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What Is Holographic Television?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
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A holographic television is a type of TV set on which the image comes out as a hologram. This is similar to a three-dimensional (3D) television in that the image pops out at the viewer, but there is a difference in the point of view. With 3D sets, the image can only be viewed straight on, while a holographic television would allow viewers to move around the entire image and see all angles of the movie or show. This is done with an extensive memory system that is constantly able to produce and erase images to create an effective hologram image. As of July 2011, holographic TVs are not commercially available, because the technology is still being advanced.

Holographic television sets are those that project holograms instead of flat-surface images. This makes holographic sets similar to 3D televisions, because both are designed to make an image pop out at the viewer. The major difference is that a 3D television is only able to show one angle, regardless of where the viewer is sitting. A holographic TV aims to create a system that allows the viewer, if he or she moves, to see a new area of the same show or movie, as if it is actually occurring in the room.

One of the major challenges of creating a holographic television is that it is a consumer device, so developers are attempting to make the system cheap and accessible. This means developers are using commercially available hardware instead of powerful industrial hardware to produce the holographic effect. At the same time, when the technology is created, it will be instantly ready for the consumer market.

Most holograms are made to be stationary, which works well for images but not for television applications. To make a holographic television, the hologram must be able to change many times per second, just like images depicted on a television set do. The system also must be able to erase the memory of these images; otherwise, the system would overload because of too much memory.

How light interacts with the viewer's eyes is another aspect to making a holographic television. With 3D systems, light is made so it interacts differently with each eye, producing two images that simulate depth. In reality, eyes react to light in many ways, and a holographic system must be able to estimate how the eye reacts to each object to create a realistic hologram.

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Discussion Comments
By KaBoom — On Aug 03, 2011

@indemnifyme - I have no doubt that a lot of people would love to play holographic videogames. In fact, what you're describing sounds like the holodeck on Star Trek.

If I remember right, the holodeck basically created a holographic world that seemed completely real. The characters in the show were able to interact with the characters in the holodeck just like it was real life. On the show they also used the holodeck for training and other practical things.

I know our technology is really far from that, but I think a holographic TV would be the first step in that direction.

By indemnifyme — On Aug 02, 2011

I think that as soon as holographic television is available it will be used for video games. People who are into gaming are really dedicated and I think they would go wild for something like this!

Imagine being able to see your video game in 3D right in front of you! I'm sure if this becomes a reality they could probably find a way to allow the player to interact with the characters in the game as well.

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