What to do with a big TV?

We just picked up a 75" TV for super cheap and we're trying to figure out what to do with it. I was thinking maybe we'd set it up vertically (5'6" tall!) and turn it into some kind of "magic mirror" where it does video effects on your reflection or something. Is there any good software out there for that? Any other suggestions?

It's very heavy, so using it as an on-stage prop would be a hassle; it needs to be mounted somewhere. We could just stick it in the DNA Pizza window and use it for signage, but that's not very exciting.

Update: It became the Feedback TV.

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48 Responses:

  1. Holger says:

    Stating the obvious: You should turn it into the official home screen of xscreensaver.

  2. Doug says:

    I enjoyed various visual exhibits at the Exploratorium a couple of years ago that might work. Sweeper Clock was interesting (though admittedly somewhat slow moving!), and so was Sketch Mirror by Daniel Rozin, and there are numerous other interesting exhibits along visual lines that might be portable and fun.

    Sketch Mirror was actually the same idea as was pursued in a CS assignment I had in school, applying various image filters and redrawing the input image with parameterized tools, only it was live and full size at the exhibit.


    • Doug says:

      ETA. In other words, I think your visual mirror idea is a good one, and the Exploratorium might be a good place to look for other interesting ideas too.

  3. What about dressing it up as a window and rotating through public webcams in interesting places?

    • Ivan says:

      Speaking from experience having tried that, most public webcams are either at a boring time, or pointed in the wrong place, or in bad weather, so you need constant manual curation. You might as well make a shuffle playlist of interesting videos, no one really cares whether it's truly live.

  4. nwf says:

    For a brief moment I thought you were asking because a previously had somehow come back from the dead and had ended up in your possession at last.

  5. Dude says:

    Just as a placeholder...

    In lieu of that (and the cool-sounding A/R-mirror idea you mentioned), I'd just set it up to show an endless loop of old video game "Continue?" screens counting down to "Game Over".

  6. tkl says:

    Aside from the suggestions, my main concerns would be:

    a. if it's mounted vertically, the lower edge is going to be near the floor. I'd make super-sure to have it beer-spill-proof (and kick-protected).
    b. some asshole is going to throw shit at it, guaranteed. Maybe put a plate of PMMA in front of it?

    • thielges says:

      Good suggestions. And if a vertical screen is raised a few inches off of the floor, any mirror effects would work for taller people too.

    • jwz says:

      Not my first rodeo, you guys. Protecting shit from drunks and drunks from themselves is like, my whole entire job.

  7. Ooo I know, mount it on a track outside the building and show scenes from inside as it slowly moves back and forth.

  8. I got a free secondhand 55" one that I built inset into a table and put a plexiglass layer on top (to prevent spills). I use it for gaming, but I had hoped to set up a gestural interface but that turned out to be a lot of work.

  9. John Paxton says:

    All of these probably wind up costing an additional chunk of money, but...

    1. They Live

    A. AR setup with a camera, step in front of the TV, show up as either normal or as one of the aliens (randomized, of course).
    B. Tied to camera(s) elsewhere in the club, which provide a live sunglasses feed of who's human, who's not, and what's propaganda.

    2. Tron

    A. Render the MCP. You can interact with it in various ways, maybe via a limited button pad?
    B. There's gotta be an insta/snap-esque Tron-ify me filter out there, right?

    3. MAME

    A. Limited MAME display with a set of fun games. I imagine that keeping it up and running could be a serious pain in the ass, though.
    • jwz says:

      All of you keep suggesting "Hey why don't you write a bunch of really difficult, probably-impractical code yourself."

      tl;dr "No."

    • Not Frank says:

      I'll admit I had the "They Live" idea, but rejected it because it seemed unlikely it was available in an easily usable form already, plus the lag would be murder on it, etc.

      Though I liked my thought where anyone facing the camera showed as normal, anyone facing away was an alien.

  10. Ryan says:

    A live feed from the photo booth might be cute and show some behind-the-scenes-type stuff and exposed artifice of creating a "moment", but also might be a disincentive to use the photo booth since it's usually meant to be for you when you're in there and not be something performative (though performative probably overlaps with your clientele more than most).

    It might be neat to use it like a door or window (as suggested previously), but to provide the view into something unexpected, like some back-of-house hallway or walk-in or something contextually out of place, as opposed to just a slideshow or...well, screensaver.

    Or I'd be intrigued to be there and find it as a small time capsule. If it were a mirror, but with some artificial lag, so staring into it and interacting with yourself imparted some trippy/hazy aspect. But that might seem like it's just bad tech that can't do realtime as opposed to an intentional blurring.

    So maybe push the idea further and have it be a feed from exactly 7 days prior (or just one day prior if you don't want to store that many hours somewhere on disk?). Or it could be always offset by 12 hours, to create a weird day/night swap and commentary on the prep and difference a place looks with the lights on when it's currently dark, and the constant crush of humanity when you're prepping to do it all over again that night....

    The funhouse/magic mirror idea seems like the most straightforwardly-good option, though.

    • Elusis says:

      Partner with another club somewhere that keeps similar hours/days, each of you put up the big display and a webcam, and allow people from one venue to see the others, & vice versa. Let folks interact.

      • jboy says:

        This is a great idea.

        But the bandwidth...

      • jboy says:

        Actually, forget the bandwidth. This is a really great idea!

        (For some reason, I had in mind that the screens would be connected by some kind of uncompressed ultra ultra high-definition video link. But you said webcam, so for even the highest-quality webcam, it's basically just a Skype call. No bandwidth problem at all.)

        So matching club hours (really, timezones) is the biggest constraint. What a shame that timezones prevent you from connecting to like-minded clubs across the world: Berlin, London, Melbourne, Tokyo. That would be amazing.

        It would still be awesome to create a mesh-like network of nearby clubs in similar timezones. It could stretch all the way round to Toronto and New York.

      • Phil says:

        Read the short story Silver Fire by Greg Egan for an interesting implementation of that idea.

  11. prefetch says:

    Hook into the fancy new POS system, show real-time sales graphs, gamify consumption. E.g. 4 drinks shown, each assigned a song, the one in the lead at the end of a set will be played. RGB lighting? Buy a drink, set the color. First to 20 Wins A Prize™. (Or use pizza flavors if RSA is a concern.) More compelling incentives are left as an exercise for the reader.

  12. margaret says:

    put a sportsball station on it. many people seem to like sportsball, beer, and pizza.

  13. jboy says:

    You have cameras pointed at the stage, right?

    Set the TV up outside (above) the front entrance to the club, so that people queuing to get in can get a glimpse of the cool shit they're queuing for. And passers-by can see that they're missing out on something cool. (Apply a blur to nudey details as necessary for performer privacy / city regulations.)

    Or if you have a smoking room / chill-out room / DNA Pizza / Above DNA without a direct view of the stage, set it up so that smokers/chillers/eaters know when to rush onto the main floor to catch the song or act they've been waiting for.

    Or hell, just mount it behind the bar, so that people queuing to give you money for beer don't feel like they're missing out on the show while they're facing the bar rather than the stage.

    • jboy says:

      For dance nights, you could instead have a live feed of the dance floor from above. Seeing a live feed of a dance floor going crazy would be a pretty decent incentive to get in line if you like fun.

  14. jwz says:

    These are some of the most boring-ass suggestions I can imagine. You people are really outdoing yourselves.

    • jboy says:

      Well what do you want to do with it? Make pretty colors on the dance floor? Entertain drunk people off the dance floor? Be a destination that people visit, or something that briefly amuses passers-by? Do you want to use it for video or computer graphics?

      It may be that to much of your reading audience, cool = novel+unique = requires code. You've said no coding. (And yes, most real-time video detection of human bodies requires fancy code, if you want to do anything more than draw a bounding-box around them. So that rules out magic mirrors that simulate full-body X-rays, Terminator skeletons, melting faces, being on fire, etc, if it doesn't already exist as a mobile app. Surely real-time dog-face filters aren't really your thing.)

      Do you want to mount it upright on the dance-floor and have procedurally-generated gogo dancers? (I have no idea if that exists already in software. Just throwing out ideas that seem technically plausible.)

      Do you want to mount it upright on a hallway wall and mount a real-time video camera on the opposing wall, so people entering the club can see what they look like from behind? Bonus points if you mount a UV light overhead so goths can check for lint.

      You could buy a second TV, mount it on the opposing wall, mount 2 video cameras, introduce a 1-second delay in each video-feed, and create a headache-inducing psychedelic hall-of-mirrors. (Surely there must be some analog component to do that...)

      Or do you just want to mount it upright on the wall so that people can play life-size Tetris?

  15. Rob says:

    I just discovered ProjectM music visualization and it's pretty nice, it's the open-source child of winamps "Geiss" plugin

  16. Moofie says:

    Two possibilities come to mind for the screen, both of which require no new code:
    1, tail -f /var/log/apache2/ to see all the website access attempts
    2, Apple ][ screensaver module to show how few pixels it takes to fill the 75" screen

  17. Nick gully says:

    Put VU meters over all the toilets and urinals, have a leader board for loudest emissions.

  18. cpt says:

    Have it display loops of the computer playing itself at DEFCON? (The videogame version of Global Thermonuclear War from WarGames -- fantastic stuff, you can see it on YouTube)

  19. Alemyriad Nullscope720ias Aloenuts says:

    Unconventional pizza foldings demos. Calzone eversions to manifolds and the generative modular architectures Bruce Sterling was into. Suggested pizzas based not least on inventory (Who's gonna eat all this _0xHebrewGlyphsCutSeiten_ and _0xThaiGlyphsCutPimento_ or _0xTilapia_?)

    Since it's Attract Mode, maybe pix of wrapped pizza and the local marketshare winner microgreens or hoary-ass grown greens with FINISH HIM so people have excuses to restock.

    Conference proceedings of SIGGRAPH, ALA (like the semantic web convolver and synopsis writing automation parts), some HMI conferences, lessee... Edited for and by only the unintelligible words and maybe demos. Intercut with some 1.5x ...5x (podcast style pitch filters) or backwards played chorus sections from band or show bits?

    Is there a complement to Pouet or Assembly that's needed? (Sino Pouet?)

    That DNN hallucination thing set to make people (esp. dancing people? esp. in a canny place for dancing and watching the band and/or TV) look like the band or another show and/or dancing or playing like the band (and so on) seems nice. I mean, not in compute terms...

    Maybe cool down the GPUish bits and just show up-rezzed Richard Simmons exercise and film things with Tucker Carlson's head mapped on it. Audio hallucinations drawing words round robin or saying polarizing political things about the parts or humans being exercised optional. Not sure about Tucker-Richard emote mapping either, that sounds extra.

    How many fps should even be attempted? 29? 14? 58?

    How many people are gonna get neck cramps from trying to get stereo sound (and/or dance or recover) while watching a Portrait TV, lol?

  20. Dvae says:

    If you are willing to accept a limited amount of video effects for your magic mirror, cheese in kiosk mode should be able to do what you want out of the box:


    (I like the idea of the "kung-fu" filter which appears to be a bit of delay and overlay, and should truly confuse the drunks)

  21. bub says:

    flubbly pixel is one column off

  22. Simon says:

    How about something like Nat's Retroscope (original blogpost from 2005 long gone and not on the Wayback Machine but here's a post about someone recreating it) where he hooked up a video camera to a Tivo, hit pause for a few minutes and then hit play and basically had a TV showing 5 minutes in the past.

    Inspired by the original idea I did the same thing at a party once and it was pretty memerising for people.

    • k3ninho says:

      It's on the wrong side of the no-code edict, but I'd venture retrograde 24hr news TV a few minutes (hours or maybe a day) late with the hosts replaced with their They Live forms.


      • thielges says:

        True but the coding is not too difficult.

        It is simple effect that customers could be inventive with. On a few seconds delay you could dance with yourself. On a one day delay, hang out with last night’s crowd. Delay a week or month and regulars can hang out with their former selves. Rotate through some interesting intervals every few minutes.

        And though it requires curation, create a reel of best dressed customers.

        Of course eventually some will call for those tic toc “put cat ears on my head and give me whiskers” effect. But just wait a few weeks and the fad will fade.

  23. Edward says:

    It's Microsoft stuff, but...

    Beat Saber + Kinect: https://github.com/Caeden117/KinectForBeatSaber , https://old.reddit.com/r/beatsaber/comments/bwqe3r/i_got_a_kinect_working_with_beat_saber/

    Get fit post-COVID while cutting shapes! Every Monday at Deathguild!

  24. Chris says:

    I'm a little late to the party and wondered if you'd just dismiss this as too much work, but I had two ideas.

    1) Hook up a camera to it with a small computer, and have it draw those little classifier rectangles around people. Of course, people might think you were collecting data on them, but I thought it would be a weird artistic statement.

    2) As a joke, do the thing that they had in the movie 'LA Story' where it would identify famous people in a crowd and do mini-bio about them about how famous they were.

    You could do something similar, -- draw a box around someone and then come up with a fantastical set of facts about them. "Famous Unicorn Wrangler" or something.

    Again, WAY too much code for what you're after.

    The simplest suggestion is -- place it somewhere near the entrance, camera people coming in, but time-delay it so that people can see themselves walking in. People love to see themselves on TV for some reason.

    • ailepet says:

      It actually exists! I've witnessed it at a Technopolice exhibition in Marseille some months ago. I'll message the people behind the event and ask them if the code is shared somewhere.

  25. lpgl says:

    Use it for a ticket slot machine that can recognize DNA Lounge entrance ticket bar code : can win free drink with the ticket

  26. Chris says:

    Big Game of Life display?

  27. Joe Luser says:

    mood ring. based off of something from your nifty new pos system. or noise level. or room temperature or something. with a broad enough palette so the color drifts very slowly and is never clearly seen to be changing