Tuesday, February 13, 2007
While it may not occupy the same kind of urgency as medicine, the military, or the security industry; one market that provides a lot of motivation for developing better high definition technologies is made up of people who enjoy the high quality of high definition television recreationaly. One thing in particular that recreational high definition television enthusiasts enjoy about HDTV is its ability to display multiple highly detailed views all on the same screen. In fact, not that long ago ESPN experimented with providing eight different views of a football game all on one channel which meant that the eight views were all on one screen.
In this experiment, ESPN choose to arrange the separate views in a "mosaic" pattern with the screen divided into different sized windows onto the action with those windows arranged in a seemingly random pattern. The effect was an a variety of different things going on all at once on the screen which made it hard to follow any one of them. At the same time, the multiple views made it possible to see when the action started to take place on one part of the screen and focus on it, but one can't help wondering if having each view be given an equal part of the screen and arranged into a more geometric pattern would have made the game easier to watch. Regardless, the eight scene in one screen approach is interesting and novel in its own right.
Some high definition television enthusiasts are using picture in picture (PIP) technology to achieve this effect for themselves. They'll often watch two, or even four, separate television programs all at once.
There's actually a new technology on the horizon that will allow manufacturers to produce a screen that will have four times the resolution of a normal modern high definition television screen. Besides generating interest in the diagnostic medical field, security industry, and the military, this technology is expected to be of special interest to high definition television enthusiasts who want to be able to watch four high definition programs at once and at full resolution. Each one of these programs would take up a quarter of the screen and maintain the same 16:9 aspect ratio of the overall screen.
The fact that each of the four pictures would be a high definition picture in and of itself with all of the data requirements that that implies makes this type of screen very difficult to produce from an information processing standpoint. Although a prototype has been built, an efficient process to make the components still hasn't been figured out.
At least in part due to the difficulties with designing and manufacturing such a screen, the price of the unit is expected to exceed ten thousand dollars which will reserve it for the use of industry, medicine, and the truly dedicated television enthusiast. At least for the immediate future.