It has never been so important to have a good home theater system to enjoy new releases, but also TV series and exclusive productions form different streaming services. While this phenomenon has been apparent in recent years with the arrival of new technologies such as Dolby Atmos sound and 4K UHD projectors, the recent lockdown and closure of movie theaters has confirmed the trend. As the lockdown eases, cinemas, like theaters and other sporting and cultural venues remain closed for several more weeks. Today more than ever, the question arises: how can you enjoy a cinematic experience at home?
Video on demand services
For many homes, streaming services have become the main way to watch both series and movies. In addition to this, certain feature films that were scheduled for release in spring/summer 2020 have been postponed. Consequently, focus has shifted to the major streaming platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+), which continued to grow in popularity during lockdown by offering more and more content.
In addition to box office movies, documentaries and series, streaming platforms also offer original content that allows each service to stand out from the competition. The first productions were mainly independent movies with a budget much smaller than that of major Hollywood films, but now well established directors have begun to venture into the VOD market. As exemples, we can mention The Ballad of Buster Scruggs by Joel and Ethan Cohen, The Irishman by Martin Scorsese, and Marriage Story by Noah Baumbach starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. Matteo Garrone’s Pinocchio was released directly on Amazon Prime Video. This trend is becoming increasingly commonplace and is sometimes seen as a potential threat to movie theaters. However, cinema attendance isn’t on the decline, in particular thanks to American blockbusters that attract large numbers of viewers.
Today, owning a home theater system is the best way to enjoy the growing catalog of movies, documentaries and series. Each platform offers different subscription plans depending on the composition of the household, your preferences and the speed of your Internet connection. For more information about the different streaming services available and to help you make an informed choice, you can read our “Choosing a VOD service” article.
Watch classics and new releases on Blu-ray
A lot has changed since the days of VHS. In 1987, the media chronology law imposed a one-year waiting period before a high-grossing movie could go from the big screen to cassette. Going to see a movie at the theater was essential if you didn’t want to have to wait a year to see it on video or pay-TV and even longer to watch it on regular TV. However, with the arrival of DVDs this distribution period was reduced to a minimum of 4 months and 3 months for movies with less than 100.000 entries after 4 weeks of distribution. It currently takes the same amount of time for a movie to go from the theater to Blu-ray or VOD and it is reasonable to assume that this period will be shortened again in the future. Today, network media players, Blu-ray players and 4K UHD Blu-ray players make it possible to enjoy all movies, from Hollywood blockbusters to independent titles, in high definition after only a few months.
The average price of a movie on Blu-ray is 22 euros, about twice the price of a cinema ticket, which is usually around 10 euros. In addition to being able to watch the movie as many times as you want, Blu-ray discs have the advantage of offering a selection of different languages and subtitles for those who enjoy watching the original version, as well as the director’s commentary and other bonus content. For collectors, Blu-ray box sets containing whole trilogies or sagas and Steelbook versions are beautiful pieces that can be displayed on a shelf or in a special room. It is also important to note that buying Blu-ray discs, like vinyl records and CDs for the music industry, supports the film industry. This way, you can enjoy all of your favorite movies at home while allowing studios, production companies, technicians and everyone involved in creating feature films to continue their work in bringing movies to life.
Increasingly sophisticated home theater systems
OLED and QLED televisions provide images with a level of clarity and detail never seen before. With extremely deep blacks combined with vivid colors, HDR-compatible UHD 4K screens provide a brighter and more detailed image, but also offer enhanced detail in the dark areas. With screen sizes that can reach over two meters in diagonal, it is no longer very fitting to use the term “small screen” for televisions. Enjoying movies and series in cinema-like conditions from the comfort of your own home is no longer a dream.
For those who prefer an even bigger picture or a dedicated room, a 4K UHD projector and a fixed frame, manual or motorized screen will allow you to enjoy a large, ultra-realistic image and a cinematic experience from the comfort of your sofa. If you don’t have the space to install a projector at a distance from the projection screen, ultra-short throw projectors are designed to provide a wide image at a short distance. Thanks to their ultra-wide angle lens, these projectors can be placed very close to an ultra-short focal screen designed to provide optimal performance.
For a true cinematic experience, home theater sound systems offer up to 5.1.2 channels and can fill large rooms or dedicated home theaters with sound. Each explosion and sound effect can be felt as if you were at the movie theater and you will be plunged right into the heart of the movie. If the person sitting next to you were munching their popcorn loudly or constantly checking their phone, you’d believe you were at the movies!
For smaller rooms, compact speaker packs and soundbars are good options that are easy to implement. Some soundbars, such as the Samsung HW-Q70R, are even equipped with Dolby Atmos technology and come with a subwoofer to reproduce all the sound effects and power of movie soundtracks without having to install speakers throughout the room.
If you live in an apartment and a subwoofer isn’t an option, if you enjoy watching movies at night when everyone is asleep, or if you want to enjoy the explosive sound effects of action movies even more, then a home theater bass shaker will allow you to experience the low frequencies as vibrations. Fixed onto the armchair or sofa, the shaker is activated by low frequencies and brings a physical dimension to the soundtrack. This silent subwoofer lets you enjoy more discreet home theater sessions or can be used to complement a subwoofer to create a true dynamic cinema experience at home.
For all movie lovers, having a high-quality home theater system is more important than ever. Sound and image quality are assured, as is peace of mind. You can make yourself comfortable, the temperature isn’t too high or too low and annoying conversations are a thing of the past. It is now easy to enjoy all cinematic content and more in ideal conditions with a system that’s just right for you.