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2 movies 1 room

Two people watching different movies, together!

This crazy idea was invented on 7th July 2012 almost simultaneously by Zyra and Xyroth during a phone conversation using Vonage between Panama and the UK. The reason for writing it up as a Shareware Invention is just in case some cunning electronic gizmo company tries to patent it and charge lots of money for it, we can show that we invented it earlier and are publishing it as Prior Art.

The invention involves the situation where two people want to watch TV together but don't want to watch the same show. It is a strangely shared experience, as the two people enjoy each other's company and are each watching a video, and yet they are not watching the same video, but entirely different things.

Picture this: A couple sit down on their comfy settee to watch TV of a night. They both like tea and popcorn, and they would like to watch TV together, but he would like to watch the footie, and she would like to watch the Darling Buds of May. They decide to watch TV together, but not watch the same thing on the screen.

Well, how can this be done? How can two people watch one big screen and see different shows? It's done using the technology that brought you 3D movies on flat screen TV. In a 3D 100Hz signal, there are two moving images displayed, and the 3D glasses switch on and off the frames so the left eye sees the left image and the right eye sees the right image, so there is a perception of three dimensional vision. In the "Two People Watch Different Movies in the Same Room" idea, the two video streams are alternated between using the 100Hz mechanism, and one person has a pair of 3D glasses with both sides switched as "left", and the other person has a pair of 3D glasses with both sides switched as "right". So, one person sees one movie and not the other, and vice-versa. The soundtrack is another matter, and this can be done by each person having an earphone with their video's soundtrack playing.

There is a certain amount of multi-tasking required, because although the people are in the same room, they are experiencing a different video feed on the screen. In a way it's like being alone watching a video and yet simultaneously being with someone else who is also watching a (different) video, which you can't see.

It's rather odd socially, as one person may suddenly laugh, cheer, weep, or pass comment. It's like the "personal hi-fi" but taken to a further level. In a way, though, it's not antisocial, at least no more than two people being together in a room and each is reading a book. It's quite similar to that, as in the case of the books, the people are each reading a different book and they know the other person isn't in there with them in that book.

If you'd like to try this idea of having two movies watched by two people in the same room, the way to do it is to get a 3D TV and two sets of 3D glasses, and then swap the signals around, or swap the eyepieces around. You might have to hack the technology to achieve this, depending on how considerate the design is. If it's considerate design you should just be able to switch it. Otherwise, you might have to do a bit of DIY.

The idea fits well with the "His and Hers telly", but doesn't scale well to three people each watching a different channel on the same screen. That's because it's an adaption to "stereo TV", and that has only two channels.

Another application of the same idea is for when you want to be with your children, and your children would like to watch Teletubbies, but you can't abide Teletubbies and would prefer to watch The News. This can be achieved, if you select the channels and hand out the headsets. See, you can have more than two people involved in this, but you can only have two channels (unless there's any plans to upgrade 100Hz TV to carry more than two tracks, which is unlikely as people mostly have two eyes).

If you want to keep a watchful eye on the "other channel", you can also have picture out picture on a spare portable TV with the sound turned down.