that 3D chess game in Star Wars. Is that how we really want to see a story told? I can see it for video games, but I can't imagine how this would work for a movie or TV show.

Back in the 1970s, when cheap transistorized lasers first became available, everyone got very excited about holography. I took the first course ever given at the now defunct NY School of Holography. But the reality was that due to the technical limitations, most holograms wound up being made up of small toy objects (although there is that famous hologram of a girl blowing a kiss). And because it was so limited, people lost interest. The biggest use of holography today is the little security sticker on many credit cards and software packaging. Maybe digital holography (if there actually is such a thing) will revive interest.

Actually that was my mistake, Leo said holograms are the future of projection, not holographs.


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post #11 of 390 Old 10-18-2013, 11:43 PM
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Mark, did they give any updates on putting this into a Projector/screen or something like that?

....Stream TV Networks is planning an 84-inch panel and is even discussing the creation of a 110-inch panel that features Ultra-D.

With 110" panels, projectors are rather redundant.... Somebody may say there are 120" and 130" screens too, but LCD panels of such sizes are well possible. Any standard LCD line which is able to make four XX" 2K displays on a single sheet of glass can be converted to producing a single 2XX" 4K panel. Thus 4x55"@"K=110"@4K, 4x60"@2K=120" and 4x65"@2K=130"@4K. This would be quite straightforward to make in convential plant without much investment. 110"@4K panel which is already productized might be the first step towards the HT screen replacement.

Returning to Ultra-D the question is however still about the viewing angle of this system and potential related artefacts.

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post #12 of 390 Old 10-19-2013, 12:11 AM
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Somebody may say there are 120" and 130" screens too,

Or they might say 300 and beyond.
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but LCD panels of such sizes are well possible.
.

Yeah for half a million dollars and close to 1000lbs?

My projector can display 300" and is 7-10lbs and wireless (can take it anywher and display a HD image) for less than $1000

Are you really trying to say Projectors are redundant?
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post #13 of 390 Old 10-19-2013, 06:23 AM
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Or they might say 300 and beyond.

Irony is not needed here. You may wish to notice that 110"@4K LCD panel is already productized. It is made on the same manufacturing lines which make mulitple 55" panels on a single sheet of glass since 110"@4K?4x55"@2K. Same could be done for 120" and 130" panels but not much more since glass sheets have limited size.
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Yeah for half a million dollars and close to 1000lbs? My projector can display 300" and is 7-10lbs and wireless (can take it anywher and display a HD image) for less than $1000. Are you really trying to say Projectors are redundant?

As the giant 4K LCD panels can be made on existing manufacturing lines, pixel pitch is the same as the corresponding 2K panels and yields are high, there is no technical reason price must be high. One could say that asymptotically the price can be in the range 4x corresponding 2K panel. Weight too should not be a big problem.
Comparing to projectors, obviously it would be fair to take decent 4K projectors as a basis. They don't cost $1000? I am indeed anticipating the projector market may get cannibalized by giant LCD panels, starting with the 110". Initial price of the 110"@4K is rumored to be $65K next year but that may go down very quickly since it is made in China and 4K TV prices are falling fast.

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post #14 of 390 Old 10-19-2013, 04:45 PM
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the tv's are quite economical
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post #15 of 390 Old 10-19-2013, 04:47 PM
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there is no viewing angle problem
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post #16 of 390 Old 10-19-2013, 07:21 PM
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This is great news, as a 3D fan I can't wait to try this technology out.
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post #17 of 390 Old 10-20-2013, 01:38 PM
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The price is competitive with flat 2d TV sets
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post #18 of 390 Old 10-20-2013, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irkuck View Post

Irony is not needed here. You may wish to notice that 110"@4K LCD panel is already productized. It is made on the same manufacturing lines which make mulitple 55" panels on a single sheet of glass since 110"@4K?4x55"@2K. Same could be done for 120" and 130" panels but not much more since glass sheets have limited size.
As the giant 4K LCD panels can be made on existing manufacturing lines, pixel pitch is the same as the corresponding 2K panels and yields are high, there is no technical reason price must be high. One could say that asymptotically the price can be in the range 4x corresponding 2K panel. Weight too should not be a big problem.
Comparing to projectors, obviously it would be fair to take decent 4K projectors as a basis. They don't cost $1000? I am indeed anticipating the projector market may get cannibalized by giant LCD panels, starting with the 110". Initial price of the 110"@4K is rumored to be $65K next year but that may go down very quickly since it is made in China and 4K TV prices are falling fast.

You didn't say anything here to prove that projectors are obsolete but rumors and opinions i.e. prices "should" be lower

1080p < $1000 < 300watts < 10lbs and 300" with 2.35 capability. When LCDs beat this let me know and I will make the switch.
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post #19 of 390 Old 10-20-2013, 01:49 PM
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lcd have beaten this
when prices are announced soon those projectors are obsolete
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lcd have beaten this
when prices are announced soon those projectors are obsolete


I guess I dind't expect someone with 8 posts to post a source
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post #21 of 390 Old 10-20-2013, 01:54 PM
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I know what the prices are because I founded the company.
After 84 inches, we will have 110.
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post #23 of 390 Old 10-20-2013, 03:19 PM
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we will have 110 inch tv.
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post #24 of 390 Old 10-20-2013, 04:40 PM
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we will have 110 inch tv.

So are you getting them from China Star like everyone else or do you have your own source? TCL had one for special order for an absurd $300K, but they should be around $40-$50K soon.
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post #25 of 390 Old 10-20-2013, 06:19 PM
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we have several suppliers of panels
if you are looking for larger sizes we have a 65 and 84 inch coming out after our 50 and 55 inch
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post #26 of 390 Old 10-20-2013, 06:21 PM
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50k to 300k must be prototype pricing
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post #27 of 390 Old 10-20-2013, 06:25 PM
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I know what the prices are because I founded the company.
After 84 inches, we will have 110.

Hi Mathu,

Can you give us a timeframe and ballpark price for the first Real D sets that will hit the market in 2014?

Thanks, can't wait to see one first hand.
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post #28 of 390 Old 10-20-2013, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irkuck View Post

....Stream TV Networks is planning an 84-inch panel and is even discussing the creation of a 110-inch panel that features Ultra-D.

With 110" panels, projectors are rather redundant.... Somebody may say there are 120" and 130" screens too, but LCD panels of such sizes are well possible. Any standard LCD line which is able to make four XX" 2K displays on a single sheet of glass can be converted to producing a single 2XX" 4K panel. Thus 4x55"@"K=110"@4K, 4x60"@2K=120" and 4x65"@2K=130"@4K. This would be quite straightforward to make in convential plant without much investment. 110"@4K panel which is already productized might be the first step towards the HT screen replacement.

Returning to Ultra-D the question is however still about the viewing angle of this system and potential related artefacts.

I don't know about you, but bringing my 64" through the front door, down the stairs and around a rather tight corner to make it into my theatre room was extremely tricky. getting a 70" would require a lot of help, unboxing the tv, and maybe even some minor de/reconstruction. getting something 100" or larger would cost me thousands of dollars to just get into the room. compare that to a projector/screen combo that I can bring home from the store in a compact car and carry into the room all by myself in one trip. there's advantages to going with projectors that can't be overcome. some disadvantages too.

for me, I simply could not get a 'projector sized' screen into my room. it wouldn't even be an option if it were available to buy cheaply.


as for the the og post and the ultra-d technology. it sounds very promising, and anything that can deliver 3D performance for those who want it, without sacrificing 2D picture quality sounds good to me. and that's exactly where my question would be, if you close one eye, does the picture look good? how does this compare to a good 2D picture on a standard tv?

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post #29 of 390 Old 10-20-2013, 09:30 PM
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Sounds great, just hope they nix input lag in all their models. Is there no way to use a 46" up close, say 1 meter away? I'd be interested in using one as a wide field of view gaming monitor.


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post #30 of 390 Old 10-21-2013, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by fierce_gt View Post

I don't know about you, but bringing my 64" through the front door, down the stairs and around a rather tight corner to make it into my theatre room was extremely tricky. getting a 70" would require a lot of help, unboxing the tv, and maybe even some minor de/reconstruction. getting something 100" or larger would cost me thousands of dollars to just get into the room. compare that to a projector/screen combo that I can bring home from the store in a compact car and carry into the room all by myself in one trip. there's advantages to going with projectors that can't be overcome. some disadvantages too.
for me, I simply could not get a 'projector sized' screen into my room. it wouldn't even be an option if it were available to buy cheaply.

All you say is true. The point is 100"+@4K panels replacing projectors would be obviously starting from high-end installations where tight corners should not be expected. This, plus the fact this is 4K technology which would be aiming for replacing 4K projectors makes it potential killer of HT projectors in longer term.

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