With improvements to TV screens come new possibilities to totally rethink the relationship viewers have with video content and information, says UK firm NDS, which has been demonstrating its Surfaces project at the IBC trade show currently taking place in Amsterdam.
The behind-closed-doors demo sees a bank of TV screens built into two walls of a small living room-sized space, capable of displaying live TV, widgets and IP-delivered information, websites, social media feeds and more, whether from the broadcast or broadband networks, or what NDS calls “demotic” content from within the home – all controllable via personal devices.
NDS envisages users changing the size of content depending on their needs from it: for example, a football match or film might be watched on the full screen real estate, whilst in other scenarios it will be preferable to have a small TV news feed in one corner and the rest of the screen filled with other information and feeds, or left empty (it can “disappear” by displaying the surrounding wall’s pattern or colour).
This is all intended to create “ambient” experiences that help redefine a person’s relationship with content – they can choose to immerse themselves, or place it in a useful spot, move it from wall to wall, and interact with it – the demo included a cooking programme which had interactivity options for viewers’ companion devices, with NDS observing that this can create collective or individual interactions among family members with content.
Underlining that they intentionally omitted some features, such as gesture control and “self aware” capabilities via a camera/Kinect-style system, this was a polished vision of the future that won’t be for everyone, but has promise for many, especially as screen technology advances to the point where borderless OLED displays can be stacked on top of each other.