New Speaker Technology Could Let Two People Watch Different Programs on TV at the Same Time

January 19, 2016 | Elizabeth Knowles

split screen television
Photo credit: Image courtesy of Audio Spotlight

You won’t have to listen to anyone’s show but your own!

Since the average American spends 2.8 hours a day watching television, it is logical to think that there are times where two people living in the same household might not agree on what to watch. Sure, many homes now own more than one television, but with screens growing bigger every year, why shouldn’t two people be able to sit together and enjoy each other’s company while also watching two completely different programs?

That’s what Holosonics thought when they developed their new Audio Spotlight speakers that they recently demonstrated at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

“Whether for taking the mute off split screen television so a couple can curl up on the couch together to watch two completely different shows, or for limiting those action movie explosions to the arm chair and not the kitchen island, Audio Spotlight speakers afford everyone their own personal taste without having to retreat to separate rooms in the house,” says Holosonics in a press release.

As explained on their website, the speaker works sort of like a flashlight. It uses ultrasonic energy to direct the sound in a particular direction through a narrow beam that can target a specific location and listener. Sound drops off by 90 percent at a single step away from the beam.

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The ideal listening distance is three to six feet (one to two meters) from the speaker, but the company claims that they have had a speaker mounted on top of an eight-story building and that listeners could still clearly hear the sound on the ground. Of course, everything also depends on ambient noise and objects in the beam’s path.

If you still can’t see yourself watching a show or movie on a split TV screen, Holosonics offers some more uses for their technology: “Audio Spotlight speakers can also be used to enjoy TV or music in bed, without impeding on a spouse's ability to slumber soundly right next to you, or for increasing the listening level for the hard of hearing at a particular seat, without drowning everyone else out in the rest of the room.”

If these arguments doesn’t have you one hundred percent convinced about using these speakers in your home, what about in a museum or a library? They could be a more sanitary or comfortable alternative to headphones.

Watch the speakers in action in a video from the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) below:

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