A new category of television now available for purchase enables two viewers watching from different angles to view different full-screen high-definition content. The Samsung 55-inch Curved OLED TV retails for about $9,000 and boasts “deep blacks and vibrant colors, while providing an immersive experience with improved viewing angles.”
Can you see yourself buying something like this? Let’s say the price comes down in a couple of years, which it surely will. Does the notion of watching something completely different from the person next to you carry appeal?
Scoffs come cheap. Putting the question to my Facebook friends produced a list of emphatic negatives. “Might as well not be near each other if not sharing the experience,” one wrote. “As if technology isn’t creating more isolation and poorer communication already! Arrgh!” exclaimed another.
Yet, there was a time when the notion of having multiple televisions in the same home seemed isolating and extreme. Remember this scene from Back to the Future when Marty McFly has dinner with his seventeen-year-old mother Lorraine and her family in 1955?
Lorraine Baines: It’s our first television set. Dad just picked it up today. Do you have a television?
Marty McFly: Well, yeah. You know we have… two of them.
Milton Baines: Wow! You must be rich.
Stella Baines: Oh, honey, he’s teasing you. Nobody has two television sets.
That was written in 1985. Today, we not only have a television in every room, but a bunch of smaller screens as well. Tablets, laptops, smartphones, e-readers — everything but Dick Tracy’s watch. As it stands, each person in a five-member family could theoretically watch their own hand-picked content at the same time. So is it really that big of a stretch to watch two shows from the same couch? Technically, it brings people formerly on separate devices closer together.