Brace yourselves. This is the future.

So this is how far it’s come. Interactive TV (also called iTV) is finally a reality. Watch this clip and see what the future holds for us at home.

 

The technology is of course still in its infant shoes, but this is how it works: The programmers of this special TV have placed millions of little dots as reference points in this excerpt of a popular German daily soapie. Therefore, the TV recognises objects as ‘newspaper’ and ‘human’, etc. It can therefore incorporate objects into the visual sequence or take them away. It has basic knowledge like “Water in a cup is meant to be drunk. A straw performs this function. Therefore a straw inserted in the screen can make the water disappear from the cup.” This is not shown in the clip, but it was shown in a full-length report on German TV. This new type of TV is more like a computer. It has a sensor pad on all sides. When you tip the TV, you renegotiate all the little points so the whole scene shifts and objects can fall over. 

Currently, this technology is not on offer to the public. When it does get released, only limited programmes will participate in the trail run and the interactivity will not occur in real time. So does this make it iTV at all? Interactive TV is characterised by immediacy. One of its features is that it acts as a type of electronic democracy. Viewers communicate with the programmers by giving their opinion or vote (by telephone call).

So what do we have on our hands here? A technology that will blow current iTV definitions out of the water? Or will it create a new theoretical wave? We could call it “New Television”. Either way, with these basics of a new kind of iTV already discovered, who knows what other clever things our scientists will come up with?

OK, so you must be feeling really pretty stupid right now. The man showing off this “brand new technology” is in fact a magician, Simon Pierro. Yes, that’s right. He’s pulling your leg. And so am I. Except the part where the future of iTV is a lot more complicated than current definitions make it out to be.

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~ by Ines Schumacher on 22 July 2008.

One Response to “Brace yourselves. This is the future.”

  1. This would have been great as an April Fool’s post but the realities of digital and interactive TV in SA are far more serious. The likelihood of IPTV through Telkom’s vaunted Telkom Media offering appears stillborn due to budget cuts by its parent company.
    And what are the current realities for the emergence of real interactive (digital terrestrial or satellite broadcast) television based on South Africa’s present digital migration trajectories?

    Government has just outlaid over 2,45 billion to subsidise provision of set top boxes that will allow SA’s TELEVISION OWNING poor to access TV signals after 2015. But what are the issues and problems with its strategy. Look forward to that discussion.

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