Why Home Theater Has an Advantage
Every year, while movie theater ticket prices go up, HDTV prices come down. That gives the home theater two big advantages: convenience and affordability. At home you can watch what you want, when you want, and movies are making the journey from the silver screen to DVD or Blu-ray faster than ever. Those lower prices also apply to the digital 3-D phenomenon. That's right -- you can get 3-D TV in your home, too. That gives home theater another advantage, no matter how public opinion on 3-D changes.
If digital 3-D truly becomes a must-have part of the movie experience, 3-D TVs will grow more affordable year after year as the consumer technology improves. If it proves to be nothing but a gimmick, non-3-D plasma and LCD sets will still be around at even lower prices than the more complicated 3-D televisions. The pace of technological progression will always favor home cinema; in 2006, LCD TVs were just taking off as viable HD solutions. In 2011, many TVs now use OLED backlighting for superior image quality in dramatically thinner packages and screen sizes continue to grow while the bulkiness of TVs decreases. For example, Samsung offers a 2011 model 65-inch 1080p TV that's less than 1-inch thick [source: Samsung].
Even if theater profits are still high, lower attendance numbers could eventually become a concern. Theater attendance was down 5.2 percent in 2010; the question is, can theaters remain profitable if that trend continues [source: Box Office Mojo]? Between big-screen TVs and home theater projectors, the movie theater industry has to find new ways to draw people to the theater if it wants to keep pace with the appeal of relaxing on the couch with an endless stream of Netflix content.