Advanced Interactive Media/The Future For Immersive Media

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Media that engulfs people with interactive experiences has invaded education, entertainment, business and just about every other aspect of life. Blockbuster video games lead the way in interactive development and some theaters are engaging viewers by stimulating all of their senses - This is all a reflection of the evolution of immersive media.

Sub woofers placed under chairs vibrate viewers in order to influence the way they react to sound. Experiments with the sense of smell are also becoming possible as an actor/baker performs within an expanded movie-environment that can now generate the aroma of warm apple pie to the viewers; thus pulling them further into the story through their sense of smell. These kinds of ideas are revolutionizing how people react to media as a new generation of producers begin to realize that nothing is preventing them from impacting all of the human senses.

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Here are a few great examples of interactive media that were showcased at the Siggraph conference in San Diego, CA.
[1] Music Table
[2] Minority Report Becomes Reality

A Paradigm Shift[edit]

The stage is being set for a whole new level of interactive media. Television shows are involving audiences, and it's not uncommon to let viewers decide who wins on a show. Telling audiences what they want is a thing of the past and precedents are being set for immersive media in the immediate future. The success of reality shows is based on the fact that audiences want to take part in the plot. On the web, Flash is gaining more and more popularity; it enables users to merge more into the media scene and have more interactivty.

Society is capturing new thought patterns, realizing that they are in control and can dictate what they want to consume. As a result, people are no longer willing to sit around and wait to be spoon fed. Instead they prefer to pick and chose when, where and how they want to experience information.

How is this mindset infiltrating society? Consider the options: There are many sources of entertainment and information; people have options that were not previously available. Back in the day, if the news started at 6:00 one had to watch it at 6:00 or miss it altogether. Now, the consumer can see what they want, when they want and have numerous alternatives as to how. Consider the choices available: Today, one can listen on the radio, watch on the internet, keep up to day via 3G cellphone media, or possibly wait until a rerun. A new way of thinking is circulating through society, and it is becoming noticeable. Reading has already been in the backseat, and now ordinary television is starting to be pushed to the side by a new era of interactivity.


New Media[edit]

An independent research company has discovered that 57% of all American teenagers create content for the internet. Paul Saffo, director at the Institute for the Future in California, says that people no longer "consume" media; they participate in it. Using personal creativity and allowing people to write their own newspaper will definitely revolutionize the participation in media. According to The Economist website, the days of media moguls and huge coorporate media giants have begun to come to an end. The days of individual person-to-person media are quickly approaching. It will be a revolution of interactivity across the world one person at a time.

Check out the full article at http://www.economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=6794156

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AxiomTV

There is a vibe going around in the media world that the Internet is soon going to take over the TV. Meaning, instead of watching programming from the viewer's satellite or cable, the viewer will download programming from Internet sources and play it on their TV. Making a head start into this new way of watching media is AxiomTV. AxiomTV is a Detroit based company that is taking family-friendly movies and DVD’s and making them available for people to download and play on their TV. The website is www.Axiom.tv and is currently in beta-testing. Not only does AxiomTV provide movies to watch, they are also selling channels to major networks where they can provide their own programming to AxiomTV and people can watch it all day long. For example, Will Rogers films playing all day long on a Will Rogers channel, or MTV streaming all day long off of AxiomTV. AxiomTV is created by Christians, so they are having a feature called Mother, which watches everything that is downloaded on the viewer’s computer and protects children from seeing inappropriate content. AxiomTV wants to be a family-safe website and Mother is making that possible. AxiomTV is a great new technology that allows a person, sitting at their home computer, access to just about anything they want to see whenever and wherever they want to see it.




IPTV- Internet Protocol Television'

In case you haven’t noticed, telecommunications companies like AT&T, Verizon, and others have been aggressively creating miles of fiber-optic networks that can deliver digital media into the end users home through their TV. Telcos have poured hundreds of billions of dollars and several years of R&D into implementing small broadcast units (set-top boxes) that can stream media into user televisions. Telcos are making a bid to dominate how television and all media (data, voice, ect,) is delivered to you home in the future. They will do this through a service called IPTV or Internet Protocol Television.

In 2007 AT&T made a $400 million deal to purchase Microsoft's IPTV Edition software, and a US$1.7 billion deal with hardware maker Alcate. The question is, “Why are they investing all this time and money to do something the cable providers are already doing?” It is because they want to be the sole communications link for you’re your home, increase revenue through selling blocks of airtime to broadcast networks and advertisers, and basically corner the television market by being your home’s sole pipeline. IPTV is how they plan to do this. What is IPTV? Internet Protocol Television delivers TV programming over a DSL connection from phone lines to homes through TV set-top boxes and is typically bundled with Video-On Demand, VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol- see Skype), digital-telephone and Internet typically called a “Triple Play.” Video pulled from satellites enters the Telco’s main IP servers. It is encoded into any necessary format (WMV MPEG H.264), then streamed to its core IP network which handles data, voice, and video. The media is then broken into small containers of info and streamed to the users home, where it is efficiently reassembled and decoded for viewing.

Advantages

IPTV is much more efficient than cable. there is none of the annoying “pause” that cable users typically get when they change a channel. Multiple users can record multiple programs from several TVs at the same time to a single DVR without a significant price hike on the unit IPTV users will have full DVR functionality and be able to remotely program their DVR to record programs with a personal phone while they are away! .

User customized view guides will make it easier for users to find their favorite programming. Picture-in-picture viewing will be done multiple tuners. You will watch one show, and channel surf with the PIP!

All traditional cable services (such as Video-on Demand) will be featured

Viewers won’t be far from their information as well. They will receive webmail and text messaging along with Caller ID on-screen. All this will be done at a vastly lower price for the end user compared to traditional cable.

IPTV’s killer app is will be interactive television. Similar to the scene in Fahrenheit 451, users will be able to participate in real time with hosts and contestants on the television shows, and see live programs in multiple camera angles

And since the Telco owns the entire network, total quality is assured. The Telcos believe that this technology, its reliability, and low cost will allow them to defeat the cable companies and corner the market.



iPhone

Apple Inc released the Apple iPhone in the summer of 2007. This new device merges interactive media, music and phone services together in one complete package. The iPhone is akin to a small personal laptop. It can take notes on the go and then send them as an email. It has a full calendar, and access to email from the most notable websites including Yahoo, Google and AOL. The phone also has YouTube built into the phone so users can access almost all the videos offered at YouTube.com. Its biggest selling point is the touchscreen. It is also the only phone running a software copy of Mac OSX.

Although this phone is not the greatest piece of equipment, it does allow the consumer many portable freedoms and connectivity. Future phones are attempting to copy and add their own specal feature to the phone market. This type of phone is inspiring other companies to allow users to do more with their phones. It is also forcing websites to function with standard computer users and mobile phone users. Now websites like Yahoo and Google have their classic website and a mobile website mode.

With the summer 2008 release of the iPhone 2.0 software update, the iPhone is beginning to differentiate itself from most, if not all, current phones on the market. The iPhone now has to capability to download, and run various games and applications built on Apple's iPhone Software Development Kit. While allowing users to run or develop any conceivable application for the iPhone, Apple also assures their legendary penchant for control of its platform is upheld by approving all applications that are placed within Apple's Application Store; Which can be accessed on an iPhone, or iPod touch running the 2.0 software, or through the Application navigation option which was built into iTunes beginning in version 7.7. The application store also allows for Apple to provide the seamless connection experience that they build into much of their software that is not currently available, or executed as well by other companies. Importantly, this is considered by many to be Apple's first foray into the extremely competitive market of video gaming, and is one of the few current examples of interactive media that is multi-platform, and executed without the use of conventional storage media. (i.e. DVDs, CDs, etc.)