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TOPIC: Jumbo LED TV Screens in Theaters?

Jumbo LED TV Screens in Theaters? 05 Jan 2006 02:00 #28982

I'm trying to find out more about jumbo LED TV screens, and how far along this technology has come in terms of being practical in commercial movie theater usage -- that is, to replace the type of screens in use in regular theaters now. Are there good arguments why such LED technology will never be practical for usage in that way?
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Re: Jumbo LED TV Screens in Theaters? 05 Jan 2006 08:38 #28983

  • jimor
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The use of LED (Light Emitting Diode) large scale TV screens is not really new, but their expense has been keeping them from greater use. In many ways, LEDs are ideal for such applications, but expense is always a factor. When I was exploring the possibilities of using a cluster form of LEDs to replace certain ornamental theatre ceiling lights at the Milw. ORIENTAL, I spoke with an Asian man who was an Engineer at Area 12 of Idea Inc. in Brea CA. He sent me a single sample module containing seven LEDs in the three primary colors of light (red, green, and blue) and this 28mm square epoxy encapsulated black plastic module is obviously workable with others to create the needed light, but the then cost of $55 each would have been prohibitive for the theatre in quantity. With only a power dissapation of 30 milliamps, the resulting candle power was less than 2CD per module at maximum of colors, thus many of them would would have been needed to creatre enough light to be seen 40 feet above on the ceiling, especially if other lights were on which would tend to wash them out. None of this takes into account the additional costs of power supplies and installation, of course.

The making of LEDs is a precision electronic enterprise and therefore there is a high rejection rate which causes the per piece price to be higher than comparable discard rate when making light bulb arrays, for example. Light bulb arrays are possible, but do present numerous other problems making them impractical for TV array usage.

Here is the page ( http://www.sportsvenue-technology.com/contractors/sign/lighthouse/ ) of a German maker's site, as an example, showing their American installations, but you will not find a theatre in the list. Since projection means are possible for a theatre, they enjoy the current benefit of a much less costly installation than do stadia, but stadia cannot realistically use projection, so must spend much more for the higher technology to answer their needs. Therefore, it is not a matter of technical hurdles to surmount in using digital LED technology for theatres, but mostly a matter of money. Theatres exist to make a profit, and a persuasive argument would have to be made to incline them to spend for so much more expensive a 'screen' than the much cheaper reflective system long available. Other messages on this site have discussed the expense of implementing digital projection through some sort of light gate technology for some time, and some progress has been made in agreeing to spread the cost of conversion over the cinemas and the studios/distributors, but many, such as the indipendents usually represented here, are warry of the involvement of the studios who may well assist the cinema owners right out of their ownership. The studios would love to regain the vertically integrated system of cinema ownership or control that they had before the government-decreed disvestiture back in 1948, so if they can achieve the same thing contractually that is otherwise forbidden, then they will probably use that means in the guise of financing this new distribution/projection technique.

IF you one types in the search term 'stadium television' in Google, there are millions of 'hits' returned which should give one many outlets for research.
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: Jumbo LED TV Screens in Theaters? 06 Jan 2006 02:08 #28984

Thank you kindly for providing me with the more detailed specifics I need to know with regards to this. Meantime, prior to now I've done extensive research on this on the Internet, but was not able to find any indication that LED technology was being considered for use in theaters as of yet, other than possible usage on theater marquees, and wall-mounted movie poster displays.

But in looking to ahead, one thing to consider is that all forms of digital cinema techology open the way to other presentations being shown in theaters besides just movies. And this, in turn, opens the way to Hollywood's not having the extensive leverage over theaters that it has now. Digital cinema technology opens the way to theaters being able to present such things ranging from live rock concert telecasts to live sportscasts. Meaning that Hollywood could be cut out of the picture completely yet a theater could still hold up very well regardless. In brief, digital cinema technology will give theater operators the leverage they need to have with Hollywood which they're totally lacking now.

Think of Hollywood as a manufacturer, for ultimately that's just what it is. It manufactures a product, in this case, movies. Meantime, think of the theater operator as the retailer, the seller of Hollywood's product. And with the advent of digital cinema technology, soon to be the seller of other entities' products as well. And in this relationship to come, who is going to have the greater flexibility? Who will be more in a position of leverage? If the answer is the theaters -- and I believe that it is -- then I don't see the high costs of digital cinema technology as being all that terrible.

For consider this:

While few if any people today will pay too high a price to see a movie, look at what many people today are more than happy to pay for a Stones concert ticket or to see the Superbowl in person. In many instances we're talking prices in excess of a thousand dollars. And yet they're actually happy to pay it. So given that, would it seem that unusual if the same consumers wouldn't think twice about paying a hundred dollars or so to see the Stones live on the big screen, or the final game of the Superbowl in big screen format? If what I'm saying is true, my question is, how could Hollywood even begin to compete with that? For I can't even begin to imagine Hollywood being able to produce a movie that theater patrons would be more than happy to pay a hundred dollars or more to see. But a live big screen presentation of the final game of the Superbowl? In that instance it's "Hah! What's a mere hundred dollars!"

And if a theater operator is making over a hundred dollars on each ticket sale, and the theater attendees are happy to pay it, then it does become kind of a "Hah! What's a million dollars!" when talking about installing a jumbo LED TV screen in that theater to replace the conventional screen.
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Re: Jumbo LED TV Screens in Theaters? 06 Jan 2006 09:51 #28985

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I would never pay $100 to watch the superbowl in a theater. I would be surprised if you could find many others to pay that much either. Think about why people pay over a $1000 to go to the superbowl. It's not just to see the game on a screen, with all the commercials (which I can do at home for free). It's about the experience of being there. The NFL and the host city turn the town into "The NFL Experience". For many, it's one big party. There are people who go to the superbowl without tickets, who end up watching it on TV, but they get to be part of the big party atmosphere, the hype, the drama, and they get out of the house and take a little vacation as part of the deal. And, oh by the way, most of those high dollar tickets are bought by corporations, not individuals.

I'm not saying you couldn't sell tickets to your showings of different events, but I doubt the theater version of them would bring the ticket prices you seem to expect. They will also require handsome royalty checks for the copyright holders, if they will provide you a feed or even allow your public display of the event. I read somewhere that the NFL has already told some theaters in the past that they would only license the game to be played on several smaller screens and not on the theater screen (think sports bar), while other theaters have been able to have superbowl parties in front of the big screen. Go figure.

The superbowls is only an example. I'm sure many of the things I have said apply to any big event you can think of.

Just remember that it's not just the images and sounds, but the whole experience that sells tickets. Hmmm... Isn't that what so many have said over and over again in these forums?
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Re: Jumbo LED TV Screens in Theaters? 07 Jan 2006 01:45 #28986

Admittedly, I was spoiled by how well the theaters were run when I was a child and would love seeing that movement revived for those who want it. And it's a shame there are few if any in Hollywood right now, apparently, who feel the same way.

For to be sure, a well-produced movie presented in a well-designed, well-run theater, is the highest art form there is. And while no one seems to be disputing that point, there do appear to be many quite determined to prove the world can carry on without it. And let it be said that millions do carry on without it, yet without feeling any especial emptiness in their lives. And, to be sure, what could possibly make inept politicians, not to mention not particularly gifted Hollywood script writers, actors, directors and movie theater operators happier? For the most part it's all very out-of-sight/out-of-mind as it were. Of course, to be sure, it's all very Cain & Abel. For let it be said that the Hollywood of today, and the Hollywood of yesteryear, are two totally different Hollywoods. To call on the Hollywood of today to come forth with great things the way it once had is the equivelant of asking the Grinch, dressed up like Santa, to be like the real Santa Claus. And in full recognition of this, this is why I'm looking for every means possible to bypass Hollywood completely if that's the only way that theaters of today can ever hope to be venues of the highest art form there is once more. For as I say, as a child I was spoiled; I got to see what real greatness was. And then came the long intermission. And now it's like I'm sitting in the theater waiting for the McDonald's commercials to end and the movie to pick up once more where it last left off, while others sitting around me, having gotten to the theater late, aren't particularly put off by the commercials being shown since they never got to see anything else, and the proectionist isn't especially put off by it, since running the commercials is how he makes most of his money. As I say, it's all very Cain & Abel. And if no one else does, I see Cain for what he really is, and make all my decisions and choices accordingly.

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Re: Jumbo LED TV Screens in Theaters? 07 Jan 2006 11:53 #28987

I can think of a few reasons why we'll never switch our screens to jumbotrons (as they're know)...

-The screen would be very bright.
-You'd be sitting too close to it and would mostly see pixels.
-The cost (DLP's coming in, and to simply replace the film projector head is starting to get cheaper and cheaper, granted, its still got a way to go).
-No one wants to go to a theatre to watch a giant TV. Its bad enough that they have to pay to watch blown up film commercials.

We want to be able to hype "DIGITAL PICTURE", because for a while, that will be a BIG selling point that might intice people to return to theatres. Sure, the picture isn't as good, but if we can hype something that's not really such a big deal, and bring in a lot of people and increase sales, then we're just following the times.
Since 1987
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Re: Jumbo LED TV Screens in Theaters? 08 Jan 2006 00:56 #28988

In theory, at least, the problems you site with jumbotrons could be worked out in time -- reducing the size of the pixels till they're no longer detectable to the naked eye, for example, reducing the brightness of the screen to a comfortable level and so on -- but that's a long way from saying it will happen, or happen anytime soon. Meaning that the best that any theater operator can do, unless they just happen to be Paul Allen or somebody, is work with whatever technology actually happens to be available. Which is basically all I was trying to establish when I began this topic. If theater grade jumbotrons are still far off in the future, that might not be the case come tomorrow, while on the other hand, come tomorrow, or 50 years from now, we could still be saying the same exact thing, that it's all still far off in the future. For back when DLP technology first surfaced, who would have ever guessed that this many years later it would still be talked about as something yet to come? For as you can see, with my interest in jumbo LED TV screens I'm already thinking of it as something obsolete.

As for what lead me to favor LED jumbotron screens over DLP, it had to do with having the screen so it slants out over the audience rather than being mounted flat against the wall. See, the idea was to raise the screen to a higher level so that stadium style seating would no longer be necessary so that all audience members could see the screen unobstructed. But in rearranging the theater in this way, and with the screen slanting out over the audience, the question became, where to place the projector? And needless to say, a jumbotron in place of a regular screen would solve that problem.

Theoretically, the new concept looks feasible. But there's a day and night difference between that and the will to actually make it happen. And this shaky will atop the already difficult problem of trying to develop a better relationship between those who produce movies and those who exhibit them. And all at a time when movies that are simply entertaining and good box office draws is not enough.
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Re: Jumbo LED TV Screens in Theaters? 08 Jan 2006 02:00 #28989

Correction:

A Jumbotronâ„¢ -- a registered trademark and patent held by Sony Corp. --differs greatly from jumbo LED TV screens in that it utilizes CRT (cathode ray tube) technology rather than light emitting diodes. It is also at a much lower resolution. Although the term is currently often applied generically to any large size screen as currently used in sports stadiums and so on, it might be a bit misleading to use the term in this instance.
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Re: Jumbo LED TV Screens in Theaters? 09 Jan 2006 11:37 #28990

How about..........the use of LED screens to maybe rejuvenate outdoor driveins?

CW

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Re: Jumbo LED TV Screens in Theaters? 09 Jan 2006 13:41 #28991

  • Mike
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and the problem with 35 mm and screens is..........? Throw in a vid projector and I am good to go.

Michael Hurley
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Re: Jumbo LED TV Screens in Theaters? 09 Jan 2006 14:35 #28992

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To me LED screens are Displays not "Projection" screens. And I can't imagine the care that would be needed for LED's outdoors in the weather for a Drive-In.

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Re: Jumbo LED TV Screens in Theaters? 10 Jan 2006 01:53 #28993

In theory at least, there's not a problem I've heard about so far with regard to the use of jumbo LED TV screens in theaters -- or at drive-ins for that matter -- that can't be ironed out over time if it hasn't already.

But all theories aside, admittedly we're living in a very bizarre era now in that advanced technology that was perfected years ago continues to be locked away and wrapped up in ice for whatever reason. So given that, who really knows just how far jumbo LED TV screen technology has come? But if it is advanced as I think it is, at least behind closed doors if nowhere else, I feel it would solve a lot of problems if it were released, if released at a fair and reasonable price. The excellent site that Jimor2 above gave us a link to shows the jumbo LED TV screen they have at the Seattle Seahawks' Stadium, and I wonder if it's as impressive when seen firsthand as that photo shows. And does anyone know the exact figure as to what it cost Microsoft's Paul Allen?

Another thing I've been wondering, too, but have yet to acquire an answer for, is, can LED screens (or "displays" if you prefer) be curved, as is the case with Cinerama type screens? And does the display look exactly the same when viewed from any angle in terms of color intensity and so on? For let it be said that those two things are absolute musts.
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Re: Jumbo LED TV Screens in Theaters? 10 Jan 2006 07:26 #28994

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The intensity (luminousity) of LEDs is no longer an issue, since viewing during simulated darkenss will allow even the lower power LEDs to provide quite enough light to be seen, and too much light can always be reduced in several ways. The real problem from cost and mechanical considerations, is the matter of Chromaticity = how well the three colors of LEDs inside each pixel will represent the Munsel color centric curve. That is to say, the spectrum of reproduceable colors is limited by the chemistry of the LEDs, even as is a traditional TV screen's phosphors, though to a different degree. The human eye can see many color variations beyond what the display devices can reproduce, yet enough to satisfy the average eye in most scenes.

Coupled with this is the cost of making suitable LEDs of a chemistry that allows maximum color within the band of any one LED. Some blues, for example, will cover some of the blue range, but not all of it, while others will have more range but a shorter service life. Therefore LED technology is not as mature as that in TV phosphors, which have been around since the 1920s, while LEDs have only been around practically since the 1960s. Also interfering with the cheap adaptation of LEDs is the fact that some chemistries and manufacture techniques are under patent, and the permissions and royalities can be very difficult to get without enormous payments. For these and other reasons, the making of indoor use LED screens is not generally economical, though it is quite possible to fabricate them in curves and of controlled brightness levels.

For those intereted in the making and chemistry of LEDs, the best sight for the non-scientist is the "LED Museum" at www.ledmuseum.org

Anytime a screen is curved there are viewing problems to be met, both optically and in regard to simple color rendition. This is even more true for projection (due to focal lengths) than it is for a direct viewed source of light such as LEDs. Displays outdoors can be curved since it is assumed that people will be viewing such from a distance, and not up close as in a seating situation in a theatre. For such outdoor signs displaying graphics, such low resolution is acceptable, but the use of curved screens indoors would not present a good picture from any vantage, and would thus be avoided, if we are talking about something more than the gentle curvature used for widescreen projection.


[This message has been edited by jimor (edited January 10, 2006).]
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: Jumbo LED TV Screens in Theaters? 11 Jan 2006 05:26 #28995

So then it does appear that use of LED technology is still far down the road with regard to being introduced to theaters. Unless, that is, some Steven Jobs type gets involved and speeds up the pace of things.

For, for my purposes, the screen would absolutely have to curved, no ifs and or buts.

As for LED technology's limited spectrum at this point in time, to the average theater patron this probably would not be all that noticeable, particularly if the plot, story line and acting of the movie is especially riveting. I thought the color quality of The Titanic was quite poor due to its heavy reliance on computer generated imagery, yet this was counterbalanced by the film's suspense. In brief, to whatever degree LED technology is lacking right now would have to made up for with talent, otherwise theater patrons would indeed depart the theater feeling very shortchanged and disappointed. Even though cinema technology has come a long way since John Ford's Grapes of Wrath, the technology of which when compared to today's standards is quite terrible, who when seeing that movie today even notices, when the acting, Nunnely Johnson script, John Ford direction and so on is so superb?
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