If you walked the halls of CEDIA
EXPO this year, you probably heard
some statements like, “Dedicated home
theaters are on the decline,” or “People
prefer to watch movies in multi-purpose
living spaces or on their smartphones
and tablets.” If you’re like me, high-end
dedicated theatres are a big part of your
passion and livelihood. Hearing this kind
of thing gives you reason for pause. Is the
dedicated theater business really on the
decline? Not really, because a new form
of movie content will get our clients back
into their private movie palaces.
|Anthony Grimani (email@example.com) is
president of Performance Media Industries,
with offices in Novato and San Anselmo, CA.
It’s true that we’re seeing clients that
have lived with dedicated home theaters
opt not to include one in their new home,
vacation home, or relocation project. The
most common explanation I hear goes
along the lines of, “You know, we really didn’t use the dedicated room in
our old house that much, so we’ll just put a media system somewhere.” Or
your client might say, “$500,000 is a lot of money just to watch a DVD!”
These are legitimate arguments. These days, movies are all about blink-and-
you’ll-miss-it theatrical runs. Studios hype big-budget projects to the
Nth degree to create incredible public anticipation. But, by the time these
movies show up on home video four to six months later, they’re old news.
Everyone’s either already seen them or has heard enough about them to
know they don’t want to. Let’s face it; there aren’t that many movies good
enough to watch over again in your home theater. Furthermore, content is
available everywhere for every type of device. Home theater is ultimately
all about content; once it becomes pedestrian and bundled together in
packages, our clients lose interest, and we lose our business.
Imagine, if you will, that you could harness all the excitement and
energy that surrounds a big Hollywood premiere. What if you could offer
that to your clients in the comfort of their very own luxurious dedicated
first-run home cinema? Our clients are the kind of folks that go clubbing
in limousines, watch the Lakers or Knicks from floor seats, and fly the
jet to Paris for breakfast. They are going to watch The Avengers: Age of
Ultron on opening weekend in 2015, because everyone is. Yet they don’t
want to line up with screaming teenagers at midnight to sit in a theater
with sticky floors, who-knows-what on the seats, crackly sound, and a dim
picture. Instead, you could give them the alternative to invite their friends
over for a day-and-date movie party in the comfort and privacy of their
own home. No lines, no teenagers, clean floors, comfy loungers, dynamic
sound, and a sparkling picture better than anything on the market now.
|Companies like Prima Cinema currently offer a platform for viewing movies at home during their
theatrical runs at a quality that exceeds even Blu-ray Disc. Titles automatically download to the
hard drive, so the latest content is available when you want it.
This is reality, not a pipe dream. Companies like Prima Cinema
currently offer a platform for viewing movies at home during their
theatrical runs at a quality that exceeds even Blu-ray Disc. Titles
automatically download to the hard drive, so the latest content is available
when you want it. At $35,000 for the hardware and $500 for a viewing,
the system isn’t what most of us would consider affordable. But we’re not
buying this for ourselves. If you’re building a $500,000 to $1,000,000
home theater, then it’s a small price to pay for “day-and-date” theatrical
In addition to Prima Cinema, there are rumblings of other initiatives
aimed at luxury home theater owners who may soon be able to join groups
with access to theatrical releases just like the big movie theater chains.
Specific titles or even entire yearly catalogs from all the major studios
could be purchased for unlimited viewing and presented by industry-standard
Granted, not everyone is a movie fan. However, all of your big clients
probably entertain. When they decide to have a dinner party, that’s
going to cost at least $50 a head. But it’s just another dinner party where
they show off their fine china and the culinary prowess of their caterer.
It’s nothing special; they don’t have anything unique for their guests.
However, spend that same $50 a head on a latest movie release, and 10
or 20 of their friends get an experience that they can’t get anywhere else.
If you’re one of these folks, you’re not going to want to do this in a living
room with a media system. Those spaces can be built with reasonable
audio-video quality, but not what is required for a true first-run screening.
The room doesn’t necessarily have to look and feel like a movie theater,
but it does need to be a little special. A little…custom. Now you’re back in
business building dedicated home cinemas!
Chase Walton contributed to this column.