The Future of Television. To Infinity and Beyond Reality

Term Paper, 2014

17 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Methodology

3. A brief history

4. Uses and Gratifications

5. TV Innovations
5.1 Get connected
5.2 Share the experience
5.3 Be part of the programme
5.4 “TV just for me”

6. Lean backward, forward or jump-in!

7. The ultimate idea, the holodeck
7.1 Holograms
7.1.1 What is a hologram?
7.1.2 How far are we?
7.2 Three great ideas towards the holodeck
7.2.1 360° Fulldome Worlds
7.2.2 Sony’s real life holodeck
7.2.3 The Reality Deck

8. Conclusion

9. References


The aim of this research paper is to investigate the hypothesis: the holodeck as the ulti- mate idea for television in 20 years though it combines the four current innovations; connected TV, social TV, interactive TV and personalized TV. Furthermore, the paper describes all four ideas, the reasons why people use it and the way it can be found in the holodeck. In addition to that, these innovations and the holodeck are placed in the evo- lutionary order of media, coming to the result that they are to be found between the ac- tive phase “Lean Forward” and the interactive phase “Jump-In”, whereas the holodeck belongs to the “Jump-In” phase and tends towards total connectivity.

Another aspect is to find out how far advanced the technology is and if it will be possible to create a holodeck within 20 years. It describes the current findings on the subject of holograms and compares three holodeck ideas.

The results of the study show the holodeck as the ultimate idea in television technology combining the latest innovations and according to AMD, a micro processor manufac- turer starting up in the holodeck business may even be possible in 10 to 15 years (How- ell, 2013).

1. Introduction

TV is dead, long live TV

“Space: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship, Enterprise. Its 5 year mission, to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before” (Peeples & Goldstone, 1966)

Star Trek, the ultimate idea of future life, many inventions necessary for today’s life were seen there first. They had mobile phones, holograms and even more, the holodeck. A couple of these things have been invented by now, but not everything, holograms are improving more and more. However, the holodeck still needs to be invented. But for what purpose do we need a holodeck? Is it maybe the idea for future television?

The media sector is changing and TV is right at the centre of this development. Every- body is or wants to be “connected” with their friend, so TV has to be too. The world is moving fast and people want to watch TV when and where they have time for it. The flood of information swamps the audience. For TV to become more targeted it has to be personalized. Finally, TV should not just be an “incidental medium” as is common to- day. TV should be an experience, so it has to be more interactive (Neef, Schroll & Hirsch, 2011).

But what will happen in 20 years?

There has to be an innovation that combines all these needs. Time to take a look at a science fictional future: Star Trek - and their one idea that combines all these aspects - the holodeck.

“A holodeck is a room that creates objects, people and images on the fly and has no restriction on time and space” (Rhodes, 2008, p. 1)

Going first a couple of steps back, the following paragraphs will then explain the hy- pothesis: “holodeck, the ultimate idea of future television in 20 years” by looking at the four main innovations in the television industry, the reasons for their use and their con- nection to the ultimate idea of future television - the holodeck. Finally, taking into con- sideration how far advanced the technology is and what lies ahead to create the holodeck?

The voyage starts by looking at the current developments and what lies ahead to boldly go where no one has gone before.

This research paper is based on a review of literature.

2. Methodology

The task of the research paper broadly defined the hypothesis in the direction of future developments in the world of media. The future of television was selected due to the dynamic pace of technical advances in this area. Starting by brainstorming to narrow down the task, the vision of the holodeck as a future development of TV was created.

This paper is based on the analysis of journals, internet sources and books.

The research then began with a broad analysis of literature related to TV, its history and its future.

The book “Auslaufmodell Fernsehen” gave a broad overview of the history of TV and its future direction. In addition, the study “TV 2020” narrowed the topic down further by identifying four innovations to focus on; connected TV, social TV, interactive TV and personalized TV.

Starting with connected TV, the book “TV Anytime” focuses on the connection of TV and the Web to create new possibilities, such as video-on-demand. As already men- tioned, the survey “TV 2020” deals with the latest innovations in TV and therefore was the source for the second part, social TV. The third part interactive TV is based on two books, “When media are new” and “Interaktives Fernsehen”. These books give a defi- nition of interactive TV; they explain the technical equipment needed and today’s use of interactive TV. For the last innovation, personalized TV, the research was based on three different sources. The Journal “Automatic and personalized recommendation of TV program contents using sequential pattern mining for smart TV user interaction”, the book “TV-Anytime” and the book “Intelligent Technologies for Interactive Entertainment”.

Going on, research then focused on the technological aspects of holodecks.

The article “How Do You Build a Holodeck?” describes the requirements for a holodeck and names three technological approaches to creating a holodeck: ILand, Sony technology and the Reality Deck. Additional literature, describing these approaches, was read.

The hologram technology was the next aspect to focus on. The article “Ansiotropic leak-mode modulator for holographic video displays” describes the latest research results at the MIT.

Another aspect focused on, was the overall evolution of media and the integration of the holodeck within this evolution. For this investigation the book ”Wissen in Dialog” was used. Additionally, the book “An Integrated Approach to Communication Theory and Research “ about the Uses and Gratifiactions theory was used to describe the reasons why people use the four innovations and the holodeck itself.

The last part of the research was to describe how the future innovations of TV are combined in the holodeck.

3. A brief history

A couple of steps back

Twenty-five years ago public broadcasters were in the majority, the internet, though already invented, was not very common. In fact, only five million households in West Germany were connected to the cable network. Production and distribution of content was only analogue. Broadcasting, telecommunication and cable networks were sepa- rated completely. Mobile communication was provided by the German Federal Post office, but only with considerable limitations (Kaufmann, Siegenheim & Sjurts, 2008).

Today there are hundreds of TV channels, which provide thousands of hours of content analogue and digital. Convergence is broad, telecom companies provide pay-tv, a televi- sion is not necessary to watch movies or TV shows, because internet providers offer video-on-demand services (Kaufmann, Siegenheim & Sjurts, 2008). At the beginning of 2013 over two billion people were connected to the internet worldwide (“Internet World Stats”, 2012). Already in 2011 there have been more than six billion mobile device sub- scriptions (“”, 2012).

4. Uses and Gratifications

Looking at the significant change in data use, the questions remain: why do people use media and what effect does it have on them?

The Uses and Gratifications Theory tries to find an answer to these questions. Accord- ing to A.M. Rubin (1983), there are nine recurring motives for television use: relaxa- tion, companionship, entertainment, social interaction, information, habit, pass time, arousal and escape. In the following years other motives such as parasocial interaction (Palgreen 1980), surveillance and voyeurism (Bantz 1982) were added (as cited in Pa- pacharissi, 2009, p. 140). Looking at the four main innovations, each of them has differ- ent factors of media use and has different effects on the audience. However, Wright’s (1960) function of television: entertainment (as cited in Papacharissi, 2009, p. 138) is applicable to all four innovations.

5. TV Innovations

5.1 Get connected

In 2015 over 500 million televisions will be connected to the internet (Neef, Schroll & Hirsch, 2011), the line between broadcasting and web content is likely to get so blurred that “surfing the Web” or “watching TV” will become meaningless (Nixon, 2013). Be- side the traditional way of watching television, there are also new ways possible. Watching TV is not restricted to a specific time. Video-on-demand offers the possibility to watch television at any time desired. Additionally, viewers are not restricted to a spe- cific channel either, because a database of millions of movies, series and TV-shows al- lows the consumer to choose their specific television programme the way they want to have it. Connected TV also provides the opportunity to watch TV anywhere the con- sumer wants to watch it because it is not restricted to the television set anymore. Tablets, PCs and even Smartphones offer the possibility to watch movies or series in any imaginable place (Adam, 2008).

The reasons for using for this technology are different. According to Singer, the Web satisfied the user’s needs of seeking information as well as creating it (as cited in Ruggiero, 2000, p. 20). The user is not dependent on the programme anymore, he can decide when he wants to have specific information, be entertained or escape (Rubin, as cited in Papacharissi, 2009, p. 140). TV is more controlled by the audience than ever before.

Controlling when to experience is also provided by the holodeck. It is not limited to time, but limited to a specific place. The holodeck cannot be carried to any place, it is fixed. But looking at the idea of making TV not just “incidental medium”, this disad- vantage is compensated by the huge experience provided by a holodeck adventure. Ad- ditionally, the same database necessary for video-on-Demand is necessary for the holodeck, so that people can choose from different stories and adventures.

5.2 Share the experience

Comparing web TV with the traditional way of watching television, it is apparent that the traditional way lacks the lively communication component. Traditional TV is so- cially amputated. Connected TV or Linked TV also generates a new level, social TV. It enables the viewers to share their experiences directly, either via facebook or twitter, or on completely new platforms. The TV experience becomes a group or team experience. Friends can interact with each other, they can share their thoughts or opinions about movies or series directly and do not have to wait until they meet again (Neest, Schroll & Hirsch, 2011).

The audience uses the social connectivity provided by connected TV for reasons of communication and social interaction. This opportunity is provided, even for people who find face-to-face communication less rewarding (Papacharissi & Rubin, as cited in Papacharissi, 2009).


Excerpt out of 17 pages


The Future of Television. To Infinity and Beyond Reality
University of Applied Sciences Hamburg
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
652 KB
TV, Hologram, Hologramme, Holodeck, Immersion, Interactive television
Quote paper
Vinca Michaelis (Author), 2014, The Future of Television. To Infinity and Beyond Reality, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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