Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

The Rise of Dual Screen Apps, courtesy of Apple TV

Article by Jeremy Allaire  mashable.com

Dual-screen apps are a new phenomena, enabled by the advent of wireless technologies that allow for effortless pairing of a PC, tablet or smartphone with a TV. They are changing how people are interacting and “consuming” content within apps. For developers this creates many new opportunities to provide better experiences for their users, but it requires thinking about dual-screen setups from the start as well as new tools.

The opportunity for dual-screen apps is huge. And it’s more than just watching a video or playing a game: Dual-screen apps have the potential to transform the office meeting room, the classroom, the retail store, the hospital, and really any other context where people are interacting around content and information and where that information would benefit from rendering and display on a large screen such as a TV monitor.

To better understand this concept, it’s necessary to step back and reconsider the nature of how we write software and the user experience model for software.

The Evolution From Single Screen

Today, the predominant user-experience model for software and applications online is a single screen. We browse web applications on a desktop PC, mobile browser or tablet browser and interact with and consume content and applications on that screen. It is very much a single, individual user task. Likewise, we install apps onto these devices and consume and interact with information, perform tasks, make purchases, etc. through these apps. Again, this is a solitary single individual task.

As a result, when software creators plan their applications, they are typically designed and developed with this single user, single-screen concept in mind.

Dual-screen apps change all of that by shifting the software and user experience model from one user to potentially many, and from one screen (PC/phone/tablet) to two screens (phone/tablet and TV monitor). From a software development and user-experience perspective, the large monitor (which is the true second screen — versus the standard concept that considers the tablet as the second screen) becomes an open computing surface where one can render any form of application functionality, information, data and content.

SEE ALSO: Is This the Second-Screen TV App That Finally Goes Mainstream?

Importantly, designers and developers need to shed the concept that “TVs” are for rendering video, and instead think about TVs as large monitors on which they can render applications, content and interactivity that’s supported by a touch-based tablet application.

The Social Computing Surface

While we have the greatest affinity for large monitors as fixtures of the living room, increasingly flat-screen monitors are a becoming a ubiquitous part of our social fabric. In fact, large monitors often sit at the center of any social setting. In the home, these large monitors provide a social surface for those sharing the living room space. Increasingly, monitors are a common part of nearly every business meeting room space — not for watching video, but for projecting shared content and business data and presentations that support business and organization collaboration.

Likewise, monitors are in medical and hospital settings providing visual information to patients. They are increasingly in nearly every classroom, whether through a projector or an actual TV monitor and support the presentation of information that is needed for a collection of students. Large monitors are increasingly ubiquitous in retail settings as well.

The key concept here is that this pervasive adoption of TV monitors is the tip of the spear in creating a social computing surface in the real world. Forget about social networks that connect people across their individual, atomized computing devices — the real social world is groups of people in a shared space (living room, office, classroom, store, etc.) interacting around information and data on a shared screen.

Until very recently, the way in which these TV monitors could be leveraged was limited to connecting a PC through an external display connector to a projector or directly to a TV. The recent breakthrough that Apple has fostered and advanced more than any other tech company is AirPlay and associated dual-screen features in iOS and Apple TV.

Specifically, Apple has provided the backbone for dual screen apps, enabling:

  • Any iOS device (and OS X Mountain Lion-enabled PCs) to broadcast its screen onto a TV. Think of this as essentially a wireless HDMI output to a TV. If you haven’t played with AirPlay mirroring features in iOS and Apple TV, give it a spin. It’s a really exciting development.
  • A set of APIs and an event model for enabling applications to become “dual-screen aware” (e.g. to know when a device has a TV screen it can connect to, and to handle rendering information, data and content onto both the touch screen and the TV screen).

With the existing Apple TV unit sales already outselling the Xbox in the most recent quarter, we can see a world that goes from approximately 5 million dual-screen-capable Apple TVs to potentially 15-20 million in the next couple of years, and eventually to 30-50 million as new and improved versions of the Apple TV companion device come to market.

As a result, it’s an incredible time to experiment with this fundamental shift in computing, software and user experience, to embrace a world where the Tablet is the most important personal productivity device, and the TV is a rich and powerful surface for rendering content and applications.

How Dual-Screen Apps Will Work

As we rethink the TV as a computing surface for apps, it’s really helpful to have some ideas on what we’re talking about. Below are a series of hypothetical examples of what is possible today and of course what will be even bigger as these new dual screen run-times proliferate.

Buying a House: Imagine you’re looking into buying a house. You open your tablet app from a reputable home-listing service and perform a search using criteria that you care about and begin adding potential fits to a list of houses you’d like to explore. When you select a specific house, the app detects you’re connected to an Apple TV and launches a second screen on the TV that provides rich and large visual displays about the house — HD-quality photos and contextual information about the house. Here, the power of dual screen is the fact that you and your spouse can sit in the living room and explore a house together without crouching over a computer or tablet on someone’s lap, and the house can be presented with HD-quality media and contextual information.

Buying a Car: Imagine launching the BMW app on your tablet and deciding to both learn about car models and configure a car — like buying a house, often a “social” decision between partners. On the TV, the app renders a high-quality rendition of the car. As you explore the car’s features from your tablet, associated media (photos, video and contextual metadata) render onto the large TV in front of you. As you configure your car using your tablet, it updates a visual build of the car on the large screen, providing an inline HD video for specific features.

Kids Edutainment: Looking to introduce your three-year old to key cognitive development concepts? Launch a learning app where the child interacts with the tablet application and sees visual information, animation and other content on the TV screen. Their touches on the tablet instantly produce rich and relevant content on the TV screen. Learning to count? Feed cookies over AirPlay to Cookie Monster on the TV who eats and counts with you. Learning about concepts like near and far? Tap the table to make a character move closer and away from you. Build a character on the tablet and watch the character emerge on the TV screen.

SEE ALSO: Designing for Context on Multiple Devices

Sales Reporting: As a sales manager, you walk into your team conference room with a TV monitor mounted on the wall. You kick open your Salesforce.com tablet app on your tablet and begin filtering and bringing up specific reports on your tablet, and with the touch of a button you push unique visual reports onto the shared surface of the conference room TV. Here, the sales manager wants control of the searches and filters they have access to and only wants to render the charts and reports that are needed for the whole team to see.

Board Games: Imagine playing Monopoly with your family in the living room — one or two or maybe even three touch devices present (phones, iPod touches, iPads). Each player has their inventory of properties and money visible on their device. The app passes control to each user as they play. On the TV screen is the Monopoly “board” with a dynamic visual that updates as users play — the movement of players, the building up of properties, etc.

The Classroom: A teacher walks into a classroom with an Apple TV connected to a HDMI-capable projector that projects onto a wall or screen. From their tablet, they pull up an application that is designed to help teach chemistry and the periodic table — they can control which element to display up on the screen, and the TV provides rich information, video explanations, etc. The app is designed to provide ‘public quiz’ functionality where the TV display shows a question, presumably related to material just reviewed or from homework, students raise their hand to answer and then the answer and explanation is displayed.

Doctor’s Office: You are meeting with your doctor to go over test results from an MRI scan. The doctor uses his or her tablet to bring up your results, picks visuals to throw onto the TV monitor in the room, then uses his or her finger to highlight key areas and talk to you about they’re seeing.

Retail Electronics Store: You’re at a Best Buy and interested in buying a new high-quality digital camera. A sales specialist approaches you with tablet in hand and asks you a few questions about what you’re interested in while tapping those choices into their tablet app. From there, it brings up on a nearby TV display a set of options of cameras — based on further probing, they drill into a specific camera choices which brings up a rich visual with a video overview of the specific camera that you’re interested in.

Consuming News: A major revolution has just broken out in a nation across the planet. Time has captured incredible audio, photos and video of the events. You and your friends sit down in front of the TV to learn more. You open the Time Magazine tablet app and bring up a special digital edition about the revolution. From the tablet, you flip through and render onto the TV rich HD-quality photographs, listen to first hand audio accounts (accompanied by photos) and watch footage from the events. The app renders a huge visual timeline of the events that led up to the revolution. It’s an immersive media experience that can be easily shared by friends and family in the living room.

Consuming Video: Last but not least, of course, dual-screen apps will be essential to any app that is about consuming video — whether a news or magazine app, a vertical website (think Cars.com, BabyCenter.com, AllRecipies.com, etc.), or of course a catch-up TV app from a TV network or show that you care about. You open the app on your table to explore what to watch, and when you’re ready to watch the show instantly pops onto your TV in gorgeous HD quality, and the tablet app becomes your remote control and presents relevant contextual information about the video, episode or what have you.

The Coming Dual-Screen Revolution

This is such a groundbreaking approach to apps and software we expect lots of others to try and emulate what Apple is doing. Already, Microsoft is promoting the ability to use its Surface Tablet in conjunction with apps built for the Xbox. Samsung has introduced features in its tablets and TVs to enable easy media sharing from your tablet or phone onto a Samsung Smart TV, and surely Google will follow suit with similar features to AirPlay in the Android OS. Apple is still early in deploying this technology — it’s sometimes flaky and a little bit hidden from end-user view — but I expect major changes in the coming months and years.

Virtually every application that exists on the web and phones and tablets likely has a dual-screen use case. Simply put, Web and app designers and developers need to imagine a world where the tablet and TV are a single run-time for their applications which each screen providing distinct value for the user controlling the app and the user consuming rich media and information on a large display. Sometimes this is just one person (like picking and watching a show or playing a game or learning something), but crucially and very often I believe that these apps will be designed with multiple users — and a social context — in mind.

Jeremy Allaire is CEO and founder of Brightcove, a global provider of cloud-content services that offers a family of products and developer tools used to publish and distribute professional digital media.

The State of Network Broadcasting Examined

It would appear to the casual viewer that TV broadcasting and the cable universe remains virtually unchanged in the past decade.  The Nets have enjoyed a virtual monopoly in terms of spectrum allocation by the government.  Cable and Satcasters offer (ho-hum) identical products and services much in the way consumers get to decide over Coke versus Pepsi. Sure the picture quality has improved remarkably when we made the leap to Hi definition, however with the exception of terrestrial broadcasting which is still free, the cost of receiving those transmissions has gone up.  Way up. But what about the choices? Not only does the typical consumer want to maintain the number of choices of programming (despite the wasteland of info-mercials and paid programming), and they are willing to shoulder the added costs of premium services and HD channels, but they also wish to “time-shift” using their DVR’s and eliminate or fast-forward through the commercials.  They also want to watch on a myriad of new devices including iPads and other mobile devices (even inside the home). In other words if they are forced to pay more, then they expect more.


Two separate lawsuits are winding their way through the courts that address these issues.  The first is over AEREO, the start-up created by Barry Diller which allows the consumer to re-transmit local TV stations through the installation of tiny antennae connected to their computer. A U.S District Court Judge recently refused broadcasters requests to issue a preliminary injunction. Copyright experts would argue that this is tantamount to theft and that television re-transmission requires payment to the broadcasters. Comcast, Dish TV and DirecTV among others would argue that this amounts to unfair competition and it is. But I would posit that the consumer doesn’t care as to who is providing the signal, but they are certain to feel it in their pocketbook. The consumer understands by now that it is the convenience of watching, whenever and wherever they choose to that is paramount and if it costs that much less then that is the added bonus.

‘A la Carte cable programming has been given lip service by congress but no real progress has been made in the last decade. Eyebrows were raised on the recent sale of the Dodgers to a consortium for several billion dollars and questions asked as to how many cable and satellite subscribers would have to pay to subsidize this enormous deal even if they never watch a game on TV. Add to that the erosion caused by Hulu, Roku, Netflix and other streaming services, not to mention the illegal torrents.  You would think the broadcasters would be running scared and I believe they are. So what do they do? They seek relief through the courts to protect their monopoly.

Case in point is the new HOPPER system offered by Dish Network, that automatically removes the commercials that have ben recorded on your DVR.  Who doesn’t want that feature?  In U.S. District Courts in both New York and Los Angeles, Dish is in litigation with Fox, CBS and NBCUniversal who claim that their revenue base from advertising will be eroded and that re-transmission does not allow for editing of programs to exclude commercials.

Two previous landmark decisions may provide the precedent to allow Dish to continue offering HOPPER.  Most recently was the Cablevision case in 2008 which allowed for re-transmission of programming from Cablevision’s servers. The second and most profound case was the advent of the VCR back in the seventies:

“We look forward to proceeding with this case, recognizing that it has been 28 years since the Supreme Court’s ‘Betamax’ decision held that a viewer, in the privacy of their home, could record a television show to watch later,” Dish lawyer R. Stanton Dodge made in a statement. “The Court ruled that ‘time-shifting’ constituted a fair use of copyrighted television programming. Those Betamax users could permissibly fast-forward through commercials on recorded shows – just as DVR users do today. Dish will stand behind consumers and their right to skip commercials, something they have been doing since the invention of the remote control.”

It is fair to say that innovation will always win out over protectionism and it behooves the providers to come up with more convenience and better choices. The consumers demand it.  Once video made the leap to computers and hand-held devices then the genie was out of the bottle. Networks and providers will hopefully adapt or change their business plans (let the demise of the traditional music labels be a lesson) and if it results in less clutter of advertising or lower costs to the consumer then we all win.

- Scott Arundale

Sources:

Deadline.com

TVNewsCheck.com

3D offered in major venues for the Olympics


The London Olympics this year seem to keep surprising us in 3D even before they start! Now Ultra-D 3D may be incorporated at the 3D Olympic coverage this year also.

Stream TV Networks, Inc. announced today that they choose London as the location of the first Ultra-D(TM) TV public viewing location in Europe. The Walkabout in Covent Garden at 11 Henrietta Street in London, will have installed the first ever Ultra-D display unit in the UK in time for the 2012 Summer Olympics, broadcasted live on the BBC, Sky and ESPN. Live 2D and with-glasses (stereoscopic) 3D broadcasts of the Olympic Games will be auto converted into the stunning 3D without glasses Ultra-D format in real-time, using the Ultra-D SeeCube(TM) Conversion Box. The viewing location will also host demos to highlight the Ultra-D technology’s compatibility with the iPad®, iTunes®, Appstore® and the Apple TV®. Matthew Young, European representative for Stream TV Networks in the UK said: “We chose Walkabout for the first ever screen as it’s well known as the best live sports venue in London.”

The manager of the Covent Garden Walkabout Bar, Dal Jones, states that Ultra-D is “1000% better than anything else I have seen in 3D without glasses. I am very pleased and truly excited to be the first UK bar to be able to offer this to our customers.”

Stream TV Networks is placing demo units at high traffic venues in metropolitan areas in the US, Europe, Taiwan and China to showcase the Ultra-D technology to consumer before products become available at retail. In the US, the first venue to showcase Ultra-D will be Blondies Sports® ( www.blondiessports.com ) in New York City located at 212 West 79th St., also in time for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Ultra-D enables the seamless autoconversion of 2D and 3D with glasses content into autostereoscopic (glasses-free) 3D in real-time, so that virtually every kind of video feed can be viewed in 3d without glasses. The Ultra-D technology has also been optimized for the iOS® and Android® operating systems for enhanced connectivity to peripheral devices.

Additional consumer viewing locations for Ultra-D(TM) technology will be announced in the coming weeks and will include additional venues in New York, Philadelphia, London and various locations throughout China.

“Ultra-D is the first 3D without glasses solution that has been able to eliminate viewing angles and offer the high quality, glasses-free 3D experience we’ve all been waiting for,” says Matt Young for Stream TV Networks. He adds, “Being able to offer this in time for the Olympics just adds to the viewing experience and enjoyment of the games being in London.”

The Walkabout in Covent Garden is “the Home of the Awesome Spirit of Australia in Central London, and also the West End’s Premier Sport’s Bar and Party Shack!” The Walkabout is located at:

11 Henrietta Street London, Greater London WC2E 8PY

Ultra-D viewing units are available. For information regarding sales or business relationships please email contact@ultra-d.com or myoung@streamtvnetworks.com

Source: www.StreamTVNetworks.com

Star Wars Phantom Menace 3D Trailer

With Recent Deals, OTT Distributors’ Content Strategies Are Crystallizing

Amid the drama and headlines surrounding OTT distributors (e.g. Netflix price increases and Qwikster decision, on-again/off-again Hulu sale, etc.), these companies’ content strategies actually seem to be crystallizing, with each trying to stake out a somewhat distinct value proposition for their users. True, there is still plenty of blurriness between them, and each appears reluctant to be pigeon-holed, but recent deals suggest how each OTT distributor is positioning itself.

Below is a summary of the content strategies of most of the major OTT distributors (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube, Walmart/VUDU, iTunes and Blockbuster) with a catchphrase that best describes their approach:

Netflix - “Rerun-TV, but please don’t call us that” – Earlier this year, when Comcast CEO Brian Roberts was asked if he felt pressured by Netflix’s growing array of content deals, he half-jokingly replied, “What used to be called ‘reruns’ on television is now called Netflix.” At the time the comment seemed like it diminished Netflix, but eight months later it is quite accurate (in fact on last week’s earnings call Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said it wasn’t an unfair characterization, though he wouldn’t want to labeled this way). Netflix is increasingly about catalog serialized programs, picking up where traditional syndication left off; recently it obtained the rights to CW programs and today renewed Disney-ABC programs.  When the Starz deal expires in a few months the movies available on Netflix streaming will look even older and more obscure, the Dreamworks’ movies don’t appear until 2013 and originals like “House of Cards” are still a question mark. All that means Netflix’s deep catalog is increasingly going to define the streaming service.

Hulu - “Catch up on broadcast TV programs, no DVR required” – Just when you thought you mastered your DVR’s controls, Hulu is essentially saying “don’t bother.” After obtaining the rights to CW’s current season episodes last Friday, Hulu now has all the broadcast networks except CBS available. And if you want quicker/deeper access, Hulu Plus offers that too. Beyond broadcast, Hulu has also snagged some cable programs (most notably “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report”), independent content (with surprising success in anime), and is also showcasing some of its own originals (e.g. Morgan Spurlock’s “A Day in the Life”). Hulu’s owners have decided to hang onto their stakes, rather than bank a short-term gain. Now the question is will Hulu get further resources to break out of its broadcast catch-up positioning?

Amazon - “Fired up to beat Netflix in streaming” – Amazon seems more serious than ever about being a streaming contender, and is employing a Netflix-like strategy for content acquisitions, recently signing up Fox, and today Disney-ABC, in a remarkably similar deal to one Netflix itself announced (so much for exclusivity!). I was critical of Amazon’s decision to include video in its Amazon Prime shipping service which reduced its visibility, but more recently the company’s decision to introduce the Kindle Fire “iPad killer” means that having great content is now a lot more important. Amazon has very deep pockets and could broaden its content acquisitions driving up prices for other OTT players.

YouTube - “Indies-R-Us” – Last Friday, YouTube finally announced the first batch of independently-created original programs, as part of its $100 million investment in higher-quality content. Under Google’s ownership, YouTube had already moved a long way from its UGC roots, but despite incessant rumors that it would become a bidder for Hollywood shows and movies, YouTube is instead trying to nurture its own content that it hopes will be appealing to major advertisers, as well as audiences. That’s not to say Google won’t be opportunistic; it reportedly dangled a $4 billion offer in front of Hulu’s owners in the recent auction, but was rebuffed due to aggressive demands. With more resources than anyone, Google can pursue any strategy it chooses to.

iTunes - “King of the non-subscription world” – Outside of subscriptions, the electronic sell-through (EST) and rental market has remained relatively small (my estimates here), but iTunes is clearly the king. iTunes benefits from its integration and branding with hundreds of millions of Apple devices, and so for the foreseeable future its dominance should remain unchallenged, with Microsoft Zune Video Marketplace and VUDU well behind it. With rumors of an Apple television circulating, it remains an open question whether Apple will at last pursue a subscription model to support this new device.

Walmart/VUDU - “Best access to HD movies and TV shows” – Under Walmart’s ownership, VUDU has stayed consistent, emphasizing 1080p HD movies concurrent with their DVD release and more recently TV shows, through a growing array of connected devices. Just like iTunes, VUDU is exclusively rent or own, with no subscriptions available. VUDU has begun to get leverage from Walmart through promotions like $.99 specials, which broadens its user base. With the subscription field so crowded, it’s hard to see VUDU going beyond its roots; rather it will benefit as DVDs diminish.

Blockbuster - “DVDs and streaming for DISH subscribers” – DISH cautiously introduced its new Blockbuster Movie Pass service, emphasizing DVD availability and some streaming, but making it available solely for DISH subscribers. No doubt it will be untethered soon enough, colliding with Netflix and Amazon, but only if DISH is willing to spend aggressively to gain more content.

Beyond these OTT distributors, it’s also worth noting what’s happening in the traditional pay-TV ecosystem. The premium networks, HBO, Showtime and Starz all seem committed to their pay-TV partners, not allowing their content to leak out onto OTT streaming services (though DVD is OK). HBO has taken the lead with its HBO GO app, which Showtime and Starz are expected to mimic shortly. EPIX, with limited pay-TV distribution has been the only premium network to make an OTT deal, with Netflix. Movie output deals are still important in the premium category, but original series increasingly define their brands.

Last but not least, pay-TV operators themselves continue to roll out VOD services and more recently TV Everywhere. Lacking a robust ad insertion capability, VOD viewing remains strongest for content from premium networks. TV Everywhere continues to be deployed, but faces 5 big challenges as I recently wrote. More broadly, the question remains whether pay-TV services might eventually spend more aggressively and/or demand under their retransmission consent agreements exclusive streaming rights to both broadcast and cable programming, putting the squeeze on all the OTT distributors.

Although the landscape remains very fluid, when you cut through the noise, each OTT distributor appears to be settling on its own content direction.

article by Will Richmond videonuze.com

Apple presses towards 3D handhelds

Apple has been awarded a patent for a 3D stereoscopic display system fuelling rumour that it is considering adding 3D screen/projection technology to its products, including the iPhone, iPad or Mac computers. Alternatively, the company could be about to enter the 3DTV business – an intriguing prospect. The patent was first applied for back in 2006, but has just been granted, and it is a step in the right direction for Apple to bring about its own form of autostereoscopic (glasses-less) 3D display technology:

Source: HDGURU 3D

When is a fast forward not really a fast forward when advertising on the web?

>>> Beet.tv reports: >>>

In clever piece of technology, the Los Angeles-based software firm Panache created an ad solution which allows visitors to fast forward, sort of.

Although the ad goes much faster, the images and super fast sound track provide the commercial message which is featured in the segment.

Beet.tv spoke with Panache CEO Steve Robinson about the new format and how it actively engages viewers.

Panache is creating a number of innovative online video ad solutions for publishers including most of the big broadcasters — CBS, MSNBC and Fox. The company has been working closely with MTV for nearly two years.

The company has just announced that all its ad formats now work with HTML5.

If you are old enough to remember the Viewmaster

Hasbro Inc. is betting that iPod and iPhone users want 3-D viewing on the go.

The nation’s second-largest toy maker is set to unveil to investors on Tuesday a handheld device called My3D that attaches to the two Apple Inc. devices. It promises three-dimensional content that offers a 360-degree experience in gaming, virtual travel experiences and entertainment content. It’s aimed at both children and adults.

The device, which resembles a pair of binoculars with a slot in which users insert their iPod or iPhone, will be priced at $30. It will be available starting next spring at stores where Apple’s iPhones and iPod Touches are available.

Shoppers can then visit Apple’s App store, which will allow shoppers to browse for additional My 3D content. Content varies in price; some apps will be free.

Hasbro said it was guided by Apple during development and believes there’s nothing available that matches the quality and 3-D experience on the iPhone or iPod Touch.

If it catches on, it has big potential. More than 125 million iPod Touches and iPhones have shipped, according to Shaw Wu, senior research analyst at Kaufman Bros. L.P. He predicts that will hit 200 million by end of 2011.

“The issue with this is whether they are going to get enough content for it,” Wu said.

Hasbro is confident it will and says it has teamed up with Dreamworks Animation, whose movie “Megamind” hit theaters last weekend, to develop material.

Separately, Hasbro’s My3D will use content from a 3-D television network from Discovery, Sony and Imax scheduled to make its debut next year. Viewers will be able to see trailers and exclusive behind-the-scenes snippets from films for up to 20 minutes. Hasbro says the device will be a key way to market its own brands in a 3-D experience, though details haven’t been set.

Meanwhile, Hasbro worked with LA Inc., the Los Angeles Convention and Vistors Bureau, to create virtual travel experiences that include visits to the Wax Museum and the Santa Monica Pier.

Through other apps, users can feel like they’re immersed in deep water, exploring coral reefs or playing a shark attacking a tuna, while all along learning facts about sea life. There are also shooter games in a virtual galaxy.

“The idea of being able to be somewhere in Los Angeles, in this 360-degree environment, to be in the shark tank, to be able to swim with the fish and chase after the fish. These are really breakthrough immersive experiences,” said Brian Goldner, president and CEO of Hasbro.

Source: yahoo.com

Holographic Video moves closer to reality

Scientists say they have taken a big step toward displaying live video in three dimensions — a technology far beyond 3-D movies and more like the “Star Wars” scene in which a ghostly Princess Leia image pleads, “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

In that classic movie, the audience sees her back before a new camera perspective shows her face. Such a wraparound view of a moving image was just movie-trick fantasy in the 1977 film, but now?

“It is actually very, very close to reality. We have demonstrated the concept that it works. It’s no longer something that is science fiction,” said Nasser Peyghambarian of the University of Arizona.

Actually, the results he and colleagues report in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature look more like a slide show than a video. In experiments, the technology displayed a new image only every two seconds. That’s only about one-sixtieth as fast as the system would need to produce true video.

The image also gave only a 45-degree range of viewing angles because the original was shot with 16 cameras in an arc.

But Peyghambarian figures that with more development — and more cameras — his team can produce a true 3-D video screen that might reach living rooms in perhaps a decade. And you wouldn’t need those funny glasses to enjoy it.

Apart from the possibilities for entertainment, it might allow doctors in multiple places around the world to collaborate on live surgery, he said. If the screen were placed flat on a table, they could get a 360-degree view by walking around, just as if the patient were lying there.

While the 3-D image would not actually be projected into the air, that’s how it would appear to a person looking into the screen.

Other possibilities, Peyghambarian said, including eye-catching ads at shopping malls and a technique to enable designers of cars or airplanes to make changes more quickly. Live 3-D video could also help the military train troops, he said.

We see objects by perceiving the light that bounces off them. Peyghambarian’s technology uses holograms, two-dimensional images that reconstruct the light that would have bounced off a physical object, making it look 3-D.

In contrast, technology used for 3-D movies like “Avatar” or the election-night “hologram” of a CNN reporter in 2008 produces images that don’t show different views from different angles, as a genuine hologram or a real object does, Peyghambarian said.

Many people have seen holograms of still images. The Arizona group is one of maybe half a dozen around the world that are trying to move that technology into 3-D video, said V. Michael Bove Jr. of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab.

Bove said several groups, including his own, have in fact produced such videos, achieving the magic rate of 30 frames a second. But those displays are only about the size of a postcard or smaller, he said, and one big challenge is how to make the display bigger.

The Arizona group uses a plastic plate that stores and displays an image until another image is written electronically on it. That approach might someday allow for much bigger images, said Bove, who is collaborating with the Arizona researchers but did not participate in the new study.

Peyghambarian said he now gets an image every two seconds on a 4-by-4-inch device. His team also has a 1-foot-square plate, but that takes longer to replace images.

He would like to scale up to plates about 6 or 8 feet square to show people at full size, so they could appear at meetings without having to actually show up.

His work was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the military.

Bove compared the state of holographic video research to that of developing television about 80 years ago. Different groups are taking different approaches, and it is not clear which technology will prove best, he said.

In any case, he said, the Arizona system “produces bright, sharp holographic images…. This thing is beautiful.”

Source: Detroit Free Press

3D Television Net plans ambitious slate

The 3D joint venture between Sony, Imax and Discovery unveiled a large and exclusive slate of first run series of original programming and acquisitions. Tom Cosgrove, President and CEO made the announcement of native 3D programs that willl air 24/7 when the channel launches in 2011.

The channel will feature one of the most extensive libraries of 3D content in genres that are most appealing in 3D, including natural history, adventure, theatrical releases and IMAX movies.

The series and films announced today are (in alphabetical order):

Original Series

Abandoned Planet

Explore the strangest places on earth — entire cities now completely devoid of all humanity.  This series of one-hour programs sheds light on why people have abandoned the places they once called home and what happens after they leave.  Produced by Flight 33 Productions.

Africa in 3D

From Gannet Island and its 100,000 seabirds of the same name sharing one giant rock, the 60,000 flamingos at Kamfers Dam, the Luangwa River and its 30,000 hippos and much more, this series of one-hour programs captures the richness and diversity of the world’s second-largest continent.  Produced by Aquavision Television Productions.

China

China’s beauty is little seen, often hidden and always surprising.  This hour-long series studies the thronging cities, epic vistas and spiritual heartlands of this huge and mysterious nation in stunning 3D.  Produced by Natural History New Zealand Ltd. (NHNZ).

Jewels of the World

This hour-long series gives viewers unprecedented access to UNESCO’s ‘World Heritage’ sites, where the planet’s natural and cultural gems are catalogued and protected, including:  the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu, Peru; the Temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia; and the Grand Canyon National Park in the United States, among others.  Produced by Natural History New Zealand Ltd. (NHNZ).

Exclusive U.S. Premieres

Attack of the Giant Jellyfish (Discovery)

This hour-long program explores the myths and realities behind the global explosion of deadly jellyfish, including the giant Nomura, whose strength and size makes them capable of capsizing boats and wreaking havoc on the high seas.  Produced by Story House Productions.

The Haunted (Discovery)

Using infrared cameras and sensitive recording devices, a paranormal team investigates true, chilling and terrifying stories of animals and their owners who are experiencing the unexplainable.  This one-hour program is produced by Picture Shack Entertainment.

Into the Deep 3D (IMAX)

This IMAX special takes audiences on a spectacular three-dimensional exploration of the undersea world. Using the IMAX 3D camera in its underwater housing for the first time, this film captures unique marine life and magnificent underwater vistas.

Magnificent Desolation:  Walking on the Moon 3D (IMAX)

Through the magic of IMAX 3D, narrator Tom Hanks takes viewers to the lunar surface to walk alongside the 12 extraordinary astronauts who have been there to experience what they saw, heard, felt, thought and did.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Sony)

Inspired by the beloved children’s book of the same name, this animated 3D feature follows inventor Flint Lockwood and a brainy weathergirl as they attempt to discover why the rain in their small town has stopped, and food is falling in its place.

Monster House (Sony)

A suburban home has become physically animated by a vengeful human soul looking to stir up trouble from beyond the grave, and it’s up to three adventurous kids from the neighborhood to do battle with the structural golem in this comically frightful tale.

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About 3D & Digital Cinema

If you are a tech head, cinema-phile, movie geek or digital imaging consultant, then we'd like to hear from you. Join us in our quest to explore all things digital and beyond. Of particular interest is how a product or new technology can be deployed and impacts storytelling. It may be something that effects how we download and enjoy filmed entertainment. It may pertain to how primary and secondary color grading will enhance a certain tale. The most important thing is that you are in the driver's seat as far as what you watch and how you choose to consume it.