The Web3D Consortium has announced the Rich Media 3D (RM3D) initiative, aimed at developing an open standard for rich media content, including 3D graphics, video and audio, to be transmitted over the Internet and used in digital broadcast applications. The Web3D Consortium has created an RM3D working group that aims to develop a straightforward way of communicating content to ensure that new types of Internet devices, including Internet terminals and set top boxes, can receive and present rich media, said Neil Trevett, president of the Web3D Consortium. The working group also aims to simplify the development of content, Trevett said in an interview. The initiative is being driven by equipment makers and companies that supply graphics and content, the Web3D Consortium said in a release Tuesday. Representatives of 3Dlabs, ATI, Eyematic Interfaces, iVAST, OpenWorlds, Shout Interactive, Sony, SRI International and the Austrian company Uma comprise the working group. They intend to publish an initial draft standard next month and final specifications in December. Much of the technology behind an RM3D specification already has been developed by Sony for the emerging interactive television market. Content developers have become involved in further development of the RM3D standard because a lack of open standards is an impediment to their business, the Web3D Consortium release said. "Sony have done significant work in this area and they are offering it to the group as a potential starting point," Trevett said. One of the first tasks of the working group will be to determine if the work Sony has done so far - under the project name Blendo - is a reasonable starting point, said Trevett. "I personally expect the group to embrace Blendo, which Sony has generously put into the open standards track," Trevett said. "That will be the mechanics by which we can achieve rapid progress" on the standard. The RM3D initiative is intended to closely interoperate with the MPEG-4 standards group to enhance the Web3D Consortium's contributions to that standard so that future versions of the MPEG-4 specification it will be possible to include 3D graphics along with audio and video. RM3D will also interoperate with current Web3D technologies, such as VRML. As a Web3D Consortium working group, RM3D membership is open to all, and companies that would like to contribute are encouraged to join. Further details are available at the Web3D Consortium's Web site. The URL for the current draft of the specification is http://www.web3d.org/WorkingGroups/rm3d/rm3dcontacts.html