FUTURE SHOCK: Where Is Home Theater Headed?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Professor Echo, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,947
    Likes Received:
    1,035
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Real Name:
    Glen
    I have little optimism about the future of home theater, at least with regards to how we will be able to access it and process it. These three possibilities are rather dire by comparison to the last 30 years and all the developments since the introduction of home video, but I can easily see it happening:


    1. Studios will once more get their property out of the hands of consumers and instead control their libraries through subscribed streams. When this begins to happen in earnest and they see the profits of such an enterprise, they will no longer need a distributing service like Netflix. They can do it themselves and eliminate the middleman. Already HBO has pulled their programs from Netflix streaming and reportedly Showtime is soon to follow. I would look for WB to be among the first to break out on their own and offer a streaming service.. My guess is that Netflix will become a boutique streaming service, offering lots of public domain titles, but perhaps also offer titles from smaller, independent labels like IMAGE and maybe even CRITERION.


    2. ISPs will all start capping bandwidth once streaming becomes, pardon me, mainstream, and will most likely look to the terrible paradigm established by years of overly complicated and needlessly complex cell phone plans. In other words, you will have to lock in your bandwidth access with a contract, the more you pay, the more bandwidth you will get. This will allow the all you can eat internet to go back to the stone age of the early AOL days when you were paying per minute for internet access.


    3. Hardware will continue to get smaller as new generations weaned on hand held devices scoff at the monstrous, cable laden, home theaters of old. Everything will be more immediate and spontaneous, less planned and savored. In other words, a world where our media becomes increasingly disposable, akin to eating a quick sandwich for lunch and then moving on to something else that will appease our perpetual A.D.D.
     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
    Owner

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1997
    Messages:
    46,213
    Likes Received:
    4,267
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    Glen,


    I tend to agree with you here.


    I think we are heading for all content being streamed

    directly from the studios themselves and Internet

    companies profiting off how much bandwith each viewer

    requires for the resolution they prefer.


    I fear the home video industry is going to go in the same

    direction as the music industry. Nobody seems to care

    about the quality of the music they listen to, perfectly

    content with downloading it at a 192 bitrate. Long gone

    are the days when people savor the music quality that

    CD provided or the higher resolutions of SACD and DVD-A.

    Will they feel the same way about the movies they watch?


    Apparently they do.


    My concern is what will happen with Blu-ray itself. Will

    that also be a level of resolution that people will soon forego

    in favor of having their media delivered to them through the

    Internet?




    Visit our [​IMG]DVD, [​IMG]BLU-RAY and [​IMG]3D REVIEW ARCHIVES
     
  3. Worth

    Worth Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,700
    Likes Received:
    612
    Real Name:
    Nick Dobbs

    This is already happening in Canada.
     
  4. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 10, 1999
    Messages:
    1,699
    Likes Received:
    0
    The evolutions in quality that I've been seeing, at home and professionally, are scary.


    Contractors not knowing better, doing 24 to 30fps conversions to match the remainder of the 30fps by doing 4th-frame repeat. Sure, it's easier, but it sucks. And a lot of people don't see it. Until it's on that 70" monitor making people queasy.


    DVDs getting shipped out with very interesting cadence markers, so poor upscaling players (like from Oppo!) don't have a hope of being able to play the program properly, except in "source direct."


    I never claimed to be a "golden ear." And while I scoffed at people who still say that a good record on a good turntable is the best thing out there -- although I've never heard such a combination -- I also recognized early on that pop-music was being brutalized in the recording studio. Auto-Tune. Brutal dynamic range compression, so everything is RMS -1dBFS. Blah. Maybe it plays "louder" on the radio, but it's flat. And take a full orchestra with chorus. At 192kbps, the MP3 is gonna suck. Even *I* can hear that!


    I care about the picture quality. For a long time; for a full year after I got a laserdisc player, I still used a *good* 11" CRT as my primary display. I've learned to see too much in the way of time and motion artifacts; I've been trying to avoid learning to spot too many of the color accuracy problems, because otherwise, they're going to plague me even more. (I did a fair amount of animation in college, and learned to spot single-frame errors as well as audio sync issues; perhaps a little too well.)


    Streaming video is... well, good for watching bad amature video of an Airbus 380 Behemoth run down a little Conair micro-jet. Not for movies.


    Heck, at work, I spent about two weeks working on someone else's project, just 'cause there was a frame/interlace issue going on that most people never saw. On a project that I had wanted to have nothing to do with, but couldn't let it go "out" with those gross flaws.


    It is depressing, what people don't realize things could be.

    Leo
     
  5. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 1998
    Messages:
    9,690
    Likes Received:
    159
    That's already happening. A friend of mine at work was telling me how his son and some of his son's friends were all crowded around an Ipad, happily watching a movie. His son scoffs at my friend's big screen and elaborate surround sound setup. Sigh....
     
  6. Cinescott

    Cinescott Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    Messages:
    848
    Likes Received:
    162
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Real Name:
    Scott
    It's always difficult to predict what will happen, but comparing film to music may be a good start. First, CDs have not disappeared. MP3s are the largest and cheapest method for distribution and the method by which brick and mortar music stores died, but they're not the only way. CDs are still available online, albeit at a frequently higher pricing point than downloads. And why not? Physical media costs more, but is available.


    Blu-ray (or its successor) won't be any different. Streaming's going to be huge (it already is), but there's always going to be a market for physical media. As long as there is money to be made at anything, there will be a product, regardless of whether the market is small or huge. Studios are not going to simply "ignore" the segment of customers who would continue to want their content on physical media; they're too greedy for that. Let the streaming services boost the profits of the studios so they can feel confident enough to restore larger parts of their libraries, then we all benefit.


    Granted, Blu-ray won't be the mega billion dollar industry that DVD was, but no studio exec is going to ignore potential millions that could be earned by putting movies on disc.
     
  7. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,919
    Likes Received:
    365
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Real Name:
    David

    I expect that Blu-ray will become the next laserdisc. Won't bother me, as I was a laserdisc enthusiast. But you are correct-there is still a market even if it is a small one. Just as there is a market for expensive cigars and caviar unblended Scotch.


    We are also in the midst of the The Great Recession, which cannot be helping to drive sales of things that are nice to have as opposed to gotta have.
     
  8. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Messages:
    26,270
    Likes Received:
    3,560
    Location:
    The basement of the FBI building


    They still make records and that's been a 'dead' format for about 2 decades. Granted, they're catering to a collector/audiophile market and alot of records are re-releases of old titles but I don't see the complete demise of physical media happening any time soon.
     
  9. JeremyR

    JeremyR Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    551
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Real Name:
    Jeremy

    AT&T will begin to cap service monthly in the USA on 5/2/11 to 150GB to their DSL customers, and 250GB to their UVerse customers. That means a DSL customer will be able to watch about 10HD movies before they go over (not counting all of the other downloading they might do). I just don't think streaming is viable, at least until the high-speed infrastructure is capable of handling it, and right now it just simply is not. Perhaps Google will change that, as they are rolling out high speed service that will allegedly destroy the speeds that DSL and Cable Modem provides, but it is a slow roll-out. I know they are getting it here in Kansas City, KS as one of the first markets. We shall see what happens. I am sad that we might head the same direction the music industry has, but at the same time people DO seem to be buying larger and larger TV's. That is a different situation than what the music industry has faced. I think people might be a little too critical and want the big-screen experience. Perhaps i'm too optimistic, but that is what I'm going to hold onto.
     
  10. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Messages:
    1,393
    Likes Received:
    391
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA., USA
    Real Name:
    Luke J. Chung
    All this "doom and gloom" is ridiculous...last time I looked, blu-ray was actually outselling DVD on the retail market and is expected to keep maintaining steady sales growth for the forseeable future!!!
     
  11. cafink

    cafink Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 1999
    Messages:
    3,047
    Likes Received:
    36
    Real Name:
    Carl Fink

    I'm pretty sure that's untrue. The Digital Bits says, for example, that "many new titles sell as high as 30% of their total units on Blu-ray" (that post is from just last week). So even for the best-selling Blu-rays, they're being outsold more than two-to-one by DVD. Blu-rays are selling pretty well, yes, but they're still quite a ways from outselling DVDs.
     
  12. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,947
    Likes Received:
    1,035
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Real Name:
    Glen
    I think all these analogies and comparisons to music software are apt and I can easily foresee a time when Standard DVDs have pretty much faded away and Blu Rays, from specialty boutique labels, will still be manufactured for similar niche markets like those that continue to support LPs and CDs. This would allow enterprises like Criterion to stay in business, but the question is, would the major studios still feel it's within their budgetary and delivery parameters to make physical media on such a relatively small scale? Or would they be willing to license out titles for smaller labels as was often done with laserdiscs?
     
  13. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 1999
    Messages:
    15,674
    Likes Received:
    674
    Location:
    The Other Washington
    Real Name:
    Adam

    While I am not a huge fan of this I understand why they are doing it. Netflix is responsible for 20% of the peak internet traffic in the US, YouTube almost 10%. A lot of the cable and DSL networks weren't designed for this type of constant throughput and are going to need a lot of work to upgrade ($$$). Should we all pay higher rates so the people that stay at home streaming all day can do it, or should the people who are using the most pay more?

    That is why AT&T (Mobile) switched from unlimited data last year. A very small percentage of users were taking up a huge percentage of the bandwidth, and that was after they had spent over 37 billion on upgrades.


    I agree with David that BD will eventually become the next LD.
     
  14. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    Messages:
    3,575
    Likes Received:
    343


    I think it's unfortunate that the recession came along when it did. Blu-ray coincided with a time when people were looking for cheaper entertainment alternatives, and streaming and downloading are cheaper than buying blu-rays. So people are getting used to the convenience of streaming and ignoring physical media. That won't change--for those who prefer streaming, that is.


    Blu-ray, I think, will stick around for at least another ten years, if not more. I have a funny feeling that it is the 'final format.' I believe that in the end, 3-D television is going to flop big time--too many bugs and variables to work out. They'll give up due to a lukewarm reception from the buying public. Blu-ray will stick around, as a niche format, much in the same way that record producers still produce vinyl LPs. Those of us who prefer physical media will be able to get it, rest assured.


    I could get into the pros and cons of streaming films vs. owning physical media, but those on this forum are only concerned with the latter. It's a fact that a generation of consumers seems to prefer the simplicity of streaming a film rather than actually purchasing a physical copy. Now those are the fast food generation consumers; they don't want the clutter of home video libraries and that's their business. Sometimes I too look aghast at my own overly-huge collection of dvds and wish I could do something about it. But for me--physical discs are far more reliable than streaming. Stuff gets corrupted in your computer (well, discs can go bad too but that's another thread). And downloading movies can be glitchy; films can disappear from online libraries. Same can't be said for your dvds unless someone robs your house.


    BUT--it's partially a good thing that streaming will become the norm in the next decade. I predict that within 10 years, you will have access to a complete online library of pretty much everything--old tv shows that never saw the light of day on dvd, studio films, independent films, foreign films--you name it. Everything will be made available. The studio will find a way to make it work, and they'll find a way to make it profitable. You'll have access to endless libraries of both popular and obscure titles to choose from and you'll be able to watch them at a moment's notice. No ordering dvds from amazon and no tracking down dvds at store after store. It's all going to be right there on your computer and you can hook it into your tv (probably in a wireless format; no annoying cables and junk cluttering up your house). So in that perfect future, you won't even have to possess physical media--you probably won't even want to, because you'll be able to watch whatever you want, whenever you want.


    I'll probably be one of the old school people who'd still prefer physical media despite the largess of the online libraries that will soon come. Younger people will probably laugh at me and say 'why do you have all this junk in your house--don't you know you can just stream these movies?' I dunno...it's a good thing/bad thing to me. But yeah--going back to my earlier analogy: it's true that vinyl LPs sound about twice as good as compact discs. I may just feel the same about blu-rays vs. streaming those same movies...
     
  15. David Wilkins

    David Wilkins Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2001
    Messages:
    828
    Likes Received:
    7
    As a long time home theater and early adopter kind of person, threads like this tend to make me headachey and queezy...just as the state of national politics dose. Too much upheaval, too little love. Long revered principles redefined or tossed by the wayside.

    My take on it, my earnest and hopeful optimism, is that "this too shall pass". So many things tend to run in cyclic form, from fashion to preferences. While audio and video entertainment might seem an odd fit for that line of thinking, and having no historical comparative record...the general concept lies deep in human nature. A minor and perhaps silly comparison is the way in which thirty years ago (there abouts) electronic music was predicted by many to replace traditional instruments and styles of playing. Then came MTV Unplugged, and there was a sort of rebirth of appreciation for acoustic music and honest performance.


    My sleep deprived train of thought and clumsy comparison aside...retro has become a favorite trend across the passing decades. We have a vast and wealthy heritage of music and film, just waiting for rebirth and renewed appreciation. We might have to crawl through a disgusting landscape that will later be referred to as a dark-age, but "this too shall pass". I think it's deep within the human genome, even if we see nothing but bleak on the present horizon.
     
  16. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    2,125
    Likes Received:
    436
    Real Name:
    Ben Hufbauer
    In some things I tend to be pessimistic, but to me this is The Golden Age of home theater. 20 years ago no matter how much you spent it still sucked beyond belief, imho. And I saw people who had spent many thousands of dollars in the 80s and 90s for huge tvs with horrible pq and aq. And now, for just about $1000 bucks you can beat the cra* out of anything you could get back then. Add the magic of blu-rays, and you've really got home theater that's imho not hugely far off from 35mm.


    Here's how I look at it in my pie in the sky and perhaps annoying way (accept my apologies in advance):


    In the 80s and 90s our low rez TVs and pan and scan VHS tapes were maybe c. 25% as good as seeing a film in a good theater. It really was horrible, and yet we spent a lot money on that darn stuff for years, and years, and years...which eventually funded the DVD.


    By around 2003 I had a 32" Sony 720 HDTV hooked up to my stereo speakers. With restored films on DVD in their proper aspect ratio, I'd say this was from my perspective maybe about 50% as good as a film at a theater. What an improvement...and yet, still far from a good home theater experience.


    Then, in 2009, after pining and whining for a while, my wife gave in and let me buy an ok but not really fancy home theater set up--42" 1080 Sony Bravia, PS3, 5 speakers--add blu-rays, and wow. I was blown away for the first time in my home theater life. To me it's sometimes as much as c.85% of what it's like to go to the movies at a good theater. Many films I've never seen before in my life, such as An American in Paris, are favorites now thanks to this system. And compared to the scratched, faded, and dirty prints that I saw in revival theaters way back in the 70s and 80s.... Well, I miss the audience, but aside from that what I'm watching now just wipes out most of the stuff I saw back then.


    The thoughts by Professor E and others are well stated and valid and he and they make some excellent points. And I do worry about the future, and even what's going on in the present. But right now, for me and I assume for some others at least, we've never had it so good and we are really enjoying it. And not only that, it's better than I ever imagined it possibly could be....


    But, that's just my 2 cents. They are only my thoughts for my situation, and obviously don't apply to others...
     
  17. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    5,616
    Likes Received:
    3,249
    Real Name:
    Josh Steinberg
    I think the future will be both exciting and disturbing, simultaneously, for a lot of people like us.


    On one hand, more and more program content is becoming available through streaming and other downloadable services - the "Back To The Future"/"Star Trek" idea of having anything ever made available at your fingertips is closer and closer to reality each year. As a fan of film, first and foremost, that excites me. At the end of the day, as much as I love a great presentation, the content is what matters. Content is why I put up with watching classic movies on PBS at 1am as a child with a tiny 4" portable TV hidden under my sheets. Because the power of the content came through even in less than ideal viewing spaces. For a lot of people, the ability to watch anything anywhere at anytime trumps quality demands. And while I usually prefer a vinyl album over an MP3, even I have to admit there's a certain convenience of being able to load everything I've ever bought onto my computer, hit "shuffle", and sit back and enjoy.


    On the other hand, the technical quality available to home viewers is better than it's ever been, and it becomes more affordable every year. I think there's always going to be a demand for the highest quality for huge blockbuster type films. Everyone loves a Star Wars or Star Trek with incredible HD picture. But I think many people are happy to make due with a lesser quality image for "quieter" films, things that they don't perceive to require the most state-of-the-art equipment. I'm not saying I agree with that -- I love being able to watch Blu-ray discs of black and white classics from the 40s and actually see the texture and film grain that was part of the image and the design of the filmmakers -- but not everyone feels that way. Who am I to say that they're wrong? For many people, home streaming from a Netflix type service is "good enough". Heck, as a silly little example, I watched "Arthur" (the original, not this new travesty) through Netflix streaming last week and indeed, while the picture and sound quality didn't blow me away, it was certain good enough to enjoy everything I've ever loved about that film. I probably won't watch it again for at least another five years, so why spend money on a Blu-ray that's not likely to be a frequent watch?


    I think maybe because DVD was so huge for quite a few years, maybe we've forgotten that as home theater enthusiasts, we're a small minority of the total filmgoing audience. I think studios and technology companies will always be happy to have our dollars because we're willing to pay a premium for a premium product. But not everyone feels the same way, and for lack of a better term, it seems like the sales numbers are normalizing to what probably better reflect the tastes of the masses. Don't undervalue convenience - I always want the best quality possible, but even so, there are times where I'll sacrifice quality for convenience. Consider that twenty or even ten years ago, if you wanted to see a movie, for the most part you were dependent on either the video store carrying it, or a cable channel airing it. Now you can easily rent the same title by mail, and if you don't want to wait, there are usually a bunch of options to get that title immediately through streaming or pay-per-view or cable on demand. There is something to be said for being able to watch whatever thing you feel like right at the second it comes to mind. And I think that kind of convenience will always come with a lesser quality because that's how those things are technically feasible.


    I also say, for what it's worth, don't underestimate the power of the bad economy in influencing people's habits. When you've got a larger amount of disposable income, and maybe more importantly, when it feels like that income is always going to be there, it's natural to spend it more freely. When that starts to go away, people get more selective about how they spend what they have. And, at the end of the day, whether you watch the new Star Trek or The Dark Knight in 1080p or 720p or even 480i, the movie is still the same - still the same cast, still the same story, still the same ending, still the same movie. It's not even like the old days of broadcast or basic cable where waiting to see it on TV often meant an edited and/or censored version of the feature - it's the same content, it's only the level of presentation that's different. I don't really feel comfortable judging people for being totally content with watching a movie of their choice on an iPad or laptop screen -- that's not my preferred choice for viewing, but I don't think they're wrong to enjoy the ease and relatively inexpensive cost of doing so. I think there's always going to be a high-end audience, people like us who are on HTF, who want to pay more to get the best possible picture and sound quality. But just as we would have been the niche audience in the days of laserdisc, we're probably going to find ourselves in a similarly small minority once again. I don't think that will kill home theaters or Blu-ray or whatever comes next -- but I think people like us are probably going to spend more time mail or internet ordering something instead of being able to walk into a store, where shelf space is limited, to get what we want.
     
  18. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,947
    Likes Received:
    1,035
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Real Name:
    Glen
    Great posts, Ben and Josh! I agree with just about everything you each wrote.


    I have nothing but respect and, quite frankly, an unyielding awe over the progress of technology in the past 30 years. The popular use of computers and the advent of the internet have been a modern miracle, the most incredibly pervasive in my lifetime. It's still not on par with my grandparents, who went from riding in a horse and buggy to witnessing men walking on the moon, but having an entire world literally at our fingertips is nothing short of awe inspiring.

    I try to keep an open mind about it all and never be too inordinately intimidated by it, though the inherent complexity of its essential nature, that of constant change and innovation, can be head scratching to say the least. Still, I continue to learn and I hope that the inventions of tomorrow continue to tweak the best of today rather than just make the worst look more shiny.
     
  19. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Messages:
    10,512
    Likes Received:
    385
    Location:
    Overland Park, KS
    Real Name:
    Matt
    I believe these three things:

    While no one is looking, Microsoft, Google, Sony, Netflix, Comcast, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Universal.. they have all agreed on a digital token standard: UltraViolet. Ultraviolet as a universal token would allow your purchases to be digitally streamed and available in all formats on a myriad of devices (PS3, XBOX, WP7, Android, Tablets, whatever) from a single purchase. There are only two major media companies not part of the UltraViolet standard (Apple and Disney) and Disney is now "considering" UltraViolet. Should everyone unify on UltraViolet as a standard, it will provide a unique experience - buy once, own forever, everywhere.


    I think the sad thing is, people like us who buy large home theater systems and go for a great fantastic experience.. more people are finding viewing movies on a 4" screen "COOL!" Argh! It sucks all the cool out of it for me. In the past ten years I've seen fewer and fewer manufacturers make real, beefy well built speakers. More and more are looking to come up with on-wall, microthin presentations as a way to appease the wife acceptance factor and cool look. Expect that to continue. The form over function crowd is definitely winning.


    I think the day of network programming is coming to a screeching end. We're already seeing it. Using (mersh mersh mersh) software, it's already possible to create your own TV channels within Windows Media Center, that assembles previous recorded shows you haven't seen, and organizes it based on priorities, what you've watched and not watched.. filtering your stations down so that time-shifting is the ONLY way people really watch TV.


    To be honest, I relish the hobby going back to being a smaller set of people. I will never give up my Beauty and the Beast CAV laserdisc set. I'm sure I'll feel the same about some bluray. There is some joy about calling up someone and bitching over cables or talking about how to get something calibrated the right way. It sure beats talking to a bunch of potsers at Best Buy who think a $300 HTIB is "super cool"
     
  20. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    5,616
    Likes Received:
    3,249
    Real Name:
    Josh Steinberg

    That's a great point and one I agree with completely -- I'm pretty close with my grandmother, who's a year or two away from 90. It's amazing to me to think that when she was a kid growing up, there was no such thing as sound-on-film, much less color film, television, automobiles owned by every family, phones that could fit in your pocket, a man on the moon, all of that stuff. Just how far technologically we've come since I was a kid growing up in the 80s has astounded me -- it used to be, you had what was on the major networks (and if you missed an episode of a TV show you liked, that was usually it as far as your chances went) and what you could find at the local video store or library. Videos were priced to rent, not own, so collecting back then was a much more expensive endeavor, and just finding anything outside of the most popular mainstream of the time was a big task. I was thinking about this the other day because the Film Forum in NYC is doing a W.C. Fields retrospective, and it reminded me that when I first got into W.C. Fields, the friend of the family who introduced me to his work had to call about half a dozen video stores before he was able to find a tape to rent. Nowadays, W.C. Fields' best films are on DVD, which can be purchased or easily rented through Netflix. So when people talk about how the sky is falling in terms of home theater, I have a slightly different perspective -- when I was a kid, it was either nearly impossible to find something like a W.C. Fields film on tape, or would take a lot of calling around to stores and a bit of luck. Now, I can buy a W.C. Fields DVD box set with five movies for less than what it would have cost to purchase one VHS tape of his back in the 80s - or I can rent those movies on Netflix for basically nothing. I have more access to a wider variety of film than ever before -- I think it's really up to people like us who have always had a passion for film and for home theater to keep sharing whatever treasures we most valued from our upbringing with friends and family that otherwise wouldn't be exposed to it. At the end of the day, as much as I love watching movies at home in HD -- the most pleasure I get out of my home theater setup and years of collecting movies is the smile, the look of pure joy on the face of someone who's seen something I always thought was amazing for the first time. Sometimes I get a little snobby about my setup or about watching something in HD or SD (and really, who among us doesn't at least occasionally?), but really, there's nothing better than being able to share these incredible films with people we care about. Recently, my younger brother told me how he had discovered "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and absolutely loved it -- what could be better than the moment I said, "those two guys starred in another movie together that was called The Sting, let's watch it together". And, bringing this back to where it all started -- I love when I can sit with my grandmother and watch what were her favorite films from when she was my age. Or the first time that I saw Chaplin's "The Kid", which my grandfather had described to me many, many times when I was a child -- he had passed away before the DVDs ever came out, and the day I was able to get my hands on a copy and watch it, and hear his voice in my head telling me how much he enjoyed seeing it when he was a child -- nothing beats that. And, ultimately, that kind of emotional experience can be had on a giant screen TV or an iPad. So I don't worry too much about the future of home theater.
     

Share This Page