In chapter five Charles U. Larson comments on the impact of television on the implications and predictions of virtual reality. Aside from the virtual aspects of it, the influence that television can have on our individual and social needs in the future is something that Larson believes is worth stating. Although I'm not sure that I agree that television is a personal and social necessity, I do think that the television, as compared to the computer, is a more accessible means to enter a true virtual reality. The FCC recently passed a law which raises the standard of all TV transmission to be digital rather than analog. Analog transmissions are over the air and take up more space than cable or satellite transmissions. Eventually this will lead us into a standard of television where HD TV is the standard for watching all television channels.
In my own personal opinion, HD TV is the most stimulating type of virtual reality. The sound and picture quality of HD is the the most realistic way that I can explore a foreign country or feel like I am actually at a sporting event. So my next question is what if we could experience the virtual reality of HD not only as television entertainment, but also in a social network? I think Microsoft MediaRoom has started to try to answer this question.
MediaRoom is Microsoft’s lastest technology in Microsoft TV IPTV. It is a comprehensive television, picture, music, gaming, and social network. The television is the highest technology of current TV, including picture-in-picture which allows multiple screens to be watched simultaneously. Many TVs have this feature, but for certain shows MediaRoom can watch the same program from multiple angles. For example Nascar fans can watch the entire race and the in-car camera of four or five of their favorite drivers simultaneously. MediaRoom is also highly compatible with X Box 360 software and ultimately plans to incorporate the X Box into the MediaRoom system, using the X Box headset and controller to go shopping in virtual reality. This will allow MediaRoom users to talk to a sales representative who will guide and recommend virtual shoppers by bringing up different products for them on their screen. This would truly create a virtual shopping experience, more so than online shopping can. Far and away the most virtually realistic part of MediaRoom is the social networking. Microsoft takes the high definition environment it has created that allows you to store your pictures and music, and allows you to share and exchange these with other people. Looking forward, the MediaRoom also contains a program called Microsoft Mediaroom Application Development toolkit, where you will be able to create your own programs for the system which run on Microsoft media platform. This toolkit will aid in the advancement of MediaRoom's technology by opening the suggestion box to anyone who is creative enough to try it.
Microsoft's MediaRoom Tests the Grounds Beyond IPTV's 'Walled Garden'