Illumiroom: More Smoke and Mirrors
When I first saw the proof of concept video for Illumiroom I thought to myself “neat”. It’s the kind of thing that someone who invests heavily in entertainment technology to ever increase that feeling of immersion would enjoy, someone like me. If I thought for one second that it would ever translate into any kind of affordable consumer device this blog would be praising it instead of trying to dampen the enthusiasm of over excited people who have jumped on this as a full drawn conclusion. To make matters worse some are actually using it as points in arguments detailing reasons to buy the third Xbox. Now, if you’re one of these people, try to keep a cool head and read through these rational reasons that you won’t see this device on your coffee table anytime in the near future...
Have you ever priced up a projector for home cinema use? Decent ones can set you back as much as your big HD TV and although cheap ones exist, they come with the caveat of poor visibility and reliability. If the price of the projector alone doesn’t put you off there is also the cost of whatever is processing the movement ‘outside’ of the screen.
Think about it for one second, there’s so many requirements for Illumiroom to work properly that the sheer impracticality of it is enough to make your head spin. First it is only really effective in the dark, second you need the space, third would be bright enough walls to reflect an image, forth a coffee table... it goes on. The shiney concept video makes it all look so easy, “self calibrating” they say but you can bet your life that in reality, for 99% of the population, it will be either a massive inconvenience or just plain impossible.
It’s explained in the proof of concept video that images shown were either running on a PC with some kind of software workaround or shot using a special rig of two differently ‘lensed’ cameras. The resources of a PC are entirely flexible and would not demand much to make this work; however, this simply isn’t the case for consoles. Consoles have a set limit of processing power and RAM use for games, which means rendering the scene again at a wider angle for projection outside of the screen would be impossible unless a large section of resources was restricted just for this use. So with the difficulties in producing content combined with cost to consumer, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see widespread adoption of this effect, think 3D but without the backing of Hollywood.
I’m sorry if this post has burst any bubbles out there but the reality of this needs to sink in before we rest our hopes on another pipe dream. I mean now we’re even getting articles like this, http://n4g.com/news/1244377... it’s all getting a bit too much and we need to step back, smell the smoke and smash the mirrors.