Cable Show 2012: NDS to Demo 'Video Wallpaper'

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Like many a chubby American, big-screen HDTVs continue to get bigger — ballooning to an average TV screen size of 38 inches in the U.S. last year, up from 27 inches in 2004, according to DisplaySearch.

So why not go whole-hog and splash TV across the entire living-room wall?

That’s the concept behind NDS’s Surfaces demo, set for next week’s Cable Show in Boston. The full-wall display measures 12.5 feet wide and 4.5 feet high, comprising six 55-inch LCD panels. The setup is designed to show “the future possibilities for more compelling, immersive and varied television and media experiences in the home environment,” according to the company. NDS will also present Surfaces during a session in the NCTA’s Imagine Park exhibit.

It’s actually not a new idea. At the 2008 CES, Panasonic president Toshihiro Sakamoto showed off the company’s “Life Wall” concept during his keynote.

Panasonic’s Life Wall, designed to literally take up the entire wall of a living room, would provide an interactive display to give family members access to personalized TV programs and information as well as a range of communications options, including videoconferencing (see Panasonic TVs: Bigger and More Connected). You could resize video viewing panes as needed. As far as I know, Life Wall never progressed into any real product.

Simon Parnall, NDS’s VP of technology for the U.K., will present a paper on the Surfaces concept (”Your Wish is its Command: New Possibilities for Technology Interfaces”) as part of the Spring Technical Forum.

I asked for a key takeaway from Parnall’s presentation, and he replied via email: “This paper develops and demonstrates a vision of how emerging display technology will change the way we see television, when the TV set of today is superseded by unobtrusive, frameless, ultra-high definition and ambient ’surfaces.’ Such surfaces may cover whole walls, and enable the creation of sophisticated, intuitive and immersive user experiences, reflecting the level of a user’s engagement with content.”

Of course, it’s not like Americans need more incentive to sit in front of the boob tube: TV households watched an average of 153 hours and 19 minutes of TV per month in Q4, according to Nielsen. Maybe with hyper-immersive and interactive TV we’ll actually watch less — but have a richer experience?

NDS’s other Cable Show demos are to include its Unified Gateway, an end-to-end hybrid/IP device; multiscreen advertising with BlackArrow; and “TV coupons,” which would let subscribers use a mobile app to “clip” a coupon and automatically associate it with their loyalty cards.

London-based NDS is in the midst of a $5 billion acquisition by Cisco Systems, a deal expected to close in the second half of 2012 pending regulatory approvals.

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