Friday, August 17, 2012

My Top Ten Display Movies

1) Minority Report: “A Day Made of Glass” comes to fruition. Similar amounts of digital signage can be found in “Blade Runner,” “1984”, “Ultraviolet”. Actually ubiquitous display technology is a common theme in many science fiction movies. One question the movie raises... A store window is kind of a display itself. At what point does that real estate become too valuable to leave it as a window and stores in high traffic areas routinely cover the front of their business in digital signage. The image here is not from the movie but the present day Akihabara. In pricier areas of Tokyo, the signage is just as dense but has been some form of electronic display for some time.

2) Poltergeist: Your mother always warned you about watching TV in the dark. This movie shows how hazardous it can really be. Similar themes are in “The Ring,” “Videodrome.” Something evil coming out of the TV is again a common theme. Consumers will not necessarily want the screens they are passing buy to recognize them or try and interact with them without first being invited. As digital signage learns to recognize passers-by and launch custom "push" advertising, an older person would not necessarily want every sign they pass to flash an ad for adult diapers.

3) 2001 A Space Odyssey: Not a display-centric movie like the others but featured lots of computer graphics that had to be created by hand as the technology did not exist when the movie was made. It also conveys some of the dangers of home automation. In the movie, HAL has a holographic processor. His system design would more resemble a massively parallel GPU than a CPU. As the embedded processing power in a TV set increases, it would be expected that that brain power would be put to other uses.

4) Strange Days: The display has no screen but plays directly in your head. However, the display is not interactive, you just sit there and watch/experience. The 1983 movie “Brainstorm” is centered on a similar device. "The Matrix" was also centered on such a device but was highly interactive; it incorporates social networking as well. There is always a market for a more lifelike display, hence the current interest in 3D. Presumably holographic displays will come between now and such an invention. There is some current development work being done on "smellivision," expanding the sensory input of a TV. Being the most primitive of the human senses, smell/taste bypasses most of the higher, logical, functions of the brain and can elicit a purely emotional reaction. Some restaurants utilize this by purposely venting their kitchens out of the front of the store rather than the back. With a selective venting system or a device that could adsorb smells and selectively release them on-que and digital signage, it could be possible to both display and smell individual menu items electronically.

5) Stay Tuned: As things can come out of your TV such as in “Poltergeist”, you can also fall in.... Actually they fall into the satellite dish but wind up in the TV. "Tron" is also in this category. Virtual reality headsets can give the impression that you are inside a digital creation or at some remote location. (Inherently, this is what a flight simulator does.) However, repeated launches of near-to-eye product have met with a ho-hum from the consumer. My own belief is that a holographic solution is needed to get around eye strain issues.

6)Red Planet Again, not a display centric movie but it does feature a flexible high information content display. Although very different, Dick Tracy has a similar device. OK, Dick Tracy is more famous as a newspaper cartoon rather than a movie. However, it is probably many folks introduction to the idea of a cell phone. With all of the knobs, it definitely did not have a touch panel, but being located on his wrist and having a curved screen, it probably uses an OLED rather than an LCD; very hip. This August 20 headline from the NY Times shows just how hip, "The Next Wave for the Wristwatch."

7)V for Vendetta registers on three counts. With all of the public information displays in London wired to a central system, it shows the need for network security to avoid having the system hijacked. The characters in the movie also make extensive use of videoconferencing and one of the key scenes takes place in a bathroom that is amply fitted with TV screens.... I believe that bathroom TVs will be one of the consumer spin-offs of the experience gained weatherizing LCDs for outdoor digital signage and outdoor TV. TVs in the bathroom have been standard in Westin hotels for some time.

8)Snow White I mentioned earlier that a shop window is a kind of display; so are the mirrors, especially in a clothing store. I think that Digital Mirrors are an inevitability. They can be signage as well when they are not working as mirrors. For the more color conscious, they can also show the appearance of clothing under different lighting conditions and can show the consumer against different backgrounds. In the home, the bathroom medicine cabinet offers a standard footprint that is begging for a product.

9)Amazon Women on the Moon: This movie is very similar to "The Boob Tube" but strangely not at all like "Amazon Women in in the Avocado Jungle". In the era before High Definition Content Protection (HDCP) the order to "Defend Borders" was ultimately a failure. However, the brick and mortar retailers have been able to mount a defense against "showrooming".

10) Couldn't think of ten, other than using some of the duplicates mentioned earlier. Check back and I will add more if I think of them. Please feel free to make suggestions in the Comments section.

I expect electronic displays to become ubiquitous in urban environments. I also expect these display to become increasingly smart, interactive, and more engrossing as well. However, human privacy must be respected. I expect OLED technology to have the greatest impact in the mobile market. Also, I mentioned holography quite a bit.



  1. How about movies like Star Wars (Holocommunicator), Star Trek (Holodeck), or The Matrix (the world's popultation is the virtual display). Actually, the Holodeck might have been on TV only, not sure. Anyway, your posts are always interesting and thought-provoking!

  2. I Added The Matrix in with #4, a similar idea that the display takes place in your consciousness. I am considering Star Wars and Star Trek. The big issue that I have with Star Trek is that the Starship Enterprise has, of course 23rd century technology; but they all sit in front of a big projection screen instead of a hologram. They also never do anything with the images such as look only at the infrared or look for particular elements rather than having some non-visual device scan for plasma exhaust (or whatever it is they are looking for).

  3. I have wanted the display wallpaper from "Total Recall" ever since I saw the movie.

  4. The Avengers movie shows a display concept similar to the LightPad (developed by QP Optelectronics). See links below.

  5. For #10 see


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