Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Today's Science Fiction Is Tomorrow's Big TV

This may be a little off topic for this blog ( it's my way of welcoming readers from the Fantasy & Sci-Fi Lovin' Blog ), but I was wondering what new innovation introduced in this year's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas would make this year's show most memorable. According to some commentaries, it won't be Bill Gate's keynote address.

Well, Sharp Electronics's introduction of the largest LCD TV will probably rank high on the list of items that captured our imaginations this year. No price has been mentioned for Sharp Electronics' new 108" LCD TV. That's nine feet, for those who don't wish to do the math!

The trend toward larger and larger screens reminded me of the movie version of Ray Bradbury's Sci-Fi Fantasy classic: The Illustrated Man. One of the stories ( warning, plot spoiler - don't read the following if you don't want to know the plot ) called "Veldt" has this plot (thanks to Wikipedia) from Ray's original book version:

"The Veldt" — Two parents use an artificial "nursery" to keep their children happy. The children use the high-tech simulation nursery to create the predatorial environment of an African veldt. When the parents threaten to take it away, the children lock their parents inside where they are killed by the "harmless" machine-generated lions of the nursery.

In the movie version of the book, the plot is slightly changed, at least in my failing memory ( I will have to rent the DVD to verify this ). The "Veldt" started out as a wall sized 2 dimensional TV screen, which picks up your mind's images and projects them. The kids are told by their parents that they are spending too much time in the TV room and in this antiseptic future world, there is no outlet for the children's energies. They keep sneaking back to the TV room without their parent's permission and their combined energies causes the TV screen to become a 3-D portal to an African savanna complete with a family of lions, apparently projecting the children's pent up agressions and resentment towards the parents. The children escape but the parents aren't so lucky.

Now, I know all you Sci-Fi buffs will be asking what cool aid I was drinking back then, but that's the way I remember the movie. You know, I probably dreamed some plot modifications and that changed my memory of the original film.

In any case it's fun to ponder a wall size TV that picks up your thoughts? Look for its introduction at ICES 2047.

Addendum: William Shatner's new TV commercial for DIRECT TV HD (HD TV also inroduced at CES)


SQT said...

The giant TV also makes me think of movies like "Total Recall" and "Lost in Space." Lost in Space didn't have the giant screen (that I recall) but I do remember if you were talking to someone far away, you could talk to a holographic image of that person.

And Total Recall had the giant screen that would take up a whole wall. I think it also showed scenic images if you weren't watching a TV program. Shadows of things to come I am sure.

Michael Leonard Fisher said...

Thanks, SQT. I remember those two. Another big screen I recall was in the 1960's SCi-Fi movie This Island Earth" where the scientist-protagonist has to assemble an alien elctronic device called an "interroceter" that is both a two-way communication TV and a laser weapon / tool. Amazing prescience for the 60's!

Michael Leonard Fisher said...

Even more amazingly, I correct myself: "This Island Earth" was a 5o's movie, undoubtably inspired by the invention of the transistor.

Anonymous said...

The futuristic wallscreens of "Fahrenheit 451" (the movie) remind me so much of modern society--we now have these wallscreens along with an increasingly amoral populace that seems to spend most of its lifespan watching TV or living virtually on the Internet. Even the hunting of Montag in "451" was an eerie foreshadowing of the 1990s O.J. car chase seen around the world. Actually, today's science fiction is tomorrow's dystopia--and we're livin' it.

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