What is 4D TV?

There is a major misperception circulating through the consumer population these days about 4D TVs. With the advent of 3D televisions and the boost in technology that has afforded these televisions the ability to broadcast 3D film productions and television shows into the individual’s home, the term 4D TV has picked up some steam. There is a slight problem with the term being floated around and that many consumers are incorrectly assuming that four dimensions will be something of a revolution.

What 4D TV is not

4D television is not about sensory stimulation. Back in the nineteen-eighties, when 3D movies were all the rage and people began talking about the possibility of 3D televisions, there was a movement to create a fourth dimension for the movie experience. This was fondly referred to as ‘Smell-o-Vision’ but the idea never took hold and to this day, as far as anyone is concerned, it still hasn’t taken hold.

There are a number of consumers who have heard the term 4D TV and think that is has something to do with fans, mist sprayers, and other external sensory devices to bring the audience deeper into the experience of the film, but that is all related to the initial concept of the Smell-o-Vision and nothing based in reality.

What 4D TV is

Okay, so now that we have established what 4D TV is not, let’s get into what it is. The company Motorola is one of the leading companies in communications, from satellite to cell phones and almost everything else under the sun that deals with communications. In the nineteen-eighties, about the same time that cable companies and satellite dish networks were breaking out into the mass media culture, they had to deal with many of the same space and transfer issues that early Internet users had to endure.

Basically, when the Internet was still fairly young as a consumer entity, dial-up service was the only way to connect. Slow and frustrating, files had to be quite small in order to transfer over the telephone line, otherwise the connection could be lost or the file would take days to download. Basically, these early cable and satellite broadcasts faced similar limitations. Even cable companies, even though most consumers think the signal transmits over cable lines, actually transmit their original signals via satellite.

With that being said, because the signals are being compressed in order to move across the transmission lines fast enough, they are degraded copies, to some extent. The receiving dish (which is the last dish before the signal is then transmitted to the consumer) unzips the signal and reconstructs that signal. There is a degradation of signal during this process.

4D technology is actually a transmission technology that Motorola has developed that keeps the original broadcast signal intact so that the highest quality signal reaches the consumer, allowing the consumer to take advantage of the high resolution or even 3D television that they are using in their home.

As one can see, the term itself, 4D TV, has created a misunderstanding among the average consumer who has been hearing a great deal about 3D TVs and technology and have jumped to conclusions about what 4D could possibly be. After all, the ‘D’ stands for dimensions, but in this case, it is merely referring to the transmission of the highest quality signal from the source to the destination. For filmmakers, there’s nothing new to worry about, no new technology to learn. Just film your masterpieces and as we move into the future, 4D technology will likely become the norm in signal transmission so that the viewer gets to see precisely the quality images that you intended them to see.


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