5 things that'll transform TV
The 'Idiot Box' is dying. From the bulky CRT (cathode ray tube)- driven machines to the modern-day slimmer LCDs (liquid crystal display) and plasmas; television has come a long way. Yet, it remains a dumb medium, but that's set to change.
A clutch of technologies are all set to turn the TV intelligent and life-like. With the launch of a number of 3D TVs, researchers predict the advent of TVs that could bring you face to face with nature right in the comforts of your living room. Moving farther, new features will ensure that TV in its futuristic Avatar will be anything but an 'idiot box'!
In fact, little that we have seen so far would prepare us for the next in TV tech. Slim, lean, tall and dark are quickly becoming the fad. Yes, we are still talking about TVs. But there's much more to come. Intelligent illumination, gesture and touch-based interactive response, Internet integration and flexible display will soon be part of TV sets and our living room lives won't ever be the same again.
Here are 5 things that will radicalize TV as we have known it so far.
Roll them up like a carpet, hang them up on walls like a curtain, these OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) TVs require no backlighting and their screen looks almost transparent. Sony's XEl-1 is one such - thinner and much lighter than conventional LCDs.
These Green TVs would be thinner and lighter than LCDs, draw much lesser power and display a wider range of colours with a sharper picture, viewable even at a 90 degree angle!
After Sony, Samsung produced in 2008 a 31 inch, 4.3 mm OLED TV, standing at the position of world's largest and thinnest. Later, it also introduced an OLED laptop which had an infinite contrast ratio.
OLEDs can be printed onto a suitable material, even creating wonders such as display on fabric! Not only is such a thing possible in TV screens, but is all set to be used for computer monitors, cell phones, PDAs, watches, portable advertisement systems et al.
Samsung has recently showcased a 40 inch OLED TV along with an OLED 'Display-ID card', followed by Sony's 24.5 inches OLED 3D display.
The third dimension
Glasses or no glasses, 3D television is coming soon and is ready to amaze you with its mimicry of the environment around us in life-like reality. The real reality TV!
Biggies are also gearing up to launch 3D channels. An example is the recent announcement from Sony, Discovery and Imax to jointly launch a 3D TV channel, while Walt Disney owned ESPN has also announced plan to launch a 3D sports channel soon.
While programming is bound to follow the 3D TVs, even more exciting would be the advent of the second generation 3D TVs which will be capable of changing the viewing angle and direction automatically as we tilt or move our heads. Third generation 3D technology will feature systems that can record the amplitude, frequency, and phase of light waves, to reproduce the natural viewing environment.
Personal & Interactive
TV is also set to become a whole lot smarter and personal by technologies already in place such as the face recognition system that will identify faces of sportspersons and display their biography/records even during a live match.
According to Intel's Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner, "TV will be whatever you want it to be" with object detection technologies. Future's smart set-top boxes can build intelligence about your surfing and viewing habits to target you only with advertising that's relevant to you like Google or Facebook do at present.
Also, imagine marrying a 50-inch anytime, anywhere OLED screen with the Internet. You won't have to wait until after a movie finishes on TV to Tweet about it or tell your Facebook friends about it. Imagine sharing YouTube links or downloadable movies real-time in a video mashup?
Sony has already carved a roadmap for such devices that bring in Flicker, Facebook, Skype, Youtube and Internet radio along with realtime TV viewing. Toshiba went a step forward and introduced a superfast, 65 inch Web TV with eight-core processors-which is much faster than many desktop processors.
Japanese giants Hitachi and Toshiba too have planned the demise of remote control and even touch TVs to be replaced by gesture TVs.
It's a matter of few years before TV feed would be available in an array of forms and gadgets with Wi-Fi like capability, making it completely ubiquitous.
Mobile TV on cell phones was a step in this direction. Dubbed as the 'next big thing' in mobile technology a few years ago, Mobile TV never took off. But its coming of age is round the corner. If we have seen 'on the go' Internet, why should 'on-the-go' TV be far behind? It's a matter of time before the true Triple play of voice, video and data are offered bundled in a true integrated fashion, receivable on multiple devices.
India's state-run BSNL has already launched mobile TV for its eastern audience and now strives to make it available to consumers across other cities and service providers. If and when 3G comes to India through other service providers, mobile TV may get a big fillip.
The gaming console
What can be more exciting than an Internet-enabled 3D HDTV which can double up as a gaming console?
The third dimension in games is already being viewed as a lucrative avenue, since it gives the players the feeling of complete involvement. The merger of the gaming console, the television, the Internet (for interactivity and global multi-player possibilities), all into one device with a 3D picture, is sure to excite hoards of gaming and Internet addicts. Such a box is not too far on the horizon.
Transgaming Inc of the US plans to launch TV gaming services this year, and revamp older PC games into TV-usable format.
And that may just be the beginning of the makeover of a new Avatar for the new generation of TVs which will not be content by merely being called high definition. The future of TV is here and it is very exciting. Go, get your glasses!