Theaters May Be Going More Digital With LED

Ahead of CinemaCon 2018 Samsung is set to open the first LED screen in the U.S.

Another Step Towards Front-To-Back DIgital

The technology was featured at last years CinemaCon by Samsung and Sony as an alternative, an eventual replacement, of projectors. The modular system allows for various sizes, and hopefully, moderate repairs if pixels get damaged.

There are currently five of these opened worldwide, with two in South Korea, one each in Zurich, Shanghai and Bangkok. The U.S. location will open in a suburban part of LA called Chatsworth at the Pacific Theaters Winnetka with a 33.8×17.7 screen. JBL is providing the audio for this location.

The idea of technology like this can add to the overall cinematic experience. While there are projectors that support 2K, 4K and 3D, there are none that can do High Dynamic Range (HDR) true justice. HDR allows for much deeper blacks and whiter whites on-screen. The added contrast can add a layer to a cinematographer’s arsenal. A projected image simply can’t compete with a black level that doesn’t require a backlight to get it in front of audiences. Consumer televisions have had the technology for about two years, but it’s still far from the mainstream.

LED Panel Adoption Rates May Vary

There is a cost-prohibitive issue with this technology, as is with all new advancements. One of these setups can run a theatre about 4x the amount that a traditional projector would. That’s a hard pill for vendors to swallow coming off record-low ticket sales last year in the domestic box-office. That’s without even getting into repair costs and timelines, a huge factor to consider.

People who have seen these displays in action definitely see a benefit of LED panels. There is just no way to get colours and contrast as intense from a projected image, even with an LED source As theatres move to more premium experiences as part of their overall package, there may be a place for these screens after all.  LED panels are, however, just one of many advancements in the theatre-going experience over the years. They’ve tried 3D, IMAX, AVX, D-Box and are experimenting with 4D and wrap-around screens. Samsung and Sony are providing another technology with hopes of keeping attendance up. It will be a few years yet to see if any of this pans out.

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