People attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to see the latest tech, gadgets, lifestyle products…you name it. But everything there has one thing in common: they’re being looked at. Because nothing is more convincing than what we see (hearing notwithstanding), so we look for what we look at that is going to shake up the status quo. And kick the consumer in the seat of the pants. Here’s the three disruptive technologies that are coming to change everything.
So you’ve gotten used to high-definition TVs, finally bought a flat-panel and figure that’s the end of it — all those “Smart TV” extras already being built-in or can be added later through a inexpensive box, right so that’s that. Well think again — flat is going away as “curved” takes over in both HDTV resolution (1080p) and 4K. TV makers like Sony have already put out a 65” curved HDTV and they’re not the only ones — Samsung has curved TVs and LG too; only LG ups the game by also introducing the 105” Ultra HD that changes from curved to flat (for viewing web content) back to curved again at a touch of a button.
So what’s the IMAX thought here? That a curved screen is more enveloping, more immersive and draws the viewer into what’s being seen in a way that “flat” can’t. Of course this means you’ll need to buy a new TV again — no getting around that because the hardware can’t be upgraded, just replaced. And if that isn’t enough, smartphones are looking to go the same route, so soon there’ll be no getting away from it there either.
Glasses-Free 3D TV
We’ve gotten so blasé about 3D that it’s taken for granted that any TV picked off the shelf will have the option to display the third-dimension. But regardless of how the tech works, you need a pair of 3D glasses when you want to watch. So you do. But now companies are “revisiting” 3D in a big way to eliminate having to do anything different when 3D is playing on the TV — that’s what glasses-free TV is all about (or “auto-stereoscopic” if you want to be more techie about it).
This has been foreshadowed already with the glasses-free screen on the Nintendo 3DS. But now there’s big names talking about it, like Dolby and their Dolby 3D suite of tech for any kind of display, IZON and their A3D Auto-Stereoscopic line of TVs, not to mention Sharp’s 85” 8K prototype that was shown at CES (and which makes multiple “sweet spots” so that viewers don’t have to be dead-center in front for the best 3D view). This is how 3D should work — you look at a screen and see it when it’s there and don’t see it when it’s not. That’s about as great as you could ask for but — surprise! — it also means having to get a new TV that has the technology.
You’ve got the latest, best gaming console and expect great things from that game you just sunk your cash. But staring at a TV is so 20th Century — hasn’t Google Glass taught you yet that looking at a TV screen isn’t the same as getting up close and personal? All those “wearable” tech that right now mate up with smartphones is going to be migrating to your face — remember Locutus of Borg?
Besides specialized “virtual reality” headsets and helmets, for gamers right now there’s such consumer models as Sony’s wearable with 2D/3D OLED displays and virtual 7.1 sound and Vuzix’s Widescreen for getting a virtual 52” view, driven off a “AA” battery.
But changing the game comes from Epson because their Moverio wearable display not only does see-through (“floating” the images so you can see past into the real world) but is also Android powered for apps and streaming via WiFi. That means gaming on a virtual 80” screen keeps pace with head-turns, but it also means that there wouldn’t be much need to plug into the console for playing since then you’re locked into one place. Given how app-gaming is taking away from console gaming, the more we’ll be able to game in front of our faces, the less we’ll be willing to sit in front of a TV screen to do it. Xbox and PlayStation better beware.