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4K TVs with HDR outshine movie theaters

What's behind the shift?

Dave in a movie theater with popcorn

Well, this is different.

When it comes to the latest picture technology, TVs usually trail behind movie theaters. For example, 4K projectors have been common in theaters for years, while 4K TVs are still fairly new.

But the HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology present in those 4K TVs has flipped that script. Filmmakers now find themselves in the position of having to limit what they put into a film because movie theaters can't show the full range of what the latest cameras can capture. However, 4K TVs with HDR can — and the Blu-ray or streamed version of that same movie can be created from the un-watered-down original file, so that viewers at home see brighter highlights and colors with more pop, as the director intended.

This situation poses some interesting dilemmas for content companies like 20th Century Fox, which is a major player in film and TV production, as well as in the home video business (Blu-rays, etc.). Hanno Basse, Chief Technology Officer at Fox Filmed Entertainment, and chairman of the Ultra HD Alliance, discusses these topics in detail in this Q&A report at HD Guru.

How long will this last? It's not clear. After all, it's easier and cheaper for you or I to replace a TV (I just checked, and at the moment Crutchfield has 60+ HDR TVs, some with prices as low as $800),  than for a movie theater to upgrade its projectors — at several hundred thousand dollars a pop! Also, keep in mind that the amount of 4K content with HDR that you can watch on TV is still limited, but growing.

  • Bob Silvers from Seattle

    Posted on 6/25/2016

    It sad to say that 4k tv will not last long life wise the 4k is just another phase in tv manufacturing but cheep parts in tv is why the tv won't last. The manufacturers over charge for tv that will break down in less then 2 years and know it. The old tube tv were built must better. Just feel bad for the million of people that the tv design will screw over.

  • Jon

    Posted on 6/26/2016

    True, Bob, but not in the way that you think. 4K will eventually phase out, but only when they increase the amount of pixels to create an even sharper image. If there is one constant in the evolution of televisions and monitors, it's the ever-changing resolution of the image.

  • Jeff from Walla Walla

    Posted on 8/1/2016

    LG and Samsung are now rapidly advancing the television and display industry. They are moving far faster than the motion picture industry. Movie theaters are on their way out, much like the horse and buggy gave way to the automobile. It's about time.

  • Ron from Union

    Posted on 10/8/2016

    I remember working at a movie theater as a youngster. All the talk and concern was that VHS video rentals would ruin the theater business. Then along came DVD rentals. Now where are the movie rental stores? A theater provides a service and an 'escape' for a couple hours that you can't get at home. Nothing can actually compare with the ambience of a theater full of patrons that all scream or cry or sway in their seats simultaneously. If you are in a theater and a roller coaster scene comes on the big screen, people can feel that almost like you are on the ride. I don't see movie theaters going anywhere for a while.

  • Doc Halide

    Posted on 11/8/2016

    You all seem to think 4K will go the way of 3D (which was Never worth a crap). I doubt it. Look how Long it took for HD to become standard. Limited broadcasting began in the late 90s, but wasn't routine for at least another 10 years. Have you tried buying a standard def TV in the last 5 years?

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