Smell-O-Vision (4D TV) Coming to You Soon

Smell-O-Vision will soon be a reality. You will be able to smell what is going on in your favorite movie or television show. Some refer to this phenomenon as “4D” since it adds another dimension to the 3D experience currently available.

Imagine watching TV at home and a commercial for McDonald’s comes on. You may be able to actually smell the Big Mac and fries. Or you may be watching Downton Abbey and catch a whiff of Lady Grantham’s perfume accompanied by a convenient button on the side of the screen that allows you to order her scent.

The Scent of Elegance

The Scent of Elegance

This new dimension in entertainment will remake and create industries. Especially once 4D TV makes it’s way in to a significant number of households. The perfume and cologne industry have much to gain from 4D. Food and dining establishments could also use this technology to promote their products. But what about the more subtle influences and uses of 4D TV?

Smell is a direct path to the emotional center of our minds. A familiar smell can spark an intense memory. A disgusting scent can cause instant dislike.

Smell Connects Directly to Emotion in the Brain

Smell Connects Directly to Emotion in the Brain

What would it be like to watch The President speak on TV and occasionally smell his after shave? That’s an endorsement Gillete might like to have! Or what if a political candidate decided to pipe in the smell of apple pie into your living room as you watched his speech? How might that effect the way you perceive that person? On the dark side of things, what if CNN brought you the smell of war and it’s aftermath? That memory might stick with you for quite some time.

In elementary school I did a science project that explored the link between scent and taste. I will never forget how participants in the project could be induced into having taste hallucinations simply by introducing a smell while they were eating. Smell has a big influence on how many of us perceive the world. The power of smell should not be underestimated.


31 thoughts on “Smell-O-Vision (4D TV) Coming to You Soon

    1. suegiplaye

      This sounds really exciting. To be able to smell what you are watching will really enhance your viewing experience. I love how the movie industry is always looking for new ways to make more money. I love going to see 3D movies, now imagine going to see 4D movies. Incredible!

  1. Becky

    Ever since the year 2000 i have really been wondering where our flying cars, personal jet packs, transporters, and smell-o-vision are. thank goodness for one of them, its about time (way passed time!)

  2. Kenneth Wrath

    I remember as a child, which was a long time ago, that many cinemas toyed with subliminal marketing. It consisted of flashing single frame images on the screen, which are not consciously recognized because it takes 3 frames for the mind to have an image imprinted. But subconsciously the image is retained. In conjunction with the single frame image the smell of fresh popcorn and butter was pumped through the theater ventilation system. It worked because popcorn sales sky-rocketed.

    I think the reason it was stopped is because the public perceived subliminal advertising as brainwashing, with books being written on the subject that we all negative. Maybe this time around, if not abused too badly, it will stick around. After all, 3D was a hit then faded away too. Now 3D looks to be back to stay, so maybe another forgotten dimension to visual entertainment will take hold again as well.

  3. MumOf5

    As a pregnant person, I’d just like to remind the inventors that the world is full of DISGUSTING smells, so let’s keep smell-o-vision to the good smells. Please don’t add smell to any cop shows or crime scene shows or hospital shows, etc! thank you!

  4. Mike Miller

    On the one hand, smelling the jungle when watching a movie set in the Amazon rain forest, or the ocean while watching a pirate movie would add a lot to the entertainment factor. Even the smell of a wet dog, a stable, cordite (spent ammunition), or the stench of decomposition would help draw in a viewer and, disgusting as they are, make the movie much more realistic and memorable.

    However, being bombarded with a cologne/perfume scent by a retailer I wouldn’t want. Retailers would line up to add smells to movies. For example, distillers pay a lot to have their labels appear on the bottle of a drink poured for an actor. Car manufacturers supply movie production companies with vehicles, and pay to have their current model driven by the good guy in a car chase (not so much the villains). So to add the smell of a good scotch whiskey or that new car smell to the scene if the technology existed would be a given. I just would prefer not to have yet another of my senses manipulated by marketers.

  5. Emilie

    What does everyone think about it being called “4D?” I don’t like this. We really need another name for these ideas other than referring to them as 4D. 4D should not be a term used for adding physical activity to a 3D movie experience; 4D should not be the term used to add scent to a television program; 4D should not be the term used for the new look they have for ultrasounds; 4D should not be term used to describe personalities or getting high. I’ve always understood the fourth dimension is time (after length, width, and depth). 4D is becoming over-used jargon that is slowly getting to the point where it doesn’t mean anything at all.

  6. Darrin

    This is awesome! I understand how sensitive we can be when it comes to the sense of smell. But to actually experience the smells of things that we watch on TV, that’s gonna be so intense! I love the idea! Although thinking about the aftermath effects that you mentioned like smelling war and other stuffs like that, it’s kinda scary a little now that you pointed it out. But how does this work? What we see is what we smell? So even if we’re beside the TV if we’re not watching we won’t smell anything? Does it work like that?

  7. Brianna

    I would love to have one of these at our house. I’m sure my favorite cooking and lifestyle channels would be more alive now that I will be able to smell them. And knowing how this sort of things works and makes us smell what’s in it for real is the most interesting part about this article.

  8. Jasmine Whitehouse

    The first thing that came to mind as I read your post was how parental controls would work if ever it was available as an add on to home entertainment centers. I’m a mom and with 3 small boys I can only imagine the stench I’d have to deal with if they were given the freedom to play around with smell-o-vision.

  9. Miranda

    Imagine the new advertising opportunities that will be created when the 4D TV becomes fully commercialized. Advertise pizza with the smell, arouse your senses with the smell of a perfume, and you may even entice someone to go on a vacation by making them smell the salty air of the beach. The experience of watching tv will become far more engaging than today and it’ll truly be an amazing experience in my opinion.

  10. Renee J

    Maybe because I’m studying to be a litigation lawyer the first thing that came to mind was the potential for personal injury claims. Permeate a home or even a cinema with odours some people may either be allergic to or find offensive and you’re inviting being sued. It’s a great concept to enhance the movie or TV viewing experience but one fraught with danger from a product liability perspective.

  11. sazzydan2

    I think this would be a really great way of watching television, to be able to actually smell what is going on in the movie, not so much if you are watching a movie with bad things lets just say!

    It would bring a whole new level to cooking programs though!

    1. oportosanto

      That is true, but I think it would be extremely hard to reproduce. In our homes surely it’s not possible, while on movie theaters maybe, but that would mean a massive investment and to be honest I am not seeing any financial return on that.

  12. nss

    I find this absolutely amazing as well as bizarre! A year ago I read an article about an idea of a little cone attachment to add to your phone via the headphone port that allows you to send others scents from all around the world. I thought it was nuts! This is such an interesting concept and I would absolutely love to smell that downton abbey perfume 😉

  13. Jasmine2015

    I think ” smell-o-vision” is a cool concept. You would no longer have to imagine what that juicy hamburger smells like but you could experience it in the comfort of your home. Though I have questions I would like to ask. What if you are watching picture in picture? Would the TV produce smells from both shows or just the main show on tv? If you are watching a movie or playing a video game, would the TV still produce a smell or would video game companies and movie companies have to implement some programming so that the TV can produce smells as you are playing?

  14. Liv6

    I think that advertisement and marketing would involve to a whole new level with this capability; why not touch more than just the two senses of sight and hearing while attempting to sell your product? Obviously, this may lead to worsening global health problems, such as obesity, for many following food commercials/shows. Yet, it would certainly provide the opportunity for new experiences with entertainment and media. I personally admire the idea, although I believe it would be difficult and costly to pull off.

  15. Freelancepreneur

    Honestly I suppose it’s better late than never but in general, it’s missed it’s chance to shine. As most of us seem to evolving more into the use of mobile phones and other portable devices, it won’t really ever get much use via an actual TV. In fact, it’s more likely that you will end up on a bus one day and be smelling someones tablet from a distance. Quite the awkward conversation starter, eh?

  16. lomcfad

    I can’t imagine how this would work across the nation. When I think of a tv is made, how would they get the same smell to come out of every tv? If it were possible, I think it should be limited to what smells can or cannot be used. Nothing that can alter an important decision should be allowed. The Disney channel once had a show or a few shows that had smell interaction. They advertised little sheet of paper that could be mailed to viewers. The viewers watched the show and as the smell came up, they scratched the smell on the paper and then could smell what was going on. This is more practical and just for the fun of it. I can see something on t.v. and imagine the smell. I don’t think I need a t.v. for that. I am not sure how I would feel about a 4d t.v.

  17. turtledove

    This seems like a really interesting idea, and theoretically, it sounds great. However, I’m not sure how this would practically work. I read somewhere that when you smell something, you’ve really got molecules of that substance in your nose. So, if you have a 4D TV, is your TV just going to be releasing all these different molecules? I’m not sure how that would work… As well as this, will TV shows become popular and unpopular on the basis of their smell? How will allergies be controlled? Will there be a disclaimer before each show warning of the smells?

    Another big disadvantage to 4D TVs is advertising. Advertising will simply go out of control with this sort of facility: some companies will be able to give the customers the experience of the product via TV. Perfume and deodorant companies will be giving us the newest scents via our TVs, and as an asthmatic, I’m not sure if I’d want all these new, strong scents being thrown at me while I’m at home watching TV…

    I think is some interesting technology, and could be useful if it’s controlled and used well.

  18. joshc428

    Would there be a container of aromatic particles that concocts a certain chemical whenever a show programs it to? If so, this could be dangerous. Imagine a hacker hacking the airwaves in such a way that the “smell box” emitted Carbon Monoxide. Since it’s odorless, the watchers may not even realize what’s happening until it is too late.

  19. oportosanto

    I think that this will be easier said than done because it would mean that all movie theaters would have to be changed to allow this. More, how healthy would that be and what problems could come from there like allergies?

    1. anorexorcist

      Or what would happen if you don’t want to smell certain tv show/movie/ad? Would you still have the option of shutting it off? There would be the need to recharge the smell thing just as in a printer?
      That’s a lot of things to take in consideration.

  20. anorexorcist

    This is a really interesting idea, and I can definitely see how companies would take advantage to this feature and how pleasant would be for us… But I’m not really sure if I would like to have this, I kind of like all the enigma built inside of a meal/fragrance/whatever that I see on TV. It’s like when you’re reading a book and you’re imagining all the characters but then you see the poster of that book’s movie and you can’t imagine how they would really be on your mind, and I kind of like that mistery.

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