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Samsung wants theaters to replace movie projectors with LED displays

30 Mar 2017 | Rasmus Larsen |

Samsung’s “Cinema Screen” uses LED technology to deliver pictures in 4K DCI and HDR (High Dynamic Range). However, these screens are not meant for the home. Samsung hopes to offer an alternative to movie projectors in theaters.

4K HDR for cinema

As living room TVs are threatening to race past the cinema screens in terms of technical capabilities, theaters are adopting new projection technologies such as laser. Samsung believes that it has an alternative to projection; LED.

Samsung Cinema Screen

- ”The 34 foot Samsung Cinema Screen easily accommodates modern theater dimensions. In addition to delivering LED picture quality at 4K (4,096 x 2,160) resolution, the screen also exceeds the highly-esteemed DCI specifications used to ensure a uniform and high level of technical performance, reliability, and quality in digital cinema,” Samsung said.

34 feet corresponds to 10.36 meters. Theater canvases typically range from 30 to 90 feet across.

To be clear these are real LED displays, unlike those LCD TVs that Samsung has touted as “LED TVs” for the past years. This year, Samsung will start referring to LCD displays as “QLED”. It is all very confusing but one of the reasons why LED displays have so far been reserved to large advertisement boards is that the physical pixels are quite big. Samsung appears to have made them small enough to fit a cinema screen but living room screens are obviously much smaller. A new technology dubbed microLED promises to fix that.

Samsung Cinema Screen

- “The Cinema Screen’s direct-lit LED technology truly delivers High Dynamic Range (HDR) to the cinema, showcasing on-screen contents at a peak brightness level nearly 10 times greater than that offered by standard cinema projectors (146fL versus 14fL) with improved uniformity and free of optical distortion and interference. This futuristic exhibition also offers a highly accurate and superior color presentation that will capture the viewer’s eye. Complementary ultra-contrast and low tone grayscale settings enable the screen to showcase both brightest colors and the deepest blacks at a nearly infinity:1 contrast ratio,” the company added.

146 fL equals 500 nits. As you may know, the brightest HDR TVs at home exceed 1500 nits and will likely approach 2000 nits this year. Samsung says that the higher brightness levels also enable theaters to show events, concerts, sports events, and gaming competitions.

Samsung Cinema Screen

A big task ahead

Samsung has a big task ahead in convincing movie theaters to make the switch. Theaters have used projectors for decades. Dolby has already started setting up HDR-capable theaters dubbed ‘Dolby Cinema’ that take advantage of laser projection systems.

- “As the popularity of advanced at-home entertainment systems and streaming platforms increases, theaters must reposition themselves as a destination for an incomparable viewing experience that consumers simply cannot encounter anywhere else,” said Sang Kim, Vice President of Samsung Electronics America.

To get partners onboard Samsung will propose a complete solution that includes a sound system developed by Harman that the South Korean giant recently acquired. No further details were announced.

Samsung’s Cinema Screen is currently undergoing the DCI certification process and recently completed compliance test at Keio University in Tokyo. The company did not say when, or where, moviegoers can experience the “theater of the future”.

- Source: Samsung

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