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NCTA 2014: Could 4D Be Coming to a Living Room Near You?

Exhibitors are aiming to bring 4K, HDR, immersion — and even 4D — to people's homes.

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A session that explored the potential of television innovation featured presentations of technologies in four areas: improved picture resolution, high dynamic range, immersion and motion, Tuesday at the National Cable & Telecommunications conference in Los Angeles.

On the latter, Mark Luden, president and CEO of The Guitammer Company, discussed what he calls “tactile and haptic broadcast technology”—or, technology to bring a sort of 4D motion experience to the home.

It demonstrated “ButtKicker,” which is effectively a device designed to shake a couch or chair in sync with TV content. The company aims to work with third-parties to develop additional products. (Another version of this technology is used in select 4D movie theaters).

Saying he wants to deliver “the experience of a live event,” Luden added that instead of watching a snowboarder, “you are the snowboarder. That's how we see the future of this technology.”

Execs from compression company Ateme showed a new system called LiveSphere, developed to create a 360-degree viewing experience for a live or recorded event. The content is created by "stitching" together different images of the same scene, and then the system allows the viewer to choose the field of view.

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Also during the session, speakers addressed two areas that are already getting plenty of attention in Hollywood. A representative from Deluxe discussed the potential of Ultra HD, or 4K, which is four times the resolution of HD; and a exec at Dolby addressed high dynamic range (HDR) imagery, which involves widening the range between the darkest and brightest images a display can reproduce.

Ultra HDTVs of course have already entered the market. Craig Heiting, vp, cable sales, Deluxe Digital Distribution, presented an overview of Deluxe On Demand, the company’s cloud-based service that is capable of supporting and delivering 4K resolution. Noting that Deluxe clients include the studios, he said, “we know [4K] content is coming.”

Dolby’s senior director of broadcast imaging Roland Vlaicu demonstrated Dolby Vision, the company’s recently launched format that supports high dynamic range and a wider color gamut.

This system extends to all stages from production through display. It’s not resolution-specific, meaning it could be used with HD or 4K imagery.

E-mail: Carolyn.Giardina@THR.com
Twitter: @CGinLA