Before there was sound in movies there was smell. In 1906, a Pennsylvania movie theater soaked a wad of cotton wool in rose oil and placed it in front of a fan. When a newsreel about the Rose Bowl played, they turned on the fan and the smell of roses wafted over the theater. Audience complaints, technical difficulties, and the tendency of odors to linger on fabrics limited the success of such multisensory movie experiences, relegating Smell-O-Vision to the land of gimmicky failed technologies, an old fashioned vision of the future.
Here is a very quick look at “odors as part of an immersive multimedia experience.” If your television came equipped with the scent option, and then it got stuck in the “on” position and you couldn’t turn it down and your cable provider simultaneously stopped carrying any and all cooking shows or related content including shows set in a kitchen or restaurant, what would you watch? More importantly, what wouldn’t you watch if you were also forced to smell it?