Category: home theatre

So long to cinemas? Our watching habits after COVID-19

When you think about it, the entertainment industry as we know it isn’t very old. The first movie theater only went into business in 1905. From there, technology has rapidly changed to bring about a stunning evolution in home entertainment and theater experiences.

Throughout the film and television industry timeline, the way we’ve watched our favorite shows has changed time and time again. In under a century, families have gone from gathering around large black and white TVs at scheduled times for limited programming to seemingly limitless options spread among countless streaming platforms.

The way we watch is constantly changing, but once COVID-19 came into the picture, the entire industry had to evolve at a lightning pace.

Simultaneous Movie Releases

Before COVID-19, the movie theater was a regular part of many film lovers’ social lives. Movie fans would flock to theaters in droves for the latest blockbusters, packed together shoulder-to-shoulder to enjoy a shared experience with their friends and other audience members.

While many of these cinema buffs also sported impressive home theatre setups at home to indulge in the classics, a night at the movie theater was still a regular part of life.

Before COVID-19, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ had already hit the market. However, their catalogs only featured older films and television shows.

In March of 2020, movie theaters and film production studios nationwide were forced to close due to the pandemic. In fact, here in Springfield, MO, we saw famous chains like Alamo Drafthouse and AMC Theaters shutter auditoriums for months at a time. At first, these closures were thought to be short-term, but they extended intermittently for almost a year as the pandemic raged on.

For the majority of 2020, movies simply weren’t released. However, this wasn’t a viable long-term solution.

Back in the before times, in the mid-2010s, Netflix had set a precedent by releasing their self-produced feature films in theaters and on their streaming site simultaneously. While this was never done for large blockbusters, it set an interesting precedent for how studios and streaming platforms could pivot their content releases in a pandemic-plagued world.

So, Disney+ and HBOMax, owned by Disney and Warner Bros. respectively, decided to try something similar on their streaming services. For a premium fee, they allowed their subscribers to watch blockbuster movies at home on release day.

This led to a far more cost-effective way for home viewers to watch their films, with families only paying a single premium price instead of costly tickets and concessions in a theater. Additionally, for those with a premium home setup, utilizing large displays in 4k video and audio setups with cinema-style surround sound, the theater experience is almost entirely recreated at home.

The Future of Movies After COVID-19

Once you give people a feature they like, it’s hard to take it away. Unfortunately, this does prove to be a complex problem to solve for movie theater owners. For example, Disney+ released the Marvel movie Black Widow on both streaming and theaters in July 2021. This movie netted about $131 million in its first week in movie theater box offices. An additional $60 million of revenue came from Disney’s opening weekend streaming sales.

However, the National Association of Theater Owners has expressed their frustrations that sales in box offices could be higher if they weren’t competing with home streaming.

With movie theaters struggling to recover from a year-long shutdown, followed by low ticket sales as they reopen, it will be interesting to see how film distribution changes in the future.

In the end, it’s unlikely that large media corporations like Disney or Warner Bros. will take new movie streaming away entirely. However, with so many families enjoying movies at home, it’s more likely that we’ll see films better optimized for a home viewing experience first in the future, instead of the opposite way around.

As long as movie theaters exist, we’re sure there will still be film fans who partake in movie theaters. However, many in the industry anticipate that theater runs will become more limited.  With streaming media in the future made the priority, it looks like the home theater will be king. After all, in the comfort of your own media room, the snacks are plentiful, you can rewatch whatever you desire, and you’re free of the sticky floors of cinema aisles.

No matter what happens in the future of film, there’s no doubt that streaming services and their endless content libraries are here to stay. If you’d like to make your home watching experience more comfortable and immersive, we can help. Our experts at SCS Home Entertainment can help you design the perfect movie-watching experience. Call us at (417) 720-8282 or visit our showroom today to get started on your next project.

Bringing Entertainment Home: The Evolution of Home Theaters

Sometimes, you just have to lay back in the comfortable bliss of your home theater space and feel grateful you’re living in the future. In general, home media hasn’t existed in the way that we enjoy it for very long. In fact, for some of us, our youths were full of drive-in theaters or late-night broadcasts as the only way to enjoy timeless flicks again and again.

From the fuzzy pictures of black-and-white television to our ultra-realistic 8K experiences powered by voice command, home entertainment looks a lot different these days. Let’s step back in time and take a look at how our modern entertainment options came to be.

The black and white TV era

After World War II and the Great Depression, the population in the United States shifted quickly away from urban centers. Before these turbulent times, theatres that previously housed vaudeville or newly constructed cinemas screened movies during the golden age of Hollywood. However, between 1947 and 1953, as people settled into suburban life far away from city downtowns, families started looking to home entertainment over nights out at the movies.

In 1928, black and white television began its broadcast, though it wasn’t truly commercially viable until 1938.

Color television brings movies home

In 1954, color television began broadcasting but it wasn’t accepted as a standard for quite some time. The original national standard, an RCA set with a CBS picture tube, wasn’t compatible with previously existing TVs. This set was costly to purchase and maintain for potential television viewers and since there wasn’t a mass acceptance of color broadcast yet, hardly any shows or programs were created for it.

After RCA created their own color system compatible with existing RCA television sets later in 1954, there was a more cost-effective option for the average household. However, it wasn’t until about 1966 that color TV was truly popularized.

In September 1961, an exciting milestone for home theaters was hit—somewhat recent movies were finally viewable at home thanks to the premiere of NBC Saturday Night at the Movies.  Prior to its release, the only films showed on TV tended to be older and low budget. Even with the popularization of color broadcast, most of the films shown were from the black and white era.

NBC Saturday Night at the Movies was a pioneer with many copycat shows on other networks premiering. These broadcasts proved popular and led to the creation of the “made for TV movie.”

The rise of physical media

Most of us are familiar with VCRs, but how did folks enjoy movies at home before they were invented? Well, for the average person, they simply caught re-runs of old flicks either on TV broadcasts or at their local drive-in.

Some households owned reel-to-reel projectors to run movie films, but these machines were huge and expensive, so you tended to see them more in public settings, schools, or institutions.

Videocassettes truly changed the game for enjoying media at home. Betamax and VHS clashed in the mid-70s in a format war for media dominance. Though Betamax offered higher quality, VHS was more affordable and won out.

Videocassettes allowed people of all income classes to own copies of their favorite movies at home, as well as record television broadcasts directly through their VCR. Some grew their videotape collection to an impressive scale, while others chose to frequent their local video rental store for their movie fix.

Though less prominent, most home cinema aficionados in the 1990s wouldn’t necessarily reach for VHS first. LaserDisc players allowed for crisp, clear video and high-quality audio, though the format wasn’t loved by the general public.

In fact, VHS stayed prominent as the main format for home video until the early 2000s when DVD began to see mass acceptance. While DVDs first hit the market in 1997, it wasn’t until 2008 that these discs had fully replaced video cassette tapes.

Another format war around this time took place between Blu-ray and HD DVD, with Blu-ray coming out on top as the preferred high-definition home video format. It continues to be the choice format for those who prefer to own physical media.

Of course, as we approach today, we’re all pretty keenly aware that some of us still prize our physical media collections. Blu-ray discs, especially those in ultra 4k, are the best on the market for modern televisions. Those who prefer to keep things minimal now get their media online, particularly using streaming services like Netflix and Disney+.

Bigger, lighter, smarter TVs

The 1990s saw huge demand for bigger and better TVs in the living room and home theater setups of everyday folks, though large TVs were certainly around as a luxury item in the 1980s. These CRT TVs were huge and extremely heavy.

Right as we entered the 21st century, however, TVs started to change dramatically. Relatively inexpensive plasma TVs were the first wide-scale flat-screen TVs with sizes up to 50 inches and LCD TVs soon followed maxing out at about 30 inches.

Eventually, the technology around LCD flat screens improved to the point that by 2006, there was little-to-no difference in price. Plasma TVs tried to compete by making screens that were even larger but LCD screens were brighter, more efficient, and thinner.

Today, we’re seeing home video displays that are thinner and some displays are even modular, allowing for a home theater experience that takes up entire walls if you desire. Beautiful displays using MicroLED technology can bring the movie theater home with beautiful picture quality, rich blacks, and high brightness without burn-in.

Also, instead of simple remotes from television past, TVs are incredibly smart now. Depending on the system, your TV can connect to your smart home setup, your cell phone, and access the internet for streaming music and video options.

Bringing cinema scores home

A home theater system isn’t complete without the booming sound experience of the movies. During the 80s and 90s, when the home theater movement truly took root, quality audio equipment was huge and heavy. Components stereo systems combined graced living rooms to give the family control of not only television audio, but also fed speakers sound from all sorts of audio formats: CDs, cassette tapes, 8-tracks, and vinyl records, just to name a few.

As time has moved on, home audio systems have slimmed down, simplified, and gotten as smart as their TV brethren.

The home theater of 2021 is truly a modern marvel. The next time you kick back to relax with your favorite flick before you tell your smart home system to dim the lights, take a moment to appreciate how far we’ve come with home entertainment technology. We’re finally at a point where the home experience can rival the visual marvel and booming audio of the movie theater.

Ready to build a home theater of your own? We can help. The knowledgeable staff at SCS are ready to help every step of the way, from selecting your perfect display to crafting an unforgettable audio setup. Visit our showroom or contact us to get started on your next project!

2021 Home Theater Trends

Home Theater Trends for 2021

With many movie theaters’ doors staying closed, home theaters are becoming an increasingly popular way to enjoy the luxuries of the movies from the comfort of your home.

As more people than ever invest in their entertainment spaces, new trends are also arising. Keep your home theater ahead of the curve as you update your entertainment room to provide a space for making lasting memories with your family and friends.

Home Theaters Used for Multiple Purposes

When home theaters first began to grow in popularity, they were typically made into miniature versions of actual movie theaters with stadium seating, dark lighting, and a big screen on the wall.

These are still common today, but many people opt to create a space that is more multi-functional. Instead of only being able to use the space to watch movies, new entertainment spaces are intentionally built to offer something for each member of the family.

They can be used for the original purpose to provide endless movie nights and host watch parties for the Superbowl or season premiere of The Bachelor. But they can also be used to play video games, listen to music, or even to follow home workouts and yoga videos.

Customized Screens for Your Space

Screens are bigger and brighter than ever before. There are a variety of types and sizes of screens to make your space unique.

Ultra-short-throw projectors can create a very large image on a screen or wall from a short distance. They are affordable options that offer the flexibility to easily be moved around for a variety of activities. These great for a multipurpose room because you can easily change the size and shape of the screen depending on its intended use.

Add even more flexibility to your setup with a combination of flat panel screens. These come in a variety of prices and sizes to customize your wall display or use it as a drop-down. You can also combine these displays to create a multi-functional space.

Combine your screens with control equipment to customize your entertainment experience at the touch of a button.

Updating to 8K Resolution

Along with the size and type of screen, another rising trend in home theaters is = full ultra-high definition resolution. 4K screens have recently become the industry standard, but 8k is now the most up to date version.

8K screens offer a higher level of PPI with a crisper and smoother display. 4K screens will quickly be switched out for 8K so as you update or install a home theater, look ahead to the digital future to stay up to date as streaming services quickly transfer over to this.

Instead of investing your money in older technology and updating later, you can save time and money in the long run. Investing in the most up to date technology will also provide you with premium resolution and elevate your viewing experience.

New Surround Sound Equipment

Sound helps create the immersive experience you expect from a movie theater, so many people are choosing to invest in soundbars and surround sound. New sound equipment can connect to devices, wi-fi, and voice control to make all of your technology work together as one cohesive unit.

These speakers can also be custom catered to your desired experience. For example, surround sound levels are very different when you want to listen to music compared to when you’re watching a movie. New speakers can seamlessly be tailored to the media you’re enjoying, whether you’re enjoying a quiet documentary or rocking out to a streaming concert.

Innovative Lighting Solutions

In the past, home theater rooms were typically dark, cave rooms. While low light is ideal for watching movies, it makes it harder to use the space for other activities.

Now, the best of both worlds is available. You can have a bright and airy room and still block out the light and glare while watching movies with smart shades.

These are the perfect solution to any of your lighting struggles and allow you to change the brightness and ambiance with the touch of a button.  Now, no one has to interrupt the movie to get up to adjust the lights.

Many people no longer want a dark movie room, so these shades combined with colorful LED lighting for added flare are a great way to make your entertainment room fun, stylish, and functional.

Reflect your style

Once the main aspects of an entertainment room are set up there are many other elements to consider adding to make the space your own.

You can consider adding clean and subtle design elements to make it a common area for all family members to enjoy a variety of activities. These spaces can cater to the interests of everyone in the household.

Also, consider investing in comfy, large-scale lounge furniture to provide a spot for all of your family and friends at your next get together. To keep the space open, many families opt for functional furniture that leaves plenty of room for other entertainment like a foosball or pool table.

Regardless of whether you’re looking to update your current home theater or start from scratch, we can help make home movie magic. Our technology can be catered specifically to your home and needs. If you want a home theater up to date with all of the current trends, contact us today.