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Home Theater Getting Closer in Value to Theatrical Experience

21 Jun, 2004 By: Stephanie Prange

Despite being in the video business, I used to frequently tell people to see special effect-laden or panoramic films on the big screen. “You really have to see it on the big screen,” was the typical comment about big event films. But as the home video and home theater experience has increased in value, the theatrical experience has actually lessened in value — making the two more comparable.

If you live in a big city, seeing an event film on opening weekend means standing in line for a considerable time to get a good seat, paying close to $10 per ticket (more if you order them through some service like Fandango to ensure your seat) and being subjected to numerous advertisements (and I don't mean trailers) before the film. My husband and I recently saw The Day After Tomorrow and felt we could only justify the cost in both money (babysitter included) and time if we saw it on IMAX — the biggest screen possible.

I recently wrote a column about my decision to forego seeing the Lord of the Rings finale in theaters and wait for the DVD. It's a long film, and I ended up viewing it over two nights on disc, which to me was a more enjoyable way to consume the Academy Award-winner. I think I enjoyed it more without the hassle of the theater. It's one of my favorite films of the year — even though I didn't see it on the big screen.

Film fans with home theater setups more elaborate than mine (which isn't very) would likely find it hard to pass up watching a DVD in the comfort of their own home in favor of trekking to the Cineplex to suffer sticky floors and crying babies.

While Americans won't likely abandon the traditional pastime of going to the movies, the theater in their own home is looking better and better.

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