HoloVision is a telecommunications medium for transmitting and receiving three dimensional moving images in either monochrome (typically hues of gold or blue) or in full color. HoloVision may also refer colloquially to the holoprojectors that receive the holovision transmissions. Today, HoloVision is, along with traditional television, one of the primary broadcast methods in New Eden.
HoloVision was first developed by the Gallente during the waning years of the Gallente-Caldari War. The technology to produce projected holograms had been in existence for some time, but this was typically restricted to large holoprojectors reading from bulky holoreels. Movie theaters and closed-circuit networks were typically the only ones to utilize it extensively.
The major developments that brought HoloVision into mass use were a reduction in the size of holoprojectors and a method of transmitting the programs that would not clog the airwaves. HoloVision is thus more a triumph of miniaturization and data compression than anything else, as the technology entered the hands of the general public.
The first HoloVision broadcast was a nightly news reading by The Scope on Gallente Prime. It was thirty minutes long and was simulcast as a traditional television broadcast. The HoloVision broadcast did marginal ratings numbers, as the technology had not been adopted by a wide number of people, but the concept had been proven.
In the coming months, other entertainment companies jumped on the technology. Impetus, with its already broad holoreel investments, was one of the primary backers of the technology. They saw its potential to open a new avenue of consumption for their myriad holoproductions. Within the year, nearly every newly produced Impetus holoprojector was outfitted to receive HoloVision signals.
The technology eventually spread to the other empires; NOH was particularly interested in bringing it to the Caldari. They initially made several attempts to replicate the technology from scratch, though theirs had lower quality than the Gallente's broadcasts. After the war was over, however, they secured licenses to examine the original blueprints and used this to improve their own tech.
The Amarr received the technology from the Caldari, via the Khanid Kingdom. The Minmatar, whom had to rebuild much of their infrastructure from scratch following the Rebellion, picked up the technology last. It has, however, achieved much greater market penetration in the Republic because much of their infrastructure was produced with HoloVision broadcasts in mind, as opposed to repurposing older tech as in the other empires.
HoloVision is broadcast as a digital data stream through the fluid routers, allowing a program to be delivered nearly instantaneously across the entire cluster. The data packet is extremely compressed, utilizing high-level encryption unique to each content provider. The data packet is unencrypted and decompressed locally by the holoprojector through algorithms supplied by content providers. The algorithms are stores in a tuner box that is typically rented - though sometimes purchased - by the consumer.
Roughly 45% of all individuals in New Eden own or have access to a family-owned HoloVision set. The majority of HoloVision sets are in the core-areas of New Eden, where the broadcast infrastructure is the most developed. HoloVision becomes increasingly rare the further removed from the core worlds a system is. The nullsec regions have only minimal access to infrastructure required to carry HoloVision, though recent capsuleer development has enabled it to spread somewhat.
Among the empires, HoloVision has the highest market share in the Minmatar Republic, with nearly 60% of individuals having access to a HoloVision set. This is typically owed to fact that, when HoloVision technology was fully realized, the Minmatar had not fully rebuilt their broadcast infrastructure following the Minmatar Rebellion, allowing them to utilize relay towers specifically designed to carry HoloVision signals. The other empires, conversely, typically retrofitted and repurposed older relay towers, resulting in lower quality signals.
The Gallente Federation comes in second, with a 55% market penetration. However, this number is highly stratified, with shares approaching 100% in large population centers such as Luminaire, and dwindling to near 0% in the outskirts of Solitude. The Caldari State follows with a 45% share, though it is unusual in that a large number of its sets are owned by groups rather than individuals. Many corporate workers living in employee housing do not own their own personal sets, but rather use one owned by an entire floor or building.
The Amarr Empire comes in last, with only 30% of individuals having regular access to a HoloVision set. The majority of these are the nobility or wealthy merchants. Commoners and slaves make due with older television sets or nothing at all.
A nearly unfathomable amount of HoloVision programming is produced on a yearly basis. It covers everything from elaborately produced Gallente dramas to low-budget Amarr religious sermons recorded and broadcast by local churches. It is estimated that if one person were to watch every first-run HoloVision broadcast during a single hour, it would take a year to finish.
In practice, the majority of programs are limited to the areas where the producers have broadcast rights. These rights can range from as little as a single continent or city on a planet, all the way up to empire-wide. No group has first broadcast rights in every area of New Eden, though the Scope comes the closest. It has restricted rights to broadcast in the Caldari State and none in the Amarr Empire, though the Amarr Certified News has an agreement to rebroadcast certain Scope programs.
Impetus is the largest producer of original HoloVision programming, churning out hundreds of thousands of hours of content yearly. NOH comes just behind and rarely outpaces them on a monthly basis. The Scope, Egonics Inc., Quafe Company, the Leisure Group, Echelon Entertainment, and the Amarr Certified News are the other large-scale producers of HoloVision programming in New Eden. Thousands of smaller corporations exist to create local content.
HoloVision mainly has to compete with television broadcasts for its market share. The majority of programming in New Eden is simulcast for both television and HoloVision. This is a financial drain on many companies, but as television continues to hold a 40% market share throughout New Eden, it is a necessary one. There have been repeated plans for expanding HoloVision's reach, but progress has been slowed in recent years by conflict.
Many reasons exist for HoloVision having not reached full market penetration. The major issues all revolve around cost. On the consumer side, a holoprojector can cost two or three times as much as a television of similar image quality. In many poorer areas, especially planets without their own local electronics manufacturing sector, the differential can be pronounced.
On the producer side, equipment to produce HoloVision broadcasts is more costly than traditional video. While this is insignificant to most large- and medium-scale producers, many small-scale planet-based producers simply don't have the budgets to keep up. While many holoprojectors can also play 2d video, they often require adaptors to pick up television signals and the quality of the 2d playback is often inferior to that of a monitor.
Finally, on the carrier side, a large number of outlying relay towers are older models, deployed generations before HoloVision became widespread. While many of these have been refitted to carry HoloVision signals, many others have not. Those that have been refitted are often strained by carrying the highest quality HoloVision signals and CONCORD regulations require that communications have top priority over entertainment broadcasts. During times of high comms traffic, this can lead to interrupted HoloVision service. While television can technically have the same issue, its lower bandwidth requirements make this much less likely.
Replacing the older towers with updated models designed to carry HoloVision signals is extremely costly. No single entity has been willing to pay the full costs of refitting them, while attempts to broker agreements between the many competing companies has proven extremely difficult.
Additionally, many people simply prefer two-dimensional video to three-dimensional holovideo. Television images are crisper, cause less eye-strain, and easier to follow than holovideo. Some producers also prefer it, as it limits the frame of vision of a viewer, allowing for different styles of shooting to create certain artistic effects.