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Sony allows would-be TV owners to size up virtual models using AR


August 23, 2011

Sony UK has announced an online tool that allows TV buyers to place a marker in a room, ta...

Sony UK has announced an online tool that allows TV buyers to place a marker in a room, take a photo and then virtually try out different sized screens via an enhanced image

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Augmented reality (AR) seems to be touching almost every part of our lives at the moment. It's bringing arcade games to life, keeping back seat kids entertained during long journeys, offering on-the-spot translations and helping us to see the world in a different light. Now, Sony UK has developed an online tool that uses AR to help users visualize a new big screen TV in their home without needing to resort to a tape measure, or just leaving it to guess work and hoping for the best.

There was a time when the humble TV would likely be found occupying a similar corner space in just about every house you visited. The goggle box has become much flatter and thinner in recent years, with more and more moving from the dedicated TV stand to the living room walls. Sony says that consumers tend to downsize their screen choice when shopping in stores in the belief that the bigger screens just won't fit - only to find that their choice is too small when it's delivered.

Sony UK has announced the development of an online TV Size Guide tool to help consumers decide which model is the best fit for their living room. The tool uses augmented reality to let users see the big screen TV installed in the location of choice before it even leaves the store.

With the marker in place, take a photo of the space you'd like your TV to fill and then up...

A user first needs to download an online template and print it off at home. This is then placed in the desired location of the new TV - either mounted on a wall or on a flat horizontal surface. The user then takes a photo with a camera or smartphone and uploads the image to the tool's web page. The TV Size Guide tool will recognize the marker and replace it in the rendered image with the chosen TV, automatically working out the scale from the size of the template marker. Users can choose different sized TVs until the best fit is found, and images can be saved to thumbnails to compare views/sizes and then the augmented scene downloaded in PDF format.

Have a look at the demo from Sony and see if you think it will be useful to you.

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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