BBC IllumiRoom rival in the works, its own take on possible Xbox 720 tech

The BBC has its own take on Microsoft's IllumiRoom technology dubbed "surround video". The project has been in development since 2006 in the BBC's R&D laboratories.

Rather than using a pair of lenses, like Microsoft's IllumiRoom tech, the BBC uses a single super-wide fish eye lens. IllumiRoom extends any game or movie you might be watching beyond the sides of your television screen. It literally illuminates the room with either the gameplay, or context specific footage, say snow flakes if you were playing a level set in snow in a game.

The difference with the BBC's system, which doesn't use a Kinect to map out the room, is that it doesn't know what surface or shape footage is being projected on to. As such, it won't be able to have objects bouncing off furniture, as the IllumiRoom tech allows.

The BBC is more interested in immersive multimedia and as such, its system is better geared towards watching movies or television. The BBC's R&D labs are a veritable Aladdin's cave of crazy televisual tech. During the build up to the Olympics, the Beeb showed us an experimental broadcast of the opening ceremony filmed in 8K, with 22.2 surround sound.

If you are interested in seeing the BBC's system in action, it will be showing a film at the Sci-fi London festival this weekend entitled Kill Mode. As for IllumiRoom, Microsoft did recently announce that it wouldn't make it out in time for the Xbox 720's launch.  But it may very well be coming soon.