At last, a way to end squabbles over which TV channel to watch - without buying a second set. Sharp Corp. has developed a liquid-crystal display that shows totally different images to people viewing the screen from the left and the right.
One person can be surfing the Internet, using the display as a PC screen, while another watches a downloaded movie or TV broadcast. It also works for watching two TV channels: One person can watch baseball while another watches a soap opera.
The “two-way viewing-angle LCD,” announced by the Japanese consumer electronics maker Thursday, will go into mass production this month and will cost roughly twice as much as a standard display.
According to the article, the new technology will still allow for a single show/screen to be displayed in both directions during those rare moments of channel surfing synchrony. (This is a rather obvious feature on reflection, since it likely just sends the same signal both directions. <shrug>) Aside from the issue of overlapping soundtracks, which likely will require one or both users to wear headphones, I think this is a really sweet piece of technology. It’s like those things that you can turn back and forth and different pictures show up, except that you can play videogames on it. ;-)
Something like this could also really revolutionize net parties by permitting two people to play at one monitor. Assuming the unit has two separate video inputs (and that they’re making a VGA/DVI compatible version) each person could connect his own computer (no offense to Annarchy :-P) and play from either side of the single two-way monitor. Super space-saver! Multi-console multiplayer games (e.g., Halo) might also work out well, though the audio conflict might be harder to resolve (convert from RCA to 1/8” headphone plug and route through a four-way splitter to individual headsets).
Regardless of the various minor issues, the boon to domestic tranquility from this thing is undeniable. Er, well... it’ll do okay until TV watcher number three gets home. :-P