The future of moviegoing could be a lot different in the future. Cinema tech company Christie has been granted a patent that will allow theaters to stream movies directly to the home of its customers. This could potentially be a way to keep movie theaters open as the public health crisis surges. Theaters have largely been shut down since March of this year, though some have been able to open up again with varying degrees of success. The theaters may be open, but people aren't flocking to them.
According to Brian Claypool, executive vice president of cinema at Christie, their "patented approach places the dynamics of when, how and for how much that [movie content] is made available to consumers directly in the hands of exhibitors to decide." With so many streaming options available to consumers, it would be interesting to see how a movie theater service would work. It would also be interesting to see if big studios will allow their movies to be streamed into the home. You can read more of what Claypool had to say below.
"We all love the cinema, and there is nothing quite like the in-person, big-screen experience at your local theater. It has been exciting to see how adaptable exhibitors have been in getting people back into many theaters around the world, and we hope to see more and more people returning to their local cinemas. However, we are under no illusions as to the many challenges that exhibitors face. This technology enables exhibitors to securely show customers premium cinematic content on their own terms, opening an additional potential revenue stream, in these difficult times."
Customers would use Christie's integrated media block with the patented hardware and software combining with the "capabilities of Christie's streaming and networking products to allow the theater to deliver content over IP networks directly from the cinema to consumers' homes." Options would include H.265 streams at 4Mbps to uncompressed 8K at 120Hz at 100Gbps, which Christie claims has "zero latency over affordable Ethernet components."
Stephen King went to the movies last weekend and it made him feel terrible for the film industry. He and his nephew were two of only a handful of people at the theater on a Saturday night, which is unfortunately the same for theaters all over North America. With the public health crisis still going on and little to no new movies to choose from, people are staying home and streaming.
Christie could prove to be a game changer for movie theaters who are looking for new ways to make some much-needed cash. However, there are still a lot of variable to consider for the big studios when it comes to streaming brand new content into homes that could more than likely be pirated. Plus, there are some studios that are holding out for the complete big screen experience. For now, we'll have to wait and see if the industry goes along and embraces Christie's technology. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to announce the new Christie patent for movie theaters.