At San Diego Comic Con, I was lucky enough to see The Future of Home Entertainment, and the future is all about immersion.
Oculus, Samsung, Marvel, Fox, Universal, Sony, WB, and more, all had something to contribute to The Future of Home Entertainment… well I mean they provide all of the entertainment as it is, so it’s not really a surprise that they contribute to the future, but I’ll get to that. Entertainment is changing, the technology, the equipment, the mediums, there is so much more to entertainment now than just watching a movie or television show. Fans are now able to go beyond just watching the movie, which is also immensely upgraded with 4K, but that is just the beginning.
The Future of Home Entertainment Experience, found in the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel during San Diego Comic Con 2017, featured 4 key features: The 4K Blu-Ray display, the Samsung Gear VR, The Mummy VR Experience, and the Alien VR Birth. Aside from the interactive experiences, there was memorabilia from Alien, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and the Terminator 2 4K Collector’s Edition on display. To commemorate the visit, guests were given light up fidget spinners, which are way more addicting than they should be.
The Samsung Gear VR experience, allowed guests to take part in special content designed specifically for the Gear VR. Guests were able to choose between three films, LEGO Batman, Ghost in the Shell, and Suicide Squad. I chose to check out the Ghost in the Shell Experience. As much I disliked the movie, the visuals were impressive and I thought to be able to be in engulfed in that would be pretty cool. It was in fact, very cool, and made me hate the film a little less. But that’s another situation entirely. If you have a Samsung Gear VR, all of these experience and more are available for you in the Gear VR Shop.
The 4K Blu-Ray Experience was a bit disappointing. Visually it was stunning, although I do not believe the television was ISF-calibrated. What disappointed me, is the lack of emphasis on sound. What I think most people never really focus on is the sound quality you get from Blu-Ray and 4K Blu-Ray. With the right speakers, it is a truly engaging experience that often surpasses a lot of movie theater experiences. The 4K Blu-Ray Experience just had a sound bar, and it was turned down. I mean I get that it was a huge open space and sound would either disrupt the area or be completely drowned out, but I feel they could have set up something that could show the depth of sound 4K Blu-Ray offers. A nice 2 tower set up with the volume cranked up can really engulf people in a limited area. Without that, it’s really no different than a standard kiosk at a brick and mortar store.
The Alien Hatching VR experience was, disgusting, in the best way possible. In this experience, you dawn an Oculus headset and experience the birth of an Alien Facehugger. You begin in darkness, listening to a heart beat. The beat progressively gets louder and faster. Then red. You’re in a red encasing, and you hear the sounds of a woman screaming being muffled through your encasing. The red brightens. The heart beats fast. You start to see the silhouette of your body form. The screams and panic build even more from the unseen woman. You hear run across. Then RIP. You tear through your encasing, which turns out to be the body of a person. You exited through the guy’s back and plop on the floor. The woman’s panic is peaked. You scramble a bit then lunge at the woman. Your claws land and dig into her face. Cut to black. It’s a visceral experience that is somehow still terrifying even though you are in the perspective of the Facehugger.
The best part of the experience, hands down, The Mummy VR experience. In this experience, you not only wear a VR headset, you are placed in mechanical egg chair that rotates and leans along with the footage. The experience focused on the process behind creating the thrilling falling plane scene of the movie. I have not seen the movie, but the VR experience of the plane falling scene made me really want to see it. The actors simulate the 0 gravity situation of a falling plan by being in a plane in a controlled dive. That footage alone was very impressive but combined with the motion of the chair, it was as if you were there as well. There’s a moment early on in the demonstration, where an expert on the 0 gravity situation explains the phenomenon the body will go through. As he explains, the chair moves ever so slightly to simulate the process and cause your body to feel the phenomenon explained as they are being explained. It’s a very subtle process, that you don’t realize is happening until you’re in the middle of it. It’s a hell of a ride and a truly engaging and thrilling experience.
The Futur of Home Entertainment is about immersion. Not only will we have movies and television shows in amazing 4K, we will get to be a part of the content in ways we never had before. With the use of VR, we can literally be in the scene or be there during the making of the process. We can not only see everything, we can feel it too. Granted most of us won’t be buying the VR chair anytime soon, but it is coming, and it is truly exciting. The Future of Home Entertainment Experience at San Diego Comic Con was definitely a highlight of the con, and if you get the chance to partake in any of the experiences, I highly recommend taking it. The Future of Home Entertainment is beginning, and it’s going to be one hell of a time.