How 5 trends will shape future entertainment
From CRTs to LCDs to LEDS and now the Ultra High Definition, televisions have evolved dramatically over last couple of decades. At the same time handheld devices are becoming larger and more powerful. Entertainment is now available everywhere — in your living room, car, waiting lounges and in flights. So what are the next big things we can expect in coming years that would enhance the experience further? Let’s look at 5 trends that will shape the future of entertainment.
1. Screens everywhere
Do you remember there was a time around 8–10 years back when it was said that your TV is getting smarter and very soon you would be able to order pizza through your TV screen? Well, televisions have definitely got smarter, but more importantly they have become sharper. The focus has shifted to providing better picture quality than making TV do other things and allow iPads and phones take care of those. The latest in this trend is playing with the material itself to make screens thinner, lighter and flexible. We are getting into an age where TVs will soon be thin sheets of transparent material that can bend, fold, and stick to any surface.
We will be using these flexible screens just as a Canvas. It’s only the material and form of the canvas that matters, not the smartness of canvas. Soon you will have thin screens that can be stuck to the refrigerator doors, back of car seats, table tops. Over a period of time these canvases will get cheaper and will be available almost anywhere. And the controls for these screens will be on your phones or iPads. You can already see investments being made by many manufacturers in developing curved TVs, foldable LED screens etc.
2. Studios needs to adapt
We have already moved towards purchasing content from phones and iPads and streaming them live from cloud storages. With the advent of high speed connectivity everywhere and large canvases to watch content, we would be purchasing content on iPads and swiping them to the canvases that are near you. We already have apps to swipe media from iPads to TV screens, but going forward this would be with more advanced proximity sensors. The iPads and phones will continue to evolve into more powerful remote controls for all the canvases around. And as canvases start coming in different shapes and sizes, studios will have to create content accordingly. They cannot live in a world where one size fits all.
3. Enhanced audio quality based on canvases
When we talked about canvases of various shapes and sizes, the obvious problem to be solved would be the sound quality. With a fixed, rectangular TV in a living room it’s easier to set up multiple speakers at appropriate position and give excellent surround sound effects. But once the canvases are of different sizes and placed at varying distances from the viewers, perception of audio in reference to the size of visuals can go out of sync. So going forward, the audio output devices will need to factor in the shape, size and distance from the canvas while transmitting multiple sound channels. And most of it will have to happen at real time. Again, using proximity sensors headphones or speakers will have to coordinate with the canvases and produce appropriate output.
4. Sharing media with friends
When the problem of purchasing media once and watching it anywhere is solved, the next logical extension would be sharing the purchased media with friends. Sharing copyrighted media with friends has been a holy grail for media distribution channels for a while now. The biggest challenge until now had been to keep track of the movement of content. But with always-online devices, most of the content will remain on the cloud and will be downloaded only when being watched. In such scenarios it would get easier to keep track of media and hence the sharing would also become easier. Again, similar to swiping content to nearby canvases you would be able to swipe content to your friend’s iPad. This would also introduce new concepts for renting, sharing, bartering content.
5. Not just movies on the canvases
Why would the flexible and large canvases be restricted to playing videos? Eventually they would get used to display any type of content. Hospital reports, advertisements, announcements and even interactive content. By adding touch-based interactivity to the canvases, they will become useful in all day to day transactions. Not very far from the scenes in Minority Report where Tom Cruise is swiping files on to a glass canvas and using gestures to interact with those. Welcome to the future!