Sony may be working on “screen sharing” technology that allows different users to share a screen and watch different TV programmes or play different games through 3D glasses, according to information contained in a recently published patent.
The patent, called 3D Shutter Glasses with Mode Switching Based on Orientation to Display Device and numbered 20100177174, was filed on July 14 2009 and details how a shuttered filter in 3D glasses can be used to block out the background images and instead project the video image to the glasses of only that individual, allowing another image to be projected to the person beside them, and so forth, effectively allowing multiple users to do different things with a single screen.
The potential benefits of this are numerous. A couple can watch different TV shows while still laying in each other's arms. A gamer can play away while his or her friend watches some TV.
Multiple gamers playing the same game could now have individually catered screens projected to their 3D glasses instead of having the TV screen split in two or four, making it much smaller and more difficult to see.
Sound from the different projected screens would not be a problem, however, as the patent includes diagrams for 3D glasses with built-in earphones which will help to personalise the experience.
The problem, however, is that immersion may be lost due to the other person watching something else and responding to it. For example, Person A is watching Schindler's List while Person B is watching Blackadder. Person B's laughter is likely to distract and upset Person A and take them out of the moment, ruining everything and appearing very insensitive.
Another issue is the potential isolating factor involved. Instead of people coming together to watch a show or play a game, they are physically in the same room, or on the same sofa, but are mentally and emotionally elsewhere. The communal element of entertainment is destroyed in favour of isolated experiences.