Cinema vs Home Viewing: It’s Getting Harder To Choose

cinema vs home viewing 2015 tech images

cinema vs home viewing 2015 tech images

We previously discussed the choice between net streaming/cord-cutting and cable/network TV. The former does present a lot of advantages because you’re covered as long as you have access to a lot of media and connectivity. You can watch your favorite show at any time and have a choice of hundreds of channels. With cable, you’ll always have that first-world problem of having 300 channels with nothing on. How about watching a good movie? Cinema or Home Streaming?

It was a terribly difficult week drowning out the conversations about “Star Wars: The Force Awakens “coming out from my buddies at work. Who was I to tell them to keep the office spoiler free? Some of them haven’t watched the franchise from episodes I to VI (yes, that rare breed exists), so they had a hard time understanding, but I was there to answer questions about previous episodes, and they were kind enough not to discuss VII. They watched the movie because it was trending (sigh). I also avoided the temptation of reading up about it on the internet. If only we could do the same to avoid sin. So why didn’t I see the film on opening day? Too busy to have the luxury or just too deathly afraid of long lines (Is there a phobia term for that?), take your pick because both are true. The thing is, people have to put up a lot to watch the latest blockbuster or even the occasional flick. Ask ZDNet’s Jason Perlow. But as a self-respecting geek, I managed to watch the movie and thankfully enjoyed it despite being partially predictable. And because of work and the money and effort it takes to watch a movie, I reserve cinema for franchises that I like. My previous movie was “Ant-Man,” and next up is “Captain America: Civil War” and “Star Trek: Beyond.”

Generally, I didn’t have the line problem when I decided to watch a week after the movie’s opening. I went straight to the mall after clocking out. The problem was the schedule. I forgot to look up the mall schedule for the movie and got to the theaters an hour early before the next earliest screen time. It’s the same problem that can be solved by streaming, being able to watch something anytime. The next issue was the time and price. I was expecting to get home early, so I needed the earlier screen time. The earliest was the one in the 3D theater thus the price issue. I had no problem watching a movie in 3D. 3D movies are only good as long as the technology was utilized perfectly. Star Wars: The Force Awakens utilized 3D perfectly, and so “did Star Trek: Into Darkness.” “Godzilla” and “Ant-Man,” not so much.

There are two problems though, with 3D, one is price and the other is comfort. I had to shell out extra to watch in the 3D theater or wait another hour which I didn’t want to do. For other people, time is worth much more. I was then handed a pair of large 3D glasses which didn’t really go well with the bridge of my nose. Wearing those things for long periods of time can be painful both for the eyes and nose. So when the movie gets to unimportant scenes, I take them off. So if you schedule yourself regularly to watch a 3D movie in a cinema, it would be prudent to purchase your own polarized glasses like the LG AG-S100 or the Sony TDG-BR100 that can sit comfortably on your face. Lastly, watching a movie in the theater wouldn’t be complete without a few noisy knuckleheads. I was distracted from time to time by a young group behind me who chatted at an attention-grabbing volume. It was both amusing and frustrating at the same time to hear their discussions about who some characters were in previous installments. Ahh… Trending watchers with no idea of Star Wars even though the Disney Channel was re-running the previous six movies over and over again to get people up to speed. Overall, I enjoyed the movie and got the nerdgasm I was looking for.

But would watching this movie with friends or family be better around a 65” Samsung 4K UHD TV paired with a good sound system? Yes, it could, at least in my opinion. The larger the TV and the better the sound of course. One of my friends went out of his way to convert his den into a true home theater with a high-res projection system. The projection system model escapes me, but he did capture the theater experience with his setup. The Man of Steel never looked so good and was even clearer than I remembered on the big screen. So seeing Star Wars on the same setting would surely cut it.

But new movies aren’t immediately distributed to homes yet. Theaters first then home distribution after a couple of months, unless they’re straight-to-DVD or made for TV movies. Simultaneous pay-per-view isn’t exactly a good idea due to piracy issues. The world now has Netflix and other movie streaming distributors. Netflix is now in the business of producing their own movies and TV shows, and if you have a home theater setup, then it’s a good idea to get Netflix if you haven’t already. For example, Netflix is rumored to produce a direct-to-TV movie for Marvel’s Iron Fist to coincide with its other productions. If you’re still jonesing for MCU features while waiting for Captain America: Civil War, there’s “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones” by Netflix. There’s no guarantee though if the “Iron Fist” movie would be cinema-grade though.

Not everyone can afford the latest 60 to 75-inch HD curved TV, but if you could, it would be a good investment. Once you get around to it, coupled with a Netflix subscription, you should be able to enjoy that perfect cinematic experience sitting on your La-Z-Boy with your own popcorn, your own nachos and salsa, pizza and a couple of beers and the power to throw out phones and silence chatterboxes.

For now, until a foolproof, hack proof, pirate-proof streaming distribution channel can be found, movies will always be shown first in cinemas. Other movies be damned to Netflix, but you’ll have to watch future popular franchises like “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” James Bond, DC and Marvel Studios movies at the cinema if you can’t withstand the urge and the constant barrage of mini-spoilers on the web.