Immersive TV and the IOT

March 20th, 2012

One of the things those clever chaps at the BBC R&D are considering is the transmission of extra metadata alongside the programmes, whether on broadcast channels or over the net. This gave me an idea…

We watch TV in a room where I can, from my perch on the sofa, reach the dimmer switch on the wall. This is handy because I don’t think it’s ideal to watch TV in complete darkness, but I do often find that we start with the lighting at a certain level, and then, when we get to the gloomy, sinister scenes, I turn down the ceiling lights to make the low-contrast images more visible and reduce any reflections.

But as we move into an automated-home-internet-of-things type of world, where my dimmer may be accessible via zigbee, Z-wave or similar, perhaps the TV should be able to control the lighting? Screenplays generally specify whether a scene is ‘interior, daytime’ or ‘exterior, night’, for example, so including that in the transmission should be straightforward, and could possibly be automated. Maybe I as a viewer would feel more involved in the action if my lighting conditions matched those of the scene?

The next stage, of course, would be having the central heating automatically turn off when watching a documentary about Shackleton. Perhaps that’s a step too far…

For a more serious immersive experience, I liked the idea the Beeb guys came up with a couple o years ago for ‘surround video‘.

Posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 at 7:42 pm and filed under General.

2 Responses to “Immersive TV and the IOT”

  1. Tom Says:

    We were discussing this just the other day! We also considered how you could drive someone crazy by messing with their home-automation in ways that register only subconsciously.

    If programs start controlling our environment we need to be able to trust them blindly. That is, unfortunately (!), not something I can say about any device I own right now.

  2. qsf Says:

    Yes, I think there needs to be a bit of indirection. A remote system can say ‘it’s now a daytime scene’, but you would need to translate that into ‘and therefore the lights should be at this particular setting’.

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