Why would you not want a Commercial Cinema At Home?

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Real theatre at home

Why you would not want a Commercial Cinema At Home?

Hold on, what sorcery is this…an article advocating to not have a Commercial Cinema at Home?  Have we gone crazy at Dream AV?

Well no, not at all.  The fact is that you actually do not want a Commercial Cinema at home for one particular reason, you will be losing out on performance.

Commercial cinemas are driven by a huge factor, profit.

Profit arises from spending as little as possible to achieve what they require then charge as much as possible (as much as the movie goer is willing to pay).

The thing is there is a ceiling to what the average cinema goer is willing to pay and this means that to be profitable long term commercial cinemas need to look at how to keep costs down, and specifically in the area of hardware.


There is a big difference between a commercial cinema and a home cinema and it needs to be implemented properly

One clear example of this is to think about how long it took and how many cinemas actually have true DTS or Dolby Digital sound?  How many have Atmos, Auro 3D or DTS-X?  The fact is that take-up in Home Cinema is far outranking the take up in Commercial Cinemas.

Why is this so?

Let’s look at some of the points here:

(a) A Home Cinema is a smaller area so the total cost of hardware is less, which means at Home you can spend more on quality products but you can also upgrade more frequently as the total cost of an upgrade is not as large.

Neither are you overly concerned about ROI (return on investment) in dollar terms.  Your ROI is in pure enjoyment and long term experience.

(b) A Commercial Cinema includes all the good and the bad that goes with it. An environment which has lots of people in it, noisy people, sticky floors, worn out chairs amongst other things.

So who would want this experience at home?  Why would you want the total Commercial Cinema experience at home in reality?

(c) Commercial Cinemas have different focuses to Home Cinemas.  They need to run 365 days a year, often 14+ hours a day.

Product robustness and longevity is vital and a serious concern.  Commercial Cinemas want the product to last as long as possible as a priority to boost their ROI over extended periods of time.

(d) The demands on treating a Commercial Cinema acoustically differs to a Home Cinema.  Commercial Cinemas require high density of patrons, way more than a Home Cinema does, so the type and design will differ to what you do at Home.

This is often reflected in the difference in products that are used in a Commercial Cinema.

The speakers that are used in a Commercial Cinema employ different designs to cope in this unique environment, one that is full of many bodies and extreme acoustic treatment in order to create an effective sound field. They are specifically designed for this environment so to use them correctly at home you would need to create pretty much the same environment.

Some of the seating in concept is very cool to use in a Home Cinema, but again this seating is designed for a huge amount of use, so robustness and longevity can give away to extreme comfort.

The projectors used in Commercial Cinemas also differ.  They sit in a separate projection room as they are very large, noisy and run quite hot.  Even then the way that they hook up to the Commercial Cinema system differs to how we do it at home.

Home Cinema

Your home environment is different which allows you to use products with more finesse

If you are prepared to go this full length (have a separate projection room) and buy the same products to hook it up correctly then you could use it.  Even then however down to size of the room in a Commercial Cinema, size of screen and brightness of the projector to make this work you would need a similar sized room as well.

Companies like Barco (who are one of the main supplier of Commercial Cinema projectors in the world) as an example, make a residential line of projectors specifically suited to the Home Cinema and its environment incorporating the technology created in for a Commercial Cinema for a Home Cinema.

These home versions can produce just as good as or even better than Commercial Cinema quality image.  They recognise that the Home Cinema differs from Commercial and adjust their products to suit.

Think of Formula 1 racing, where some of the technology that is developed in these cars eventually trickles down to the every day cars we drive.  However by the time it hits our cars, it has been modified specifically for what we drive and the environment we drive in.  No one in their right mind would drive a Formula 1 car every day around the streets.

In addition the biggest mistake you can make is think that loudness means quality – IT PURELY DOES NOT!

If anyone focuses on how loud a system can be over quality of sound, be careful as that is a big danger sign.

Prolonged high level sound will damage your hearing, forever and potentially severely. It can be as little as 10 minutes exposure at extreme sound level to cause permanent hearing damage.

A good Home Cinema should have impact, sound should be clear, detailed and precise without having to be at extreme loudness to have this effect and it should not require your ears to bleed in order to be considered good.

Real Cinema At Home

A Home Cinema can be much more than a Commercial Cinema. The experience can be made to be so much more – more comfortable, better sound, better picture, better ambience

So it is an amazing fact but you can actually get a better than commercial cinema experience at home.

The aim of all Home Cinema professionals should be to create an experience in your Home Cinema that is superior to that of a commercial cinema.

This is a standard emphasised by CEDIA (which the Custom Electronics Design  and Installation Association, the main organisation of our industry) who basically says that if you are creating a commercial cinema experience at home you are underachieving.

Nor does this require a monumental budget either, although you definitely can spend a lot even for your Home Cinema. Check out our Ultimate Home Cinema article to see just how much you can spend.

So how do you achieve a better than Commercial Cinema at Home?

You need to ensure that who you are talking to understands the real difference between a Home Cinema and a Commerical Cinema.

The first step is to get a great design and plan, which we at Dream AV can easily help you with.  This ensures that you get a better than a Commercial Cinema at home to suit your budget.

Post the design stage we then help you find the best integrators / retailers to implement the plan, those that understand what we are trying to achieve.

Ultimately you want your Home Cinema to provide a better than Commercial Cinema experience.


2 Responses to "Why would you not want a Commercial Cinema At Home?"
  1. Eric says:

    Its not about the products, its about the experience of “real cinema”. And who wouldn’t want to have that at home?

  2. Dream AV says:

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for your comment, appreciate you taking the time with your feedback.

    The aim here was to look at the difference between the two environments and the possibility of getting a better experience at home. The fundamentals are similar – big image and huge impact, but at home more comfort, better finesse – better than a commercial cinema.

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