Top 10 future home theater technologies and advancements

May 13, 2005

leia hologramHome theater has changed so much in the last 15 years; it’s easy to forget how far it’s come. If like me you remember Saturday morning cartoons that didn’t revolve around movie characters, then you can remember when getting an entire album on a 5” shiny disc was laughable, much less an entire movie. Beginning sometime next year we’ll have entire high definition movies on 5” discs with lossless audio to boot.

Speculating about what’s coming down the technological turnpike is not only fun, it just might spark another great idea in some yet unknown mad genius. Some of the advancements and technologies I’ve listed here are right around the corner and some may never see the light of day. I’ve listed them in semi chronological (and far fetched) order, but as with anything yet to be released, who really knows when or if we’ll see the more extreme products in our homes.

So in pure Letterman style, here are my top 10 future home theater technologies and advancements:

(10) Laser Video Projectors:
No I haven’t had too much Captain Crunch this morning, laser projectors are a reality, I think … But more importantly they might be the way some of us watch video in the next decade, or two…

(9) HDTV everywhere:
Yes HDTV has been around for over 20 years, but its saturation has (so far) only reached a select few display methods. Look for everything from small personal video players to legacy type video displays to be hi-def, say by 2015 or so. Yes standard definition NTSC is just that engrained in our society.

(8) Enhanced Interactive Television:
Much like the “Would you like to know more?” bit from Starship Troopers. Enhanced interactive television would offer much more than the passive experience of today, morphing mere television into a truly interactive experience. This has been speculated on for years, but the main barrier has been bandwidth. The IT community will have to offer some real vision and guidance to bring this to fruition.

(7) Holographic Front Projection:
“Where are you Obi wan Kenobi? You’re our only hope.” Ring a bell? The holographic images emitted by R2-D2 in the original Star Wars were basically smoke and mirrors, but holographic projections of the future would more likely resemble the fleshed out 3D images in Minority Report. One day television will leave the boundaries of the screen, and walk into our living rooms. Come to think of it, we’ll need good content filters, or this could become an ugly experience.

(6) Carbon Nanotube Displays:
Carbon Nanotube based displays are considered by many experts to be the next dominate display technology. With perks likes bigger, brighter, and sharper images than plasma and LCD on its side, I’d tend to agree. Oh, did I mention cheaper to boot?

(5) XBOX 360:
Without a doubt, the XBOX 360 will be many a living rooms first introduction to an IP enabled device, say goodbye to the “dumb appliance” days. Sure the PS3 will offer much of the same technology, but Microsoft has had an eye on your entertainment center for years; expect them to plop down on the couch with many of you in 2006.

(4) SED Displays:
SED (Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display) is yet another display technology developed by Toshiba & Canon, that promises significantly slimmer screens than legacy CRT televisions, while still offering the same high light output characteristics as a CRT.

(3) IP Everything:
The internet has been around for decades, so has consumer electronics, but until very recently the two haven’t spoken to one another. When these IP enabled devices really take hold, your remote will tell you what’s on without even having to turn on the television. Or for that matter flip open your cell phone and record a show away from home, via your phones program guide. Sure some of us are able to do just that today, but without the ease of full integration and standardization, this type of convenience is still out of reach for the average consumer.

(2) DTS-HD and Dolby Digital Plus:
In a nutshell DTS-HD and Dolby Digital Plus are the high definition audio to go with your hi-def video.

(1) HD-DVD and or Blu-ray high definition DVD’s:
It might seem odd to cite a technology that’s neither really “new” nor even far from realization as the number one new home theater technology, but high definition DVD will usher in a new golden age of home entertainment. High Definition by and large has been a broadcast only medium; once that changes and we can view full bit-rate HD DVD’s (either Blu-ray or HD-DVD)in our homes at our leisure, I expect many more home theater converts to join our ranks.

At the moment high definitions time-line could be likened to that of the TV in the early 80’s. Before the introduction of the VCR if you wanted to catch a movie or show you’d watch it when it aired or not at all. DVR’s aside, consumers don’t have the option of running down to the local video store and renting their favorite film in high definition. That time is coming, sooner rather than later I hope.

Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Home Theater