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What Is Virtual Reality TV?

Virtual Reality TV immerses viewers in a 360-degree digital environment, transforming passive watching into an interactive experience. It's like stepping inside your favorite show, where the story unfolds around you. Imagine being at the heart of the action—how would that change your viewing habits? Join us as we examine the future of television, where you're not just a spectator, but a participant.
G. Wiesen

Virtual reality TV or television is a form of technology that is being developed in an effort to merge interactive elements of the Internet with the viewing experience of television. There are a number of different ways in which these two concepts are being combined through implementation and testing of various technologies. In general, however, the attempts largely center on enhancing TV viewing with an interactive user interface (UI) similar to a computer program. Virtual reality TV would need to facilitate such an interface from a distance, so voice commands and motion sensing technology are often considered for such interactivity.

There are a few different ways in which companies have approached the concept of virtual reality TV. In general, though, many of these attempts focus on the idea of combining the passive TV viewing experience with a more active, feature-rich development. Much like other forms of virtual reality, this may include the use of goggles or a headset to provide a more interactive viewing experience as the images surround a person. This provides the environment for virtual reality TV, though some systems have merely sought to marry interactive and viewing experiences without a change in presentation method.

Woman holding a disc
Woman holding a disc

As technology has improved and developed in new ways, many new formats for interactive experiences have similarly evolved. Mobile phones, for example, often include touch screens, Internet connections, and a wide array of other features that enhance the experience of using a phone and introduce new concepts into the very idea of what a phone can be. In a similar way, some developers wish to expand upon the TV viewing experience with virtual reality TV. This may require not only advances in technology, but also a cultural paradigm shift regarding what television is and how people watch it.

This could be produced in a number of different ways, though an interactive UI or user interface is a common theme for many virtual reality TV developments. The basic idea is, much as a user is able to manipulate a UI to control his or her experience on a computer, a viewer should be able to similarly interact with a television system. Limitations introduced by remote controls, and the distance between most TV viewers and the screen, have required different types of technology and UIs than computers. Virtual reality TV is likely to use voice recognition, simulated speech, and motion sensing controls to allow someone to control his or her TV from across the room to access more robust features and interactive options than current televisions provide.

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Discussion Comments


I like the TV shows that allow viewers to take part. There is a music competition show that I watch and I can use my phone to vote for which of the contestants I think should advance to the next step in the competition.

It is impossible for me to sit down and watch a 30-minute sitcom or an hour drama on TV without getting bored. I think the more interactive TV is the better because it has a better chance of keeping my interest.


I have just started using voice command TV and it is great. Everyone should at least try it. Once you get used to simply talking to your TV, you won't want to go back to the old remote controls. One of the best aspects of voice activated TV control is you don't have to worry about misplacing the remote control. You really should give it a try. The newer technology is easier to use than some of the earlier systems.


Reality TV is bad enough. I definitely don't need virtual reality TV. I know this puts me in the minority, but the last thing I want is for my TV viewing to be more interactive. Watching TV is my way of getting away from it all, and I don't want to interact with anyone or anything when I am trying to relax and recover from a long day.

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