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SCE Patents Super SimulView: Watch TV and Play 2 Different Games All at Once

September 28, 2012 Written by Sebastian Moss

The idea behind SimulView technology is fantastic – there’s nothing worse than having to give up half your screen just to play two players locally – but Sony’s roll-out of the system has been less than stellar. First off, you can only buy a 24″ Monitor, or a $25,000 84″ version, and the tech is only supported by a few games. But if the idea was taken further, there could still be a lot of reason to buy a SimulView TV – for example, if you could have one person watching TV, another a DVD and someone else playing PlayStation. And that’s exactly what Sony has patented.

The new patent explains how three people could enjoy three separate experiences on the same television:

FIG. 4 illustrates three people watching three different video entertainment programs. In one aspect of the invention, three people 451-452 are each wearing glasses, with headphones, in accordance with the present invention and watching the same television 410. Bravia® television 410 includes a screen sharing apparatus described above, and accepts three different video inputs, namely, two Sony PlayStation game consoles 432, 433 and a DVD player 431. The television multiplexes the three different audio/video inputs together as described, and wireless transmits information regarding which visual input is being displayed at any particular time to the glasses. The first person’s (451) glasses are shuttered such that he or she can only see through the glasses when the Terminator movie 461 (playing on DVD player 431) is being shown on the screen of television 410. The second person’s (452) glasses are shuttered such that he or she can only see through the glasses when the MotorStorm game 462 (playing on PlayStation console 432) is being shown on the same television 410. The third person’s (453) glasses are shuttered such that he or she can only see through the glasses when the PacMan game 463 (playing on PlayStation console 433) is being shown on the same screen. The audio corresponding with DVD player 431, and game consoles 432, 433 is also wireless transmitted to the glasses of persons 451, 452 and 453, respectively. In this manner, each person 451-453 can use a single television to listen and watch three different audio/video sources.

Each 3D glasses set contains earphones so that each person can get their specific audio only.

Of course, offering so many simultaneous videos at the same time is a significant technical hurdle, something that Mick Hocking, Director of the Sony Worldwide Studios 3D Team, explained to PSLS when we asked about 3D during SimulView:

So then you’ve got refresh, your challenge then is going to be – if you’re offering 60 frames per second, 60 frames for each eye, times 4, and making sure there’s no bleed through on both… So again, it’s technically possible, but how much light are you going to get to your eyes in that time? You have to think every second you are dividing up the amount of light that can physically travel to your eye into smaller and smaller chunks. It is possible – you could do 4 or 8 players in theory – but you are starting to play with the limitations of the laws of physics.

Could you see yourself using this technology? Share your thoughts in the comments below.