Panasonic on Entertainment’s Immersive & More Personalized Future

By Lilly Milman |  June 10, 2020

When streaming became mainstream, it opened up a new world of personalized content consumption — one where laptops, smart TVs, tablets, and even smartphones took center stage, ending the days of fighting over a single remote control and television set.

But how might in-home entertainment get even more personal?

Joseph Conover, Panasonic North America

According to Ron Martin of the Panasonic Hollywood Lab and Joseph Conover of Panasonic North America, we’re entering a new era — one with less of an emphasis on shared group experiences and more on individualized, in-home entertainment.

Ron Martin, Panasonic Hollywood Lab

The Hollywood Lab is part of Panasonic’s research and development division. It works with clients like Disney and the Olympic Games to create new kinds of experiences with emerging technologies. That includes large-scale projections and digital displays at theme parks to working with filmmakers to bring the highest quality visuals to homes with Panasonic televisions.

For months now, Martin and Conover have been in conversations about the future of visual experiences and entertainment — often, in relation to large-scale, live events. They’re now imagining a world where immersive and personalized environments can emerge in the home. 

“A lot of those conversations [regarding the need to develop immersive entertainment for the home] are not new to us, but they certainly are more poignant today in the face of the challenges that these live events and the businesses have moving forward,” says Conover, the lab’s National Manager of Strategic Initiatives, in regards to restrictions on large gatherings. 

Here is what they believe a new world of immersive entertainment may look like.

What View Do You Choose? 

“When we talk about the most immersive experiences, what we’re really talking about is emotional attachment to the experience — whether it’s a fan of a music genre and a concert, or a sports team…or the ambiance of a certain environment,” says Martin, Vice President of R&D at the lab. “One of the things that we’re working on aggressively is how we get personalized experiences…to individual families or individuals in those families, where they have an opportunity to pick and choose what they want to pursue… [For example,] stage productions and concerts where you could pick and choose your own camera angle, or focus in on your own favorite artist or sports player.” 

Synchronized Lighting in Your Own Living Space

“Simon and Garfunkel concerts online have just had these tremendous spikes of viewership, and people are remembering what that was like and how enjoyable it was, and a whole new generation is discovering it… There’s discussion going on with distribution companies and production companies about building on this momentum and carrying it forward,” Martin adds. “Do we control the lighting in your living room or in a small theater environment to make you feel that you’re there? Do we do sound enhancement? Do we do interviews, commentaries? All kinds of things begin to open up…and I think it’s interesting to watch how this is redefining how we entertain ourselves.”

Immersive Spaces that Promote Healing and Relaxation

“One of the things about experience design is it’s not always relegated to exciting experiences,” Martin says. “We want to create environments you can heal in. We’re studying how aging communities and hospital guests can heal quicker because their environment is more conducive to the healing process — the impact of lighting and sound in those environments is something that’s being researched… Hospitals are typically sterile, dark places, and we’re just now doing studies on how changing those environments with lighting, and music, and textures on the wall can change the healing time.”

A New Focus on the Individual

“We’re in this industry of entertaining the masses…” Conover says. “Ron and I would judge success by a very large group of people, and how many people in that group are smiling. So, those [things] are different today… How can we take that same shared experience, and bring that down to the individual?”