FED Used to View Internet, TV at Same Time

Jul 17, 2008
Naoki Tanaka, Tech-On!
The "Anobar" net-dedicated display terminal and its remote controller
The "Anobar" net-dedicated display terminal and its remote controller
[Click to enlarge image]
A sample display of messages posted on a 2channel (a Japanese Internet forum) "Live Thread"
A sample display of messages posted on a 2channel (a Japanese Internet forum) "Live Thread"
[Click to enlarge image]
A sample display of an updating frequency graph for a 2channel "Live Thread" (the names of the stations and programs are fictional)
A sample display of an updating frequency graph for a 2channel "Live Thread" (the names of the stations and programs are fictional)
[Click to enlarge image]
Clock display
Clock display
[Click to enlarge image]
Main menu display
Main menu display
[Click to enlarge image]

Have you can ever wished you could see other viewers' reactions and comebacks while watching TV or casually read the latest news and incoming emails in any place?

"Anodos Inc," a venture company engaged in planning, designing, prototyping and consultation concerning information devices, is developing devices that realize these new ways of enjoying TV and the Internet at the same time.

The company is headed by Hideki Mori, who served as evangelist at Microsoft Corp and vice president at Dwango Co Ltd (a Japanese company developing and marketing ringtones and middleware for game consoles).

Internet-dedicated display terminal placed near a TV

Anodos considered an "Internet-dedicated display terminal," which can be placed and viewed alongside of TVs, is necessary to realize those new ways of enjoying TVs and the Internet. Viewers have to move their line of sight much to view both TV screen at a distance of several meters and PC monitor screen as close as 50cm.

"Your eyes and neck would be exhausted and you can't relax and amuse yourself in that way," Mori said. He insisted that if a network display terminal is placed beside a TV, "You can easily watch both TV programs and real time content on the Internet at the same time, without moving your line of sight much."

To give shape to this idea, Anodos has developed the "Anobar," a bar-shaped net-dedicated display terminal measuring 354 (w) x 85.5 (h) x 97mm (d) and weighing about 2kg (live broadcasting of the Anobar).

Users can view text content running from right to left on the 640 x 96 resolution display screen from a distance of 1 to 5m. Anodos assumes that viewers can enjoy reading headlines and summaries of news and blog sites or messages posted on the "Live Thread" of 2channel (a Japanese Internet forum) that are displayed on the Anobar, while watching TVs.

The company employed an FED (field emission display) for the display part. It focused on employing a light-emitting display that can show horizontally running text bars more brightly and clearly without blurring them, compared with LCD panels, Anodos said. The prototype uses a color FED manufactured by Futaba Corp.

To enable viewers to enjoy both TV and Internet content without changing their line of sight, another approach would be to display Internet content on the TV screen. Such technologies include the "acTVila" network service, which delivers content to digital TVs connected with broadband lines, and Sony Corp's "Applicast" Internet content browsing technology found on its digital TVs.

Commenting on these technologies, Mori said, "It's difficult for them to smoothly run text horizontally on the screen due to poor performance of microprocessors used for digital TVs."

Anodos plans to deliver the "Anobar" net-dedicated display terminal to content developers for monitoring from October 2008. To commercialize the technology, "We must lower its price to less than ¥30,000 (≠ US$285)," Mori said.

It cost slightly less than ¥200,000 to manufacture the prototype. As the development was aimed at "giving form to the idea of a net-dedicated display terminal and proposing it to the world, the company hasn't given much thought to the cost," Mori added.

Mori feels that "It's quite possible that we can realize pricing less than ¥30,000 by being selective about what functions to include, as well as cutting component costs."