Facebook & Oculus VR: The Future of Personal Home Theater? - AVS Forum
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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A recent article in Variety mirrored my own thoughts when I read that Facebook plans to buy virtual-reality headset maker Oculus VR for $2 billion—that someday soon, VR technology is going to change the way people experience movies.

 

What are Facebook's plans for Oculus?

 

Quote:
"The surprise $2 billion acquisition of virtual-reality headset maker Oculus Rift by a social network company might seem to have nothing to do with movie theaters or films. But in the long term, this kind of technology is going to have a place in the entertainment business. It’s just a matter of time." - Variety

 

In a world where headphones are the audio-listening device of choice for more and more people in every demographic, it makes sense that a personal home theater could follow, especially with Facebook's formidable financial resources behind the R&D effort. The high-pixel-density screens needed to pull it off already exist, thanks to current smartphone and tablet design.

 

Quote:
"If you don’t think the logical extension here is for narrative, think again; it’s already got a buzzword to call its own, 'immersive entertainment.'" - Variety

 

In the near future, a personal pair of UHD OLED panels—one for each eye—could provide the illusion of a truly believable 3D space. Most of the pieces required to solve that puzzle are already in place, including the availability of affordable 4K cameras, small high-pixel-density screens, and other recent advances that make it possible to project a convincing 3D illusion into someone's head. The transformation of the passive, one-perspective movie experience into that of a virtual world where you can look around or be in the scene, is something I've long dreamt of—call it fully immersive personal home theater.

 

In my view, VR headsets are akin to headphones. One of the things I like about headphones is that you can relax in a comfortable position while still enjoying proper stereo sound. The same goes for VR headsets, which is why I agree with the Variety article that Facebook's move could have implications for the world of AV entertainment as well as gaming. What do you think, is this move by Facebook going to usher in a new era of immersive entertainment?


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Old 03-28-2014, 11:21 AM
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Meh. Leave HT to displays, screens, and speakers.

As for gaming. Sony's Project Morpheus is more interesting. I don't like anything Facebook. PC gamers who supported Oculis Rift are not anymore.

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Old 03-28-2014, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Meh. Leave HT to displays, screens, and speakers.

As for gaming. Sony's Project Morpheus is more interesting. I don't like anything Facebook. PC gamers who supported Oculis Rift are not anymore.

It is true Facebook has no track record when it comes to hardware. It could spell the death of the platform instead of an acceleration of its evolution. It is fun to speculate.

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Old 03-28-2014, 12:10 PM
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An intriguing idea, but I find it appealing only if I'm watching a movie by myself. Otherwise, it isolates viewers from the communal experience of watching a movie together.

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Old 03-28-2014, 12:18 PM
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I agree with what Scott said, often movie watching is a group experience. On top of that I hate Facebook, I only use it because there is no alternative to keeping in touch easily with old friends. They make their money on ads so I fully expect tons of them in Oculus now.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:23 PM
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They make their money on ads so I fully expect tons of them in Oculus now.

An ad for each eye. Twice the revenue.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:44 PM
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there is a market, but it's a NEW market. i don't believe this will replace anything home theatre-wise. but it would be pretty cool to bring something like that on the road with you instead of watching movies off a tablet or phone tongue.gif

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Old 03-28-2014, 12:50 PM
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people barely tolerate lightweight 3d glasses to watch a movie. who wants to be encumbered for a few hours with this strapped to their face?
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:54 PM
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It will be interesting to see if Facebook tries to take what could be considered to be the most anti-social form of display tech/entertainment immersion possible and put a social networking spin on it.

 

When I try to imagine how Facebook would apply their experience to virtual reality tech I am led to the conclusion that they would definitely want to include a mini wide-angle UHD (possibly stereoscopic) camera on the front of the device which feeds the display with minimal lag.  This way people could still interact "face to face" when desired.  You would then receive notifications in the upper lefthand corner of your display, which could be brought down as a mostly transparent overlay or small pictue-in-picture window.  At any time you would be able to switch from full screen camera mode to full screen media mode enabling you to swap between reality and virtual reality without removing the headset.

 

Of coarse, for this to work, they really have to be able to minimize the size and weight of the device.  Otherwise, who wants to interact "face to face" when both people are wearing what looks like nightvision goggles on their head/face.

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Old 03-28-2014, 01:11 PM
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This device looks rather interesting though a bit cumbersome in design. I remember back in 2003 a company that had put out these low resolution devices that fit like glasses that showed computer screens. I thought the idea was novel and after some thought, felt it was as stated too low a resolution for any quality image playback (moving or stills). Another challenge was the audio facet which still remained a problem. Even today, we don't have much to choose from for "surround sound" head sets.

For me, to make such a device one would need at least 1080p and 5.0 surround effect (perhaps at least 2 speakers within each ear location (rear and front and use both fronts for phantom center etc.) that is hd quality.

I look forward to seeing how this device develops and if there are possibilities of adjusting each eye path for both correction and for some 3D.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olletsoc View Post

people barely tolerate lightweight 3d glasses to watch a movie. who wants to be encumbered for a few hours with this strapped to their face?

Somebody said the same about the idea of a computer in every home. "But they're far too big! It will take up an entire room!"

What we're seeing with Oculus rift, Sony Morpheus, Google Glass, CastAR etc are basically the equivalent of the Gordon Gecko cellphone.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:49 PM
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As if cellphones and iPads are not enough to distract people while driving. Watching a movie while driving and even in 3D would really put the fun back onto the streets.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:54 PM
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There is a difference between a computer being to big for the room, and something stuck on your face. My bet is, it will be a novelty. no more, no less. NO productive human being would spend more than a couple of hours with something like that stuck to their face unless they truly have nothing better to do.

Like others have expressed, the reason I have a home theater is for the social experience. Otherwise I might as well watch movies on my tablet with a headphone. People still want to be able to see what goes on around them. I can watch a movie in 3d for a couple of hours, but truth be told, it IS tiresome to have those glasses on your face for a couple of hours. I can't imagine trying to watch a whole movie with that stuck to my head. My assumption is that it is probably heavier than 3d glasses and would cause neck fatigue.

Will we ever make the move from screens to portable glasses/ screens? My guess is not in this lifetime. I will pass on this until they 'invent' holographic projection........


The only market I see for this is for people who fly a lot or ride a lot on busses/ trains. You can have your own private viewing during your 4 hour flight and have your private internet surfing. Oh, and Porn will be a whole new experience with these I bet....tongue.gif
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:57 PM
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I think it has zero relevance to movies as we know them - in that case it's literally no better than a screen strapped to your face. Anyone that wants a personal view of a movie when a TV/PJ isn't practical is better served by a tablet.

I see the potential for a new kind of media that takes elements from both movies and games though. Unfortunately I think the technology to pull it off is still at least a decade out from being feasible and another few years before it's affordable....it's going to take more than just a good headset. If you're actually going to be able to look around, it needs to be rendered in real time, not recorded. And rendering a world that's indistinguishable from reality at 4K and 100fps per eye, you'll prob need a few thousand Pixar render farms all to yourself.

By then goggles will seem archaic, we'll prob just have everything integrated in a contact lens.

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Old 03-28-2014, 02:09 PM
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Oh, and Porn will be a whole new experience with these I bet....tongue.gif

And with the optional Sensory-Surround 3.0, it can't miss. LOL

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Old 03-28-2014, 02:32 PM
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As if cellphones and iPads are not enough to distract people while driving. Watching a movie while driving and even in 3D would really put the fun back onto the streets.

The self driving car is just a few years away, so fun it will be in the streets.

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Old 03-28-2014, 02:35 PM
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See I've been reading about this for the last 4 days or so, and I just don't get it...Hasn't this been done already? What's so special about these vr goggles? It's 2 freaking billion dollars, and it's still in production!

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Old 03-28-2014, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
 

An intriguing idea, but I find it appealing only if I'm watching a movie by myself. Otherwise, it isolates viewers from the communal experience of watching a movie together.

 

...unless it renders all the viewers into that space too.  :)


Java developers, when I saw what has been placed into Java 8 I was immediately reminded of how I've spent so much of my life trying to protect engineers from themselves. Lambda expressions are a horrible idea. Gentlemen: the goal isn't to make code readable for a competent mid-level engineer. The goal is to make code readable for a competent mid-level engineer exhausted and hopped up on caffeine at 3 am. What a disaster Java 8 is!
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:23 PM
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I think where OR will be the most fun is when movies are fully designed to be rendered on the fly.

 

I've said this a few times around AVS forums, but imagine walking around the movie avatar (the CGI parts)....investigating home-tree.....seeing the battle from the eyes of Jake Sully (or just from the back of Taruk), etc., etc.

 

You could have settings to wander automatically to new scenes, or move through certain portals to investigate an area as movie events unfold around you.....


Java developers, when I saw what has been placed into Java 8 I was immediately reminded of how I've spent so much of my life trying to protect engineers from themselves. Lambda expressions are a horrible idea. Gentlemen: the goal isn't to make code readable for a competent mid-level engineer. The goal is to make code readable for a competent mid-level engineer exhausted and hopped up on caffeine at 3 am. What a disaster Java 8 is!
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:44 PM
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"What do you think, is this move by Facebook going to usher in a new era of immersive entertainment?"

In a word...YES. That's IMO. But it's not so much about FaceBook. they are just the financial enablers. The bank, if you will. That allows for deeper tech development, exploration and production ramp up. In fact I can't believe the freakout about this acquisition anymore. FaceBook's record of being an intrusive ad generator? For God's sake...Show me any media that isn't and I'll show you how broke it is. Xbox Live is...PS Network is...Steam is...everything on a computer is (including AVS...every show on television is (or they get cancelled). The hissy fits over FaceBook on this issue is amazing to me. If a big, bloated, fat, bureaucratic company like MS or Sony had bought OR...no one would complain. And companies like that would likely bastardize the potential and ruin it.

So yes we'll have a new super immersive video medium that is aggressive...in your face...and brings 3D along with social media to life like never before with VR (over time). And there will be FaceBook access on day one. Just like on computers...Mobile Phones...XBoxes...PlayStations...and just about everywhere else. I say so what. If people are going to penalize Oculus Rift over FaceBook then have integrity with it. Penalize all of the other platforms too. Importantly...young people, young families and kids won't care about any of the complaints about Facebook. If they think it is cool and generationally relevant...they'll buy it in throngs. And yes. it will be authentic Home Theater to them. Just not like we describe it in AVS or advanced hobbyist forums. Our homes & apartments are pretty much already receptive to the concept. How many homes does anyone of us know of that has only 1 HDTV in it? I don't know any. Now ask how many have only 1 HT. Not very many. Oculus Rift, Sony Morpheus will change the perception of this market dramatically IMO. And in ways that far outstrip Dad's big guy HT room in the cellar. Because Headset based HT will have the perceptual equivalent of something better and much more personal to its more mobile and sociable user baser. The Headset HT/gaming crowd won't be fixed to the past. They will socialize profusely on it. Play games on it. Watch movies in the bedroom or any room on it. Goof off in their spare time with it. They'll watch it on boats and beaches...in RVs...in cars...on planes, trains and etc. Now just imagine strapping Dads big 150"er in the cellar on like that. IMO, long term, I dare say, this market will make HT projector & giant screen markets look like peanuts. I don't use FaceBook. Never have. But I don't hate it. I do however concede that they add dimension to VR that caught most geezers flatfooted. Younger consumers absolutely get it. We older ones will too once it hits the market. And there will be no turning back.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:56 PM
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...unless it renders all the viewers into that space too.  :)


Yes, I had that same thought! And the viewers could have avatars that look like anything they want.


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Old 03-28-2014, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
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See I've been reading about this for the last 4 days or so, and I just don't get it...Hasn't this been done already? What's so special about these vr goggles? It's 2 freaking billion dollars, and it's still in production!

DJoel

It's the first headset that's even remotely affordable (~$200-300), and PCs are finally powerful enough to make it look decent and not make you sick. Even though the retail kit isn't out yet, the dev kits have been out for over a year to the public, so there's a considerable amount of grassroots support and software behind it.

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Old 03-28-2014, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrelbelly View Post

"What do you think, is this move by Facebook going to usher in a new era of immersive entertainment?"

In a word...YES. That's IMO. But it's not so much about FaceBook. they are just the financial enablers. The bank, if you will. That allows for deeper tech development, exploration and production ramp up. In fact I can't believe the freakout about this acquisition anymore. FaceBook's record of being an intrusive ad generator? For God's sake...Show me any media that isn't and I'll show you how broke it is. Xbox Live is...PS Network is...Steam is...everything on a computer is (including AVS...every show on television is (or they get cancelled). The hissy fits over FaceBook on this issue is amazing to me. If a big, bloated, fat, bureaucratic company like MS or Sony had bought OR...no one would complain. And companies like that would likely bastardize the potential and ruin it.

So yes we'll have a new super immersive video medium that is aggressive...in your face...and brings 3D along with social media to life like never before with VR (over time). And there will be FaceBook access on day one. Just like on computers...Mobile Phones...XBoxes...PlayStations...and just about everywhere else. I say so what. If people are going to penalize Oculus Rift over FaceBook then have integrity with it. Penalize all of the other platforms too. Importantly...young people, young families and kids won't care about any of the complaints about Facebook. If they think it is cool and generationally relevant...they'll buy it in throngs. And yes. it will be authentic Home Theater to them. Just not like we describe it in AVS or advanced hobbyist forums. Our homes & apartments are pretty much already receptive to the concept. How many homes does anyone of us know of that has only 1 HDTV in it? I don't know any. Now ask how many have only 1 HT. Not very many. Oculus Rift, Sony Morpheus will change the perception of this market dramatically IMO. And in ways that far outstrip Dad's big guy HT room in the cellar. Because Headset based HT will have the perceptual equivalent of something better and much more personal to its more mobile and sociable user baser. The Headset HT/gaming crowd won't be fixed to the past. They will socialize profusely on it. Play games on it. Watch movies in the bedroom or any room on it. Goof off in their spare time with it. They'll watch it on boats and beaches...in RVs...in cars...on planes, trains and etc. Now just imagine strapping Dads big 150"er in the cellar on like that. IMO, long term, I dare say, this market will make HT projector & giant screen markets look like peanuts. I don't use FaceBook. Never have. But I don't hate it. I do however concede that they add dimension to VR that caught most geezers flatfooted. Younger consumers absolutely get it. We older ones will too once it hits the market. And there will be no turning back.

The issue with facebook is the forced advertisements and social features. Most people don't have problems with advertisements, because of just what you said, they're needed. Facebook takes it to a new level. Do you want a constant feed of status updates (or a little icon with numbers) updating when you're watching a movie or playing a game? Because that's what they'll do. Oh, and those status updates include what facebook calls "sponsored posts", i.e advertisements. Sometimes I just want to be left alone, and facebook won't let that happen, because if you are left alone, they can't sell you advertisements. Not to mention the collecting of your information. Facebook is always asking for more personal info (that I refuse to give it), what happens when it logs all the movies we watch and games we play? Also, we joke about it, but what about when virtual porn comes around? We all will use it for that, don't kid yourself. Now do you want all these personal things being run on a machine who's operating system is designed by a company who's main source of income is selling personal data for targeted advertisements? There's a reason I would never buy a facebook TV or computer running "Facebook OS". This will be both.

You mention that you don't use facebook, if you did I'm sure you would change your opinion on the issue. As great as facebook is for the connectivity it brings, as soon as another option comes around that is widely used, I'll make the switch.
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:20 PM
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It seems like a common thread is that the people least bothered by the Facebook acquisition are the people who have the least amount of experience with Facebook.

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Old 03-28-2014, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djoel View Post

See I've been reading about this for the last 4 days or so, and I just don't get it...Hasn't this been done already? What's so special about these vr goggles? It's 2 freaking billion dollars, and it's still in production!

DJoel

The feeling of presence. Being in a VR environment such as a game or virtual theatre where the non player characters make you feel as though they are actually there: when they look at you it evokes an emotional response, if they get too close you it can make you reel backwards as if they are in your personal space. That's powerful stuff for interactive story-telling mediums.

Technically its a culmination of things: Low latency head-tracking, high resolution and refresh rate screens with low persistence pixel response. All these elements help you feel more integrated into the scene and remove the disconnect from what you see and what you feel (VR sickness).
This technology simply wasn't available or as mature, and certainly not as affordable, as it is today, thanks in no small part by the massive amounts of R&D dollars poured into the mobile phone market.

I have the lower quality development kit 1 Oculus Rift and even at its prototype stage sitting in a virtual theatre (in any seat you want I might add) being able to play your favourite 2d or 3d movie is a compelling experience. It may not replace the experience I get from my HD33 projector setup...yet... but think of all the people can't afford a dedicated home theatre. For them this is the next best thing, now, and in the future may well be substantially better.
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:22 PM
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I have considered headphones for HT. They solve so many problems. And I really like 3D movies, don't mind the glasses, but I just can't see myself enjoying a movie with that thing stuck on my face. Maybe I'm just getting old.

 

 

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Old 03-28-2014, 08:02 PM
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Not to change the topic, but did anyone watch the episode of the Shark Tank that just aired? One group of entrepeneurs was trying to get the sharks to invest in their forthcoming Omni VR kit, which utilizes the Oculus Rift in addition to their own low friction stationary treadmill and running shoes accessories. It takes the next step beyond Wii/Kinect and is supposedly compatible with any game system that will accept a keyboard by mapping your movement to the usual keyboard controls. Those interested in the Rift might want to check it out...

http://www.virtuix.com
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Old 03-28-2014, 08:32 PM
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I WAS planning to buy an Oculus Rift when they hit the market but now that Facebook has bought it I think I will stay away from it for a while.

I dont have a Facebook for a reason...

Trying to enjoy the simple things in life.

 

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Old 03-28-2014, 09:23 PM
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I WAS planning to buy an Oculus Rift when they hit the market but now that Facebook has bought it I think I will stay away from it for a while.

I dont have a Facebook for a reason...

 

I'm incredibly torn on this. On one hand, I'm still really looking forward to the rift. OTOH, I want absolutely nothing to do with them now. 


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Old 03-28-2014, 09:24 PM
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To be fair to Facebook, if they stay out of the development of it, and don't force advertisements or collect our data, it will be fine. They could just be in it as an investment for the future, knowing that Facebook itself is declining. They might not ruin it, but I highly doubt it.
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