In the not-too-distant future, theater-goers may be watching movies on huge televisions instead of the movie projectors they’re used to.
samsung recently introduced a large led screen*, like the televisions in many homes, for movie theaters. Previously, only movie projectors were equipped to project movies in movie theaters, which today often use white vinyl sheets.
but the south korean tech giant’s new 4k resolution digital displays reportedly meet the guidelines of digital cinema initiatives, a joint venture of movie studios disney, fox, paramount, sony, universal and warner bros. which sets the standard for technical performance, reliability and quality in digital cinemas. that means it’ll be ready to play theater-quality video at launch.
34-foot-wide screens are slightly smaller than the standard movie screen, which is 45-65 feet wide and 30 feet tall. (imax screens are even bigger, at 72 feet wide and up to 98 feet tall), but they’re supposed to have a better picture.
samsung said that its led screen has a strong contrast and a maximum brightness that is almost 10 times higher than the standard cinema projector. there is also less maintenance. projectors have to work harder to achieve the same luminance as televisions. bulbs dim and need to be replaced over time. and the contrast in a projector depends on the darkness of the projector room.
but projectors tend to be quite easy on the eyes in a dark room like a theater, due to their low light output.
Samsung’s new screens, combined with the trend of decking out high-end movie theaters with recliners, pillows, blankets, and dinnerware to appeal to people willing to splurge on a night out, could make theaters feel much more like your living room so what’s the incentive to shell out the roughly $9 it costs to watch a movie today when you can watch it on a similar screen and on a couch at home?
People go to theaters to immerse themselves in film, and theaters still do it better than almost anywhere else. there are no interruptions. there are no reminders of your outside life that can snap you out of that world (unless you ignore the theater’s many warnings and leave your cell phone on). and you’re embarking on the journey with a community of like-minded viewers.
new screens could potentially improve that experience.
samsung started teasing the screens in progress at the usa cinemacon. uu., but only now he shows them publicly, no film school reported. However, Samsung has yet to say how much the new screens will cost, so it’s unclear if they’ll be a cost-effective alternative. digital cinema projectors can cost tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the make and model, plus the cost of the screen and installation.
Flat screens tend to be more fragile than projector screens. and, as vulture pointed out, they can also be more difficult to install and repair. although it could be better for the filmmakers. Playing a movie on a screen similar to the one the movie is finished on in post-production, which tends to be a flat screen these days, allows filmmakers to see what the movie will look like to audiences before it’s released.