Remember Microsoft‘s “IllumiRoom” project, rumoured to be part of the Xbox 720 integration? The system involved a set of projectors to add wide-angle content outside of your TV, displayed on the walls around it. The purpose? A more immersive experience for the gamer/viewer.
Well, the BBC have been working on a similar concept that initially started with Phillips Ambilight TVs (the ones that projected colours from the back and sides of the TV matching those on-screen), and has snowballed from there. The immersive TV project has been in the pipeline since 2006, and if the latest demo is anything to go by, it’s not that far off.
While Microsoft’s IllumiRoom uses the Xbox’s Kinect camera and a projector, the BBC’s concept uses clever reverse projection technology that eliminates the need for the camera. It essentially uses a standard camera view and a wide camera view projected with a “fish eye” lens to create the effect.
It all sounds pretty spiffy, and if it means that there isn’t another extra cost to the end user then it’s much more likely to succeed.
Take a look at the BBC’s tech demo below and see what you think.
With a decent surround-sound system and a lot of white wallspace, this could be quite entertaining. I imagine cinemas may be tempted by it too should it work well.
Still… I can’t help but wonder if it’s wholly unecessary. I never really bothered with the Ambilight technology as it just seemed like a gimmick that would wear off very quickly – however I imagine my cat would go completely schizo with this new idea… especially watching nature shows.
What do you think? Is it a wasted application of good technology, or would you be interested in having this set up for your own home cinema system?