The direct-view LED display industry is making a push into the cinema space. The most exciting part of this development is of course the potential for a much improved viewing experience in the theater. Instead of casting light to fill a screen from a single projection source across the room, direct-view LED displays act as their own light source and are easily able to shine beyond ten times as bright as typical projection technology. LED displays carry no optical distortion, can reach far wider color gamut, and have nearly unlimited contrast ranges. Off-axis viewing quality is also far better with direct view LED displays than with projection tech, so missing out on the choice seats in the middle of the row will no longer be an issue for the movie-goers of tomorrow. Though certainly something to monitor, this full theater transformation is likely a few years down the road. In the meantime, there are countless other uses for LED displays elsewhere in the facility.
Large public spaces like airports, arenas, and convention centers have found great utility from LED display tech by incorporating it for wayfinding purposes and theaters would do well to take notice. One of the drawbacks of the movie theater experience can be the effort it takes to find the nearest bathroom and the correct auditorium. The lobby and hallways of a movie theater are traditionally quite well-lit of course, which means static signage can blend in with the rest of the lush décor. This confusion can frustrate customers who naturally want to minimize the time they spend outside of their seats. They don’t want to miss any action! Versatile enough to integrate into just about any architecture and bright enough to stand out amidst bustling crowds, direct-view LED displays serve as a much better resource for these eager movie-goers than the static signage of the past. More effective wayfinding signage will lead to happier customers and reduced foot traffic, two things that will make life easier for theater personnel.
Beyond this wayfinding usefulness, large-format LED technology can be remarkably effective for promotional purposes. Consider how exciting movie posters would be if instead of being printed on paper they were showcased in brilliant LED. Imagine further that these posters no longer showed a single image but instead showed previews of their respective movies. Poster-sized LED displays linked together through a display management platform would save time and money in the long run by eliminating the need to order and replace posters manually. And they’d be much more attention-grabbing.
Further, direct-view LED displays can create quite the marquee. In days past, the theater marquee was what drew in crowds to see the latest pictures. Static letters bordered by blinking bulbs lit up the entire street. While people now get most of their movie information online, theaters should seek a return to the days where their marquee made a statement. Modern streets are checkered with bright lights but a true large-format LED marquee will outshine everything on the block. In fact, the US Small Business Association published a report declaring that in terms of cost per thousand impressions LED displays blew competition out of the water.
The future of cinema will heavily feature LED display technology, but there is plenty of usefulness there for LED in the present. While the silver screens may remain primarily projection-based for now, LED has already proven the best option for other use cases in and around the theater. To read more about the direct-view LED industry’s forays into the cinema space, check out this piece here.