This paper presents details of a system that allows for an evolutionary introduction of depth perception into the existing 2D digital TV framework. The work is part of the European Information Society Technologies (IST) project "Advanced Three-Dimensional Television System Technologies" (ATTEST), an activity, where industries, research centers and universities have joined forces to design a backwards-compatible, flexible and modular broadcast 3D-TV system. At the very heart of the described new concept is the generation and distribution of a novel data representation format, which consists of monoscopic color video and associated per-pixel depth information. From these data, one or more "virtual" views of a real-world scene can be synthesized in real-time at the receiver side (i.e. a 3D-TV set-top box) by means of so-called depth-image-based rendering (DIBR) techniques. This publication will provide: (1) a detailed description of the fundamentals of this new approach on 3D-TV; (2) a comparison with the classical approach of "stereoscopic" video; (3) a short introduction to DIBR techniques in general; (4) the development of a specific DIBR algorithm that can be used for the efficient generation of high-quality "virtual" stereoscopic views; (5) a number of implementation details that are specific to the current state of the development; (6) research on the backwards-compatible compression and transmission of 3D imagery using state-of-the-art MPEG (Moving Pictures Expert Group) tools.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.