- The HCE Video Series
The story below was originally published on Theo’s Roundtable, for which I am contributing writer.
Streaming, when discussing it amongst true believers—aka home theater enthusiasts—seems to be a four-letter word. They don’t like streaming because it represents a compromise in both audio and video quality. While they may be right in their assertions, they’re failing to see the larger, more important, picture. You see, most of these enthusiasts have home theaters because, well, they’ve grown tired of the commercial-cinema experience. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, the commercial cinema has largely been transformed from palaces of awe and wonder to Walmarts in need of a cleanup. The only thing stopping the home cinema experience from surpassing that of the commercial cinema is access.
Theaters still get theatrical content first, and while the release window that separates theatrical from home video may be shrinking, it’s still the commercial cinema that comes out ahead. But this is changing, and right before our eyes. While there are ultra-exclusive services like the Bel Air circuit and such that bring commercially-available titles home the same day they’re released in theaters, those services are cost-prohibitive, not to mention tailored for all but the top one of the one-percenters.
So what does this have to do with streaming? It’s simple: In an effort to wean consumers off of discs and thus (hopefully) piracy, the studios have begun releasing titles digitally—aka streaming—before even their home-video release dates. For example, the online or streaming service I choose to use is Vudu—one, because their HDX format in terms of audio and video quality is second only to Blu-ray and far ahead of where others are at present; and, second, because they’ve begun to make titles available before they’re available anywhere else. How soon? I bought Argo on Blu-ray this week as my wife and I hadn’t yet seen it. But had she not been out of town on a shoot these past few weeks, we probably would’ve enjoyed it on Vudu, as it was available three weeks ago. Other titles where similar early releases have been seen are Skyfall, Prometheus,and Here Comes the Boom. All of these before-mentioned films bowed on Vudu before physical disc. This is what I mean when I say support for streaming is a good thing—regardless of how you feel about its overall quality.
If more folks took up the cause of day & date—whereby a film’s release is seen both commercially and at home on the same day—rather than getting tied up in format wars or discussions over pixels, we might actually start getting our favorite films when we want them and instead of…
The Home Cinema Experience
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