Visit to the BBC's Blue Room

Visit to the BBC's Blue Room

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By Hywel Wiliam,
Tuesday, 20th August 2013

On August 14th, a small group of RTS Wales Members (above) travelled to the BBC's Broadcast Centre in London to visit the Blue Room, the BBC's media lab, which was set up about four years ago to investigate new television technologies, potential new platforms for BBC output, and the changing nature of consumer behaviour.

Alison HunterThe Blue Room is divided into sections which focus on a number of domestic settings, including a teenager's bedroom (right) and a car interior.  Blue Room demonstrators, Alison Hunter (right) and Garry Green, explained how they had monitored the media use of a sample of teenagers, which showed that "social contact is key", and that crucially, the computer, (and increasingly tablets), rather than television, is their device of choice for consuming and creating content.

Garry demonstrated advances in camera technologies, including a remarkable attachment to a smart phone that records 360 degree video, while the section on emerging displays featured a 4K ultra high definition screen and new paper thin organic LED TVs.  But while interest in 3DTV is currently declining, Alison suggested that, "it won't be long before set manufacturers try to persuade us that 4K is the new 3D".

The remote control is now over 40 years old and new alternatives are being developed.  Garry showed how television displays could be controlled by hand movements, while Alison demonstrated the current problems with voice control, as computers struggle to cope with dialects and accents.  "Whoever manages to get voice control working will be the future Google of media consumption."

This was a very enjoyable visit, which provided a fascinating, hands-on look at a range of emerging technologies, and provided food for thought about how the television experience will develop in the future.

There are more photos on our Facebook page.

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