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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Are Movie Theatres becoming Obsolete?

ShowHype: hype it up!
This was discussed during lunch today with some of my co-workers. Is it really possible to emulate the experience of going to the movies at home? One of them said that movie theatres would be obsolete in 5 years. In my opinion, it's not going to be. But, there are several reasons why people might think so. For example, some of the very wealthy have built theatres in their own homes! We'll do a head to head comparison here of several categories here to see why I think the way I do. Feel free to leave your own opinions here about why you think movie theatres are obsolete or not also!

1. Sound Systems

This is where I think the home is really starting to catch up to movie theatres. Many home theatre systems can be THX Certified, which some of you may recognize as the sound format that was made famous by Lucasfilms, LTD. But, that's starting to become obsolete, as its not really a sound system but more of a standard. Most movie theatres nowadays use DTS sound systems or Dolby SDDS sound systems. These systems provide the stereo surround that we're so used to in movies. However, many home theatre systems are now also capable of recognizing the same DTS and SDDS sound formats that are used in movie theatres. These sound formats are often encoded on DVDs, allowing home theatre systems to generate the same kind of sound that theatres do, albeit on a small(er) scale. The problem with this is that it often require a great deal of set up time and there are many components you must buy. If you're willing to make the investment, the sound you can generate can be comparable. However, movie theatre systems are already set up and calibrated for you, and you generally don't have to worry about the quality (unless you're a true audiophile). Advantage: PUSH

2. Theatre Screen (Size, quality)

Why do a lot of people go to the movies? To see the movie on "The Big Screen". One of the theatres I worked at recently had a 62 foot screen! That is pretty enormous. Traditional TV screens are starting to get pretty large too, with the biggest right now being about 102 inches. I haven't done the math out, nor am I a whiz at determining this kind of stuff, but if you put a big screen in a smaller room as opposed to a theatre screen in a large auditorium, you can still feel like you have a bigger screen at home. With digital projectors, you can make the screens even larger! 150 in is the biggest that I could find. However, with digital projectors coming into theatres at much larger sizes than you can find at home, I still think that the size and quality of theatre screens are better. Advantage: Movie Theatres

1. Experience

This is obviously one of the most important aspects to consider. Sure, watching a movie at home means that you won't have to worry about people talking on their cell phones, annoying children (unless they're your own), sneaking in food, or ridiculous ticket and popcorn prices. However, would you get the same experience watching Snakes on a Plane at home as you would watching it at the movies? I don't think so. There are some movies that are just meant to be watched at the theatre, just so you can go out and see the people! Customer service, in my opinion, is key to the movie theatre business, so you know most theatres will go out of their way to ensure you a pleasant movie going experience. (I know I would) Advantage: Movie Theatre


So, as you can see, the movie theatre wins out in my view. There are other things that haven't looked at, such as drive in theatres, and maybe I will soon, but there is nothing right now that would really beat the experience of going out and seeing a movie. Watching movies at home is great, and I often buy dvds after I've seen the movie in theatres. But to be honest with you, its not really the same. If you think of anything that I haven't discussed here, please let me know and I'll be glad to write about it!

If I haven't convinced you that going to the theatre is the way to go, please let me know why you choose to watch your movies at home. Also, if you're interested in setting up your own home theatre, look at some of the components I've suggested here.

Anyway, I'll be off to work at the theatre soon tonight. Look for my update on the Simpsons movie if I do get a chance to screen it tonight! See you all at the movies!

5 Comments Posted!:

matt said...

Theatre wins hands down compared to the experience in my house

Technodoll said...

Well... i can't exactly watch a movie at the theatre in my pyjamas and bare feet, cuddling with my man on the couch all sprawled out... i often need to get up and pee halfway through a movie and the "pause" feature at home is unbeatable... i can talk all i like, i don't have to endure stinky people around me crunching food and talking on their cellphones and kicking the back of my seat, kids blabbing and crying and whatnot... no lineups for anything at home... Hmmm. No wonder I haven't gone to the cinema in a very, very long time, LOL!

joen05 said...

Actually, the first thing you list, you could do! Minus the couch, though many theatres have the armrests that move up and down. True, you are right, there is no pause, but bathrooms are often nearby. Stink people... it Most of the other things depend on the kind of movie you're going to. It's all part of the atmosphere of going to the movies! Good comment though!

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