I remember the first time I saw a 42” Sony Bravio screen. It blew me away, even though I knew the shop demo was an HD DVD. I bought one and never looked back - I couldn't it's had me hynotised! TVs have become larger but the room size houses remains the same, and in modern houses is getting smaller, so the whole balance between screen and room tips towards the dominance of the screen. Your lounge becomes a cinema.
The optimal viewing distance for a 42” TV is around 14 feet or well over four metres (3.5 times diameter of screen). The TV is therefore scanning the whole room like radar, sucking you in. DVD, HD and CD quality sound make it even more alluring. Only someone who doesn’t really like TV would now buy a small screen or those annoying people who are so very snooty about TV, games, the internet and anything else that comes through a screen (except the cinema - which they'll bore you on for hours).
Big screen – big brain?
What’s interesting is the increase in ‘suspension of disbelief’, which is tangible, especially when watching movies. Interestingly, it also affects memory. In research by Nass and Reeves at Stanford (The Media Equation, Nass and Reeves, Cambridge University Press) 125 adults viewed segments showing a variety of scenes, on two different screen sizes. They concluded that picture size does affect memory. The bigger the screen the better the retention. Interestingly screen size also affected levels of arousal and their evaluation of the content, the larger screen eliciting more positive evaluations.
Big screens for e-learning?
What’s interesting here is the possibility that larger screens may significantly enhance the effectiveness of e-learning. It also has some interesting consequences for mobile learning, as the effectiveness of the learning, conversely, is likely to be considerably diminished. I notice this when I view pop videos or YouTube clips on iPODS or mobiles, they are nowhere near as watchable or funny on the smaller screen.