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It took an OLED TV to get me to be disappointed in the quality of standard digital projection in the cinemas (1 Viewer)

Carlo Medina

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Disclaimer: I love going to the theater. No matter how great my home system is, there is no replacement for seeing it on a larger than life big screen. This is not a "going to the movies is pointless now that my HT is so awesome" thread.

So for Christmas I gave myself a 65" LG C1 OLED. At 8' viewing distance it certainly doesn't fill the field of view like a movie theater, but given my living situation I couldn't go larger. My previous TVs were decent-to-good LEDs (Sony 900F and Samung KS8000) but obviously OLED has introduced true blacks and improved shadow detail in a way that not even my FALD Sony could do. I've been enjoying movies greatly in the four months I've owned this set. During that time, I've only gone out to see two movies...a combination of my friends that I go to see movies with are still a little conservative about going out to very crowded places, and quite honestly there hasn't been a ton of movies that I've been wanting to see so badly I'd go by myself.

The first exception to that was back in January, when I saw Spider-Man No Way Home. I saw it on IMAX Laser Projection at the TCL Chinese in Hollywood. That was such a spectacular playback arena that it gleefully reminded me that no matter how great my home theater was, it would never best that.

The second exception was last night, when I saw a normal digital projection of Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore at the local AMC Cineplex. It's a relatively new-ish set of theaters (the mall had a major renovation a few years ago where Westfield Co. literally stripped it to the bare metal beams and essentially re-built it from the ground up). However this wasn't the IMAX laser projection, it was just the normal viewing.

Admittedly I was there for my friend who is a big fan of the FB movies. I had seen #1 and recall finding it decent but also forgettable, and missed #2. So I had no idea what to really expect in this movie. Throughout the showing, all I could think of was how not-black, the blacks were, and how a lot of shadow detail was not very visible, and the colors were washed out. But not being a Fantastic Beasts aficionado, I thought maybe this is how it was shot.

Today I fired up both of the previous movies on HBO Max (which has them in HD but not 4K+HDR) and sampled quite a few scenes on each one. My OLED displayed inky blacks, good shadow detail, and sure due to the era in which the movies are set there are plenty of drab colored suits...but there's also scenes of pretty vivid colors which I noted were largely absent in the movie last night. The contrast ratio on my OLED was far superior to what I saw last night (and no I don't have it on torch mode, I've calibrated it).

Now maybe that's the way the film was shot. I note it's the same director for all three so one would think he'd go for a mostly uniform look throughout these films, but that could be a mistaken assumption. It did make me realize that with OLED becoming affordable (I paid less for this 65" C1 than I did for a 40" Toshiba RPTV back in the early 2000s without adjusting for inflation!) that we are now getting better contrast, black levels, and shadow detail than the standard xenon digital projector used in many cineplexes that aren't the IMAX Laser Projection or Dolby Cinema showings.

Once FB:SoD is out on HBO Max, I'll be curious to see if its color palette and black levels match those of the first two movies. If it does, then I'm going to think twice before putting money down on standard digital projection, and only buy tickets for IMAX and Dolby Cinema showings.
 

John Dirk

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I don't want to start a general "home vs commercial" theater discussion either as we've done that ad nauseum and my position won't change. I'll just say that image quality is the least of the reasons I abhor commercial theaters and once the screen size reaches 100 plus inches, even the larger than life aspect is achievable at home.
 

Wardog555

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I also can't tolerate standard cinema which is 7.1 and 2k resolution. Meanwhile at home I have 4k Dolby vision and Dolby atmos.

No local cinemas nearby has 4k with Dolby atmos together. I need to travel like 90 minutes to get it. Same applies to imax. Only one in New Zealand.
 

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