How Big Should a TV Be?

What’s the ultimate in TV? I mean, we all agree that we want a huge TV, right? Who wouldn’t? Isn’t that what life’s about? We want our TVs to be somewhere between the viewscreen on the bridge of the USS Enterprise and the jumbotron at Comerica Park, right?

At what point, though, does it stop making sense? Clearly when TVs get much above 100″ diagonal, HDTV stops being enough. You have to have 4K or QuadHD or whatever to get a really smooth effect. Maybe in the future we’ll all have Super Hi-Vision displays giving us a 33 megapixel still frame, although no one really knows how to broadcast that yet.

If you ask me, the perfect size for a screen is about 7′ wide. That’s a 96″ diagonal. But perhaps I’m a man of simple means. I would want that to be a direct-view screen, not a projector. My windows are 7′ wide and I just want a TV that is the same size as a window.

In fact, if you really want to know, I want a TV that doubles as a window. If it were really possible I’d like the screen to be completely transparent when I wanted to look outside, and I would want it to block 100% of the outside light and give me a bright picture when I wanted to watch TV. They had something like that in Back to the Future Part II so it should be available any day, right?

Actually, we’re not that far away from that. Samsung showed a prototype transparent screen at last year’s CeBIT show and it wouldn’t take much to add a couple of layers of electrochromic material to block out the light from the window. You’d have to find a way to backlight it or sidelight it effectively but I have a feeling it could be done. You would then have the ultimate in disappearing home theatre gear, and possibly an answer to discord in the living room.

On the other hand, I might also want that TV to be reflective sometimes. Backlight is nice when it’s dark but it might be nice if the screen could be completely reflective like a photograph. That way, just like in the movies I could “look out the window” and see whatever I want to see. High contrast reflective displays are probably years off, though.

In the meantime, I’ll go out on a limb and say, one of those 96″ direct view transparent screens for every room in the house. Where to send the bill? Uhhhh… let me think…