3D TV, 4D TV, Holographic TV: The Future is VR TV

If 3D television consists of 3-dimensions, x,y,z axis, the fourth dimension is manipulating the camera within the world being experienced. Imagine exploring the Alps, or tagging along with a live telecast of Everest hikers seeing views that until now, are only seen by a very small fraction of human beings, ever. But, with 4D technology, you’ll not only be able to experience the view in 3D, but you’ll be able to look around, wherever you want and even speak with the actual hikers hiking the massive trail, if they have the energy to speak that is.

3D television technology has received a lot of criticism over the past few years for a number of reasons [LINK], and rightly so. Manufacturers like Vizeo and LG are attempting to push ‘passive 3D’ or ‘cinema 3d’ as it’s marketed. Passive 3D is generally more pleasant to experience as it’s more like how our brains compute images in the real world. Passive 3D uses polarized lenses to send each eye a completely different image, opposed to what you normally have seen in Best Buy with flicker heavy “Active 3D” where glasses help interpret an image to each eye at 1/120th of a second, each eye receiving the entire image of your television, switching between your eyes faster than most can distinguish, but all told, it’s arguably a unhealthy way [link] to experience the phenomena.

4D television technology is coming, and it doesn’t require a television at all. It requires a headsets that can track 12 degrees of movement – by tilting your head up or down, turning your head left or right, tilting your head left or right, moving your head physical forward or backwards, side to side, up or down, you’ll be able to manipulate the experience however and as often as you like. With the recent release of the latest Nintendo console, Wii-U, content creators are exploring 360 panarama entertainment to exhibit with this early technology. Currently on the market, the Wii-U allows users to hold a small device up, and, as if looking through a window, you’ll be able to see experience the action as if holding a camera at the actual event. At the end of this year, a technology called the Oculus Rift, developed by wunderkind, Palmer Luckey. Oculus Rift will be the first widely available virtual reality device at a price point acceptable to early adopters.

Oculus Rift will be the Atari of where this technology will go. Unfortunately, as new technology goes, much like the original iPhone, you’ll wonder how anyone enjoyed using the original device, as it were. However, once this technology and other manfactuers create competition for the VR market, you’ll the usual technological advancements like quicker response time, higher resolution monitors, augmented reality, 7.1 audio, completely wireless, built-in computer, built-in WiFi/cellular, built-in motion control device for hand gestures, etc. In 5 years time, I predict that at least one VR device will be in 50% of households around the world. This is why I think that:

Imagine wearing a device that allows you see into the world around you, but you’ll be looking at a screen. You can still interact with all the physical accessories in your life, such as a keyboard, mouse, refrigerator… toilet paper, and with that, you can include a HUD (heads-up display) of whatever you want. That computer monitor, that 55″ TV screen, that smartphone, that’s all there, but not physically there, only virtually there, or better yet, you’re entire entertainment center isn’t even real. It’s just a virtual representation that can only be seen through your VR device. No more phones, no more computers, no more big screen TV’s. You don’t need them anymore when any screen you want, any size you want, can be virtually created by augmented reality while wearing your headset. Better yet, AR with VR allows you to harness technology that would be impossible in the real world, such things like holographic light and thermostat controls, picture frames and potted plots with flowers that can be changed on a whim or set to randomly change every 30 minutes, create light without any lighting in your entire house, represented virtually. That view out of your windows, replace it with a picturesque view of the beach. It’s all there for you, however, and whenever you want.

The future is going to remove physical technology from the physical world. Obviously, you’ll still need tech that requires physical interaction with physical goods, like dishwasher, refrigerator washer/dryer, etc. But the last physical computational device that needs to be created is the VR headset. And the last physical place that you’ll needto be, is in your house or apartment, because your kids can attend school virtually, you can clock into work at a virtual office, you can fly or drive drone vehicles, you can visit family and friends at a moments notice.

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Were we better off with LAN Parties?

The first Command and Conquer and Red Alert LAN party. The first console game (Goldeneye) we used carboard and blankets to sub-divide the screen to create a LAN like scenario, so other couldn't narily be called a "screen-watcher," even though you'd always staunchly deny that you did. Or the first Halo Party where unknown high-school randoms became best friends for life, many of which are the closest long lost friends we have. This is what is missing in my life. Were we better off with LAN parties?

I've realized that what draws me to Giantbomb, and to youtubers like Simon and Lewis Yogscast, or TotalBiscuit and Dodger on The Game Station, or countless others, is that it represents something that's been missing in my life for quite some time. The ability to come together and enjoy video games, which is something that surely becomes increasingly difficult as we grow older, and even more difficult since multiplayer became viable over the internet. But, there's one thing that I don't have after hours of gaming with friends over the internet... memories.

When I would play with friends via LAN, we would create countless memories. Many of these memories, if you're like our crew, we still recount to this day, a decade later. Yes, a decade later. Actually more like 15 years later, or longer if we're going back to Win95 days. But when gaming online with my brother, or best friends of yore, when I turn off my console to go to bed, or wind down, I feel as though I don't know them. It's superficial.

Gaming online also isn't nearly as fun. I recall yelling between rooms. Room bombing in underwear. Reminsciing over beers. Talking trash between games. Building intense rivalries. When playing online, I've realized that the only nemisis I have... is myself. Yes, I'm fighting random strangers in whatever random multiplayer game that I play, but I realize that much of my frustration comes from my expectations to become better than my performance the previous night, or even the previous game. Expectations of myself, unmet, creating frustration, my greatest nemesis. Whereas my greatest nemesis before was growing rivalries with actual people, that would soon become the very people that a decade later I would pay special visit, hours out of my way in some cases, to visit and converse over lunch or dinner.

So, that all being said... when I realize why I'm "anti-social" by today's standards... I've realized that I'm the same as I was a decade ago. The only difference though, a decade ago I played the games I still enjoy today, with real people, real friends, living real life together, sharing real stories, face to face and eye to eye, sharing laughter. Were we better off with LAN parties I ask? Yes. Yes I do believe we were.


Halo 4 Campaign - A Call For Something Great

We've all been playing video games for sometime. watching movies, and reading books. As a culture, we've experienced the best of what our humanity has had to offer, both visually and audibly, through all the ways we as humans can express ourselves. Through all the ways we're physically able to express ourselves. Video games are the newest way we do this, and probably the last created form of expression humans will ever create. And, while I understand that Halo is just a video game, with a complex plot, with countless books, game iterations, and even the blundering stumbles into feature film stories, Halo 4 is a great disappointment beyond merely capturing the gameplay and controls of the Halo games, which it did well. It's a shame, and it's of my opinion, that no one else may hold or care to read, but I had to vent why I wish for something more... and a call for something great.

After playing the game, through laughable story points, acting blunders (both voice and animation), it's a real shame that Halo 4 is a mere shell of the greatness of what Bungie had created. I could go through point after point about what could change or why it should change, but my opinion about it isn't important. The graphics are great. The lighting is great. But... the story is empty. Breaking rules pre-constructed by previous games, and using Master Chief as our main character only to be bastardized as a tool to move the Halo story forward. Using tools like a Sentry which is birthed from God knows where, only to destroy enemies faster than Master Chief himself. Many, many head scratching opportunities, and an ending that is just pure absurdity, silver lined by the excellent post-credit CG short which over-shadowed the entire game (barring the intro CG).

I don't even care about Halo anymore, only having bought it to play multiplayer with friends, but secretly hoping that the campaign would remind me why I love the Halo universe, and why Master Chief has become such an icon. But, it only stood to further isolate me from the brilliance of Halo:CE, the Fall of Reach, and few subsequent iterations. But, it's an action game after all, and many don't care that it's anything but that. For some reason though... and I don't really know why... I have a feeling of attachment that isn't reciprocated by the collective artistry behind Halo 4.

Thanks for letting me vent, GB.