Screens Multiply With Larger and Smaller Sizes

Movies rarely predict the future with any accuracy. But one of the few things that they do seem to predict correctly are screens. Think about James Bond controlling his car from a smartphone app, the Terminator using his Google Glass-like heads-up display, Tom Cruise shuffling content on a touchscreen surface in Minority Report, or the astronauts talking to HAL’s screen in 2001: A Space Odyssey. All of these things have become reality. And while we can’t predict what will come in the next 20 years, we do know that screens will continue to grow in number, size, and application.

The average U.S. household in 2013 contains three television screens and two computers. And a recent survey from The NPD Group, Inc. shows that the average U.S. internet-connected home contains almost six additional internet-connected devices with access to apps. But there’s always room for more, and here are some of the more interesting screens to watch in 2013.

A Real Home Theater

With movie ticket prices rising, more consumers are watching movies at home. PRIMA Cinema, Inc. has responded to this trend by offering the experience of watching first-run movies the same day they come out in the theater. The cost for the hardware and setup is $35,000, and movies are $500 apiece. A swipe of the thumb on the front of a black box is required to complete each transaction. But those who are willing to put in a $1 million home theater can probably manage this budget quite well. With 1080p/24 quality, 2D and 3D capability, and storage for up to 50 movies, you can rest easy knowing you are getting a true movie theater viewing. I’m sure you could even add sticky floors for an additional fee.

Eye See You

The recent beta launch for Google Glass has caused quite an uproar. Tech evangelists such as Robert Scoble are heralding this as more important than the original iPhone launch, while privacy advocates are worried about the implications of a wearable camera. Whatever the outcome may be, this is the first potentially mass-marketed wearable HUD (heads up display). You can’t get your hands on one yet, but you can find out more about it at google.com/glass. The most interesting thing about this screen is the idea of having constant data in front of your eyeball all the time. Current functions include taking pictures, shooting video, and streaming live video through Google Hangout. While you can’t watch videos right now, there is a Google Glass app called Fullscreen BEAM that will upload your videos right to YouTube. Video viewing will probably be available by the time this article hits the stands. If this is the future then there may come a time when the number of screens in a home will start dropping. No need for additional screens if you have one in front of your eyes all the time.

Huge Screens Ahead!

While screens continue to get smaller and wearable technology takes off, there is still a push for larger screens around the world. More and more event venues and sports facilities are creating multiple screen experiences for attendees. At the basic do-it-yourself level, you have digital graffiti artists doing projector bombing performances. A laptop and projector can turn any nighttime building into a massive canvas for video, animation, or real-time performance art. On the other end of the spectrum you have Charlotte Motor Speedway operating the world’s largest screen for hundreds of thousands of NASCAR fans. At more than eight stories high, this beast from Panasonic provides a home theater experience for racing fans.

Movies may not always correctly predict the future. But the recent crop of real-world tools that have launched are definitely movie-worthy. If these amazing screens are any sign of what will come, then I can’t wait for the next 10 years. It will be awesome to decide whether I watch the brand new James Bond film on my glasses or on my own personal video wall.

This article appears in the June/July 2013 issue of Streaming Media magazine as "Screens Everywhere!"

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