In the last few decades moviegoers have been migrating more and more from the theater chair to their couch.
As home technology has caught up with theatrical projection and sound, and as movie ticket and concession prices have risen, the prospect of going to the movies to see the latest blockbuster has seemed more and more archaic. One bastion of the theatrical experience has been the IMAX screening. With screens that are several stories high coupled with an intense sound, IMAX has set a new standard for cinema viewing excellence. Now that same IMAX experience may soon be able to be enjoyed without having to leave your home.
The IMAX Corporation just announced a partnership with TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings Limited to bring the 4K experience directly to your living room.
“The new 4K fully integrated home theatre system will provide a more accessible and versatile solution that complements the IMAX Private Theatre, IMAX’s recent entry into the ultra-high-end market. The new system will incorporate components of IMAX’s best-in-class projection and sound technology adapted for a broader home environment. Customers will also be able to access current theatrical releases that have been digitally re-mastered into the IMAX format, and will receive unrivaled maintenance and service.”
“Our recent introduction of the cinema-grade IMAX Private Theatre, the partnership with PRIMA and, now, our joint venture with TCL, are all part of our carefully designed effort to expand the IMAX brand to additional platforms. While we are very excited about these opportunities, we remain firmly committed to our critical, long-term relationships with our commercial exhibition and studio partners, and to the success of the cinema industry in general,” said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. “As one of the fastest-growing and most innovative players in the global entertainment technology marketplace, with a strong expertise in display and manufacturing, TCL is an ideal partner to help us change the way people around the world experience their favorite content in the home environment.”
“As content viewing in the home is constantly improving, we wanted to stake out an entirely new position in the premium home theatre market,” said TCL Chairman Mr. Li Dongsheng, “There is no company better-equipped and more knowledgeable than IMAX to deliver that premium experience. Together, we plan to leverage the complementary assets of our companies to create a high-quality, end-to-end home theatre solution.”
The parties’ 50/50 joint venture will initially operate in Hong Kong and Mainland China and include research and development, sales, marketing and manufacturing, and feature IMAX-enhanced, current theatrical content delivered to the home through PRIMA Cinemas’ secure transmission system. The parties are also in discussions with local content providers regarding a variety of options in and around Greater China. The joint venture’s board will consist of representatives from both companies, with IMAX Chief Business Development Officer Robert D. Lister serving as chairman.
As the theatrical experience becomes more and more obsolete there are many questions that need to be answered. While IMAX claims that their premium viewing experience is going to be the next big thing, there hasn’t been that much discussion on how that experience will be delivered to the home. In a recent article on CNN Tech, it is reported that the US has fallen to 9th place with regards to broadband speeds worldwide, despite overall speeds having risen “27% over the past year”. New codecs are currently being developed to compress the massive amount of data being transmitted to the home. Once the 4K content is delivered to the home, there is the problem of actually getting the content to work with your existing devices. The recent introduction of HDMI 2.0 has made it possible to play 4K content up to 60fps on newer devices, but does the average homeowner really want to spend thousands of dollars on new televisions and home theater equipment?
About TCL & TCL Multimedia
TCL Corporation (TCL) is one of the largest consumer electronics groups in the world. The Group’s global production and sales network spans over 80 countries and regions, selling TCL TVs, mobile phones and household appliances, along with Thomson TVs in Europe and Alcatel mobile phones.
With 40 sales offices around the world and around 70,000 employees, TCL operates 18 R&D centers, with more than ten centers in Asia, North America and Europe, and owns 20 manufacturing bases in Asia, Europe and Latin America.
In 2012, TCL Corporation achieved global sales of US$11.2 billion with 10.9 million LCD TV sets and 43.6 million handsets sold globally. The TCL brand was worth US$10.5 billion as of September 2013, and according to DisplaySearch, the Group’s global LCD TV market share increased from 5.8% in Q4 2012 to 6.7% in H1 2013, ranking among the world’s top 3.
The Group has four listed companies – TCL Corporation (SZ.000100), TCL Multimedia (HK.01070) and TCL Communication (HK.02618) and Tonly Electronics (HK.01249) – and four business units: TCL Multimedia Holdings, TCL Communication Holdings, China Star Optoelectronics, and TCL Home Appliances.
About IMAX Corporation
IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you’ve never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX’s network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.
IMAX is headquartered in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles, with offices in London, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing. As of Sept. 30, 2013, there were 785 IMAX theatres (653 commercial multiplexes, 19 commercial destinations and 113 institutions) in 55 countries.
IMAX®, IMAX® 3D, IMAX DMR®, Experience It In IMAX®, An IMAX 3D Experience®, The IMAX Experience® and IMAX Is Believing® are trademarks of IMAX Corporation.
More information about the Company can be found at www.imax.com. You may also connect with IMAX on Facebook (www.facebook.com/imax), Twitter (www.twitter.com/imax) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/imaxmovies).