Chris Craiker, The Architex Angle: The Future of Home Entertainment | Home and Garden Columnists


After over two years of pandemic cocooning, we all know how important our personal home entertainment gear has become. Video screens have gotten bigger, thinner and sharper and are now the focal point of every living room and bedroom. When we watch old reruns, we can often date the film based on the size and thickness of the desk monitor or television.

But the future of home entertainment won’t be bigger screens. Get ready for the next generation of home entertainment: holography.

One cannot look to the future without knowing the past. We tend to think of television and color television as fairly recent inventions, but interestingly the first mention of “colour television” was a 1904 German patent for a primitive type of system.

In 1925 a Russian patent was granted for an all-electronic system that required a cathode ray tube. The first black and white television was developed in 1927 by Philo T. Farnsworth, a 21 year old inventor. CBS created the first state-licensed commercial color television system in 1953, but it went virtually unnoticed as few people owned color televisions until their popularity exploded in the 1960s.

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My father, a working class postman, was tinkering with a mail order TV set in 1949 and as a child I saw the first episodes of the cartoons Hopalong Cassidy and Felix the Cat. What was really cool was the 30-foot antenna my dad built—my first neighborhood status symbol.

Does AR/VR have a future?

Augmented reality and virtual reality or AR and VR in the form of head-mounted display devices are interesting and utterly drug-consuming experiences, but they have limited resolution and a narrow field of view. The eye cannot focus freely and perceive realistic viewing experiences. Although they contain limited holographic sensors, technically they only see images on a flat screen. Who wants to walk around with a heavy head-mounted gizmo? Do you remember 3D glasses? They flopped; these will too.

Get ready for holographic technology

While a hologram might seem futuristic, many of us remember Princess Leia from Star Wars: A New Hope 45 years ago. It actually goes back earlier. In 1947, in an attempt to refine the electron microscope, scientist Dennis Gabor used filtered light beams to perform a translation. He coined the word from the Greek holos, means “whole” and grammar, meaning “message”. It was not until the 1960s, with the invention of laser technology, that holography could begin its triumphant advance.

Basically, a holography is the process of creating three-dimensional projections of any object using beams of light or lasers that are visible to our eyes. No glasses, camera or special equipment are needed. We’ve seen dead musicians perform and Holocaust survivors tell their stories.

Holography will transform the entertainment industry from the top down. Based in Silicon Valley, Light Field Lab has impressive technology for high definition holographic display platforms with high realism, accuracy and clarity. However, don’t look for it on Amazon just yet.

The future of home entertainment and the industry itself will lie in being able to remotely experience a concert, a news event or our grandchild’s first steps while sitting in our living room without boarding a plane.

The pandemic has shown that the entire entertainment industry needs to turn around to reach its customers. Concerts, cinemas and CDs are a thing of the past, along with traditional television. While everyone has been consumed by the classic 2-D digital displays, the next experience will be holographic projections of your favorite artist, musician or maybe even an architect in your living room.

Chris D Craiker AIA/NCARB and his 8-track cassettes are waiting for a revival.

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