Televisions (TVs) and VR Head-Mounted Displays (VR HMDs) are used in shared and social spaces in the home. This thesis posits that these displays do not sufficiently reflect the collocated, social contexts in which they reside, nor do they sufficiently support shared experiences at-a-distance. This thesis explores how the role of TVs and VR HMDs can go beyond presenting a single entertainment experience, instead supporting social and shared use in both collocated and at-a-distance contexts. For collocated TV, this thesis demonstrates that the TV can be augmented to facilitate multi-user interaction, support shared and independent activities and multi-user use through multi-view display technology, and provide awareness of the multi-screen activity of those in the room, allowing the TV to reflect the social context in which it resides. For at-a-distance TV, existing smart TVs are shown to be capable of supporting synchronous at-a-distance activity, broadening the scope of media consumption beyond the four walls of the home. For VR HMDs, collocated proximate persons can be seamlessly brought into mixed reality VR experiences based on engagement, improving VR HMD usability. Applied to at-a-distance interactions, these shared mixed reality VR experiences can enable more immersive social experiences that approximate viewing together as if in person, compared to at-a-distance TV. Through an examination of TVs and VR HMDs, this thesis demonstrates that consumer display technology can better support users to interact, and share experiences and activities, with those they are close to.
Publication: Supporting Collocated And At-A-Distance Experiences With TV and VR Displays, 2016. University of Glasgow DOI Link