Home Entertainment Looking for Resolution to the War on Cinema

Posted on Nov 30, 2017 11:12 AM EST
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Home Entertainment Looking for Resolution to the War on Cinema

The cinema industry has always been innovative in finding new ways to ensure that their viewing experience ranks over home entertainment. However, there have been signs of late that this may not be as true as it once was, with new players having created a gap in visual display between home and theatrical entertainment. Let's take a look at developments.

4K projectors failing to set the world alight

Around the world, there are 27,500 installed 4K projectors, which comprises only 17 per cent of screens globally. Sony became the leaders in 4K support, thanks to its vertically integrated business, which includes everything from hardware to content. Its worldwide fleet of approximately 17,000 projectors is compliant with 4K, while just 10 per cent of projectors sold by NEC, Christie, and Barco are 4K.

Analytics firm IHS Markit said that the markets with the highest penetration of 4K digital projection are the US (40 per cent), Thailand (3 per cent), Estonia (52 per cent of a small base) and the UK (32 per cent).

When it comes to home entertainment, size matters

When it comes to home entertainment, it isn't just about watching the latest DVD releases or binge-watching box sets on Netflix. A high-quality visual display also lends itself to other industries. Whether a Sony PlayStation, a Wii, or XBox, gamers can enhance their playing experience by connecting their console to their home cinema screen.

Online casinos too, which have already taken place of their brick-and-mortar counterparts for many, can be enjoyed on high-quality screens. Gamers can play on such sites as bitcasino.io, with titles including Wheel of Fortune, a game based on the long-running show that they may have seen on their 4K TV. That particular site also enables users to play with bitcoin. There has been no shortage of bitcoin news of late, and such sites enabling the currency's users to tap into two technologies at the same time is an added bonus.

But where does all this leave the cinema industry?

Most films released in 2K, anyway

IHS Markit's director of film and cinema, David Hancock, said that 4K has yet to become the force that was predicted by many in the industry, with cost being among the factors for its slow growth.

As a result, while an increasing number of films are being shot with cameras capable of shooting 4K, most are released in 2K, the equivalent of HD.

There is little by way of evidence, however, that audiences even care whether they are watching either 2K or 4K. What is believed to have a greater impact, visually, is higher levels of brightness and increased aesthetic contrast ratios between a picture's light and dark areas, termed high dynamic range (HDR).

To 4K or not to 4K? HDR is the answer

In spite of this, HDR is in a small percentage of venues. Dolby, the market leader, has installed less than 100 HDR-enabled Dolby Cinema screens globally- whereas HDR is becoming as de facto as 4K in TV displays. HBO, Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are all investing in sourcing HDR content, which is a significant issue for cinemas.

While there is a lack of evidence to suggest that moviegoers are leaving the cinema for an improved home experience, if cinema remains at 2K this could be a real issue

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