Why going to the Movies is Still Better Than Home Theater
There is no
doubt in my mind that just about any decent home theater system I assemble,
using some of the better equipment on the market today, rivals most of the
local Cineplex’s (IMAX and Disney theaters not included). Virtually anytime I go to one of my local
movie theaters, I almost always find faults in the audio or video quality.
Common Issues with Most Movie Theaters
- Too much bass (usually boomy)
- Too little bass or subwoofer bottoming (not enough subwoofer for the venue)
- The center channel is either distorted or set too low
- The audio dialog is out of sync with the video
- The movie is played too loud making it almost unbearable during dynamic passages
- The video is out of focus
- The video image isn’t properly scaled on the screen
- You can see through the screen
But despite the limitations of most local theaters, it is often still my choice venue when viewing full length featured movies. To better understand my pro argument for Movie Theaters, I have developed a point system and broken into the following categories: Sound & Video Quality, Convenience & Comfort. My point system is a bit biased towards being a married man, but I never claimed this article was objective or scientific in any fashion.
Sound & Video Quality
I’ve set up
modest home theaters using equipment from our Recommended Buying Guides
including satellite speakers, dual subwoofers, mid priced receivers and a sub
$2k front projector that literally ran circles around my local AMC and Muvico
Megaplex theaters. The experience was
much more immersive, the dialog clearer, the bass tighter and the visual was so
Home Theater: 2 points for better audio and 2 points for better video
Convenience & Comfort
clearly better audio and video from a home theater, you also have one key
feature no movie theater can ever have….. a PAUSE button. This is your passport to the bathroom without
missing Jet Li open up a can of whoop ass on his foe. I was blessed at birth with small bladder
syndrome and almost never make it through an entire movie without having to get
up once to drain the lizard. At home, don’t
be afraid to drink that 64 Oz Super Gulp, pause at will or hit stop to watch
the rest of the movie another day should you be feeling tired or out of time.
Home Theater: 3 points for Pause feature
Ok, so far
Home Theater has seven points and the Cineplex has a big fat zero. Let’s also not forget creature comforts. This is where home theater wins with flying
colors. Choosing between sticky
uncomfortable, dirty theater chairs and sharing arm rests with your oversized
neighbor versus chilling on your couch or customized reclining theater chairs
with nice clean wood or carpeted floors, I choose the later. No contest.
Home Theater wins again.
Home Theater: 2 points for better creature comforts
Thing aren’t looking too good for the local Cineplex. By now you must be wondering my choice of title for this article. How on earth could going to the movies be better than your home theater?
The answer is: FREEDOM!
got kids, it’s difficult to find the time or isolation to sit down and watch a
movie in your home, especially at THX reference levels. Thus going to the local theater forces you to
hire a baby sitter. Despite the local
theater is inferior in so many ways, and is usually plagued with too many
obnoxious horny teenagers, it’s still your passport to uninterrupted
entertainment making the wife happy since you now have a night out on the town
for just the two of you.
Local Theater: 10 points for Kid free zone feature
Tabulated Scorecard Breakdown
|Metric||Home Theater||Movie Theater|
|Kid Free Zone||0||10|
I saw Transformers, 5 weeks after it opened, in my semi-local THX certifies theatre and there was 8 other people in the cinema besides myself. It was awesome.
I have 2 kids, 6 and 8, whose movie tastes still are around the level of SpaceJam and are not allowed to watch most of the movies I own (action, sci-fi) so my viewing times are pretty limited.
Have tried complaining at a theatre on occassion but to no avail. As I said, real pain.
The only thing I like at the Theater is the screen size. Hopefully in the next 12-18 months that will be changing at our house. I plan to finish part of our basement into a family room/theater. 110" screen ought to do it at a 12-14 feet viewing distance.
I think I'm spoiled in the Boise, Idaho area. Everyone goes to the 21 screen megaplexes and leaves the little jewels like the Reel Theatres (locally owned) less crowded. The theatre I normally go to has 6 screens and all 6 are dolby digital sound. 2 of them even meet THX requirements, although the owner chose not to renew the certification because it really had no ROI. The big hyped up movies will sell out at the megaplexes but rarely do they sell out at the Reel theatres (not good for them but fine for me). Even the discount $2.50 ticket Reel Theatre has digital sound in all screens, and reclining chairs.
At my near by 20-plexe here, all 20 are THX Cert. and sound surprisingly good.
In any major metropolitan area, you won't find too many screens that don't have digital sound these days... A number of the "Art House" theaters in the area are the only ones that lack great sound, but they make up for it with less people also.