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Why are there so few THX approved screens in UK?

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by Wasabi, Aug 28, 2004.

  1. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    I have a question to you guys all over UK and I hope you have some great opinios ;D

    In Sweden, since the early 90s, whenever there is a new cinemaplex being built, they always invest in one or a few screens to be THX approved.

    This is the requirements:

    Cinema is designed and tested to ensure that it meets all standards for sound and picture excellence in categories such as:


    Background noise – controlled noise from HVAC units, projectors, exhaust fans & transformers
    Room acoustics – crisp accurate cinema sound through controlled reverberation and sound isolation
    Image quality – high resolution, clear images with standardized screen illumination and minimized distortion
    Projection – audience viewing angles, image cropping, and projector placement that result in the best possible picture presentation
    Sound system – THX approved equipment and alignment for optimal sound reproduction

    The result is that cinema audiences experience movies that look and sound great. They enjoy:

    Precise audio localization that tracks the action across the screen
    A wide frequency range that delivers higher highs and lower lows
    A naturally balanced sound and planned sight lines so that every seat is the "best in the house"
    Accurate, true-to-life images
    Highly intelligible dialog and decreased distortion
    A clearer, more realistic movie-going experience


    In little Sweden with 9million people, there are atm 34 THX approved screens, while in 60million people of UK there are only 12 THX screens!!!

    To find the cinema's - http://www.thx.com/mod/cinema/find.html

    And it does make a big difference, having being brought up in Sweden with these THX screens. The seating position is probably where it matters most, no matter where you sit, it is the optimum for you can do from that particular angle, and you have no heads in front of you!!!

    Why is that, when the cinema companies invest so much in these new cinemaplexes and renovations of old ones.

    And now the government are installing digital projectors in UK cinemas for free against showing more UK produced movies, why are the UK audience deprived of not getting the optimum picture/sound/seating, when UK cinema tickets are probably the most expensive in the western world.

    This is out of order!!!

    Wasabi
     
  2. mjn

    mjn
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    the cost more than likely.
     
  3. Mr.D

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    Well not everyone is in agreement that THX certification necessarily means a particularly special cinema anyway.
     
  4. dsw182

    dsw182
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    There are other quality control specifications which are used in most UK cinemas. They are on par with the THX spec but simply aren't as publicised or famous as THX.
     
  5. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    Still,

    sound and picture perhaps might be the same standard, however, seating plan is just seriously terrible. Even the newest complex has seating where you seats are in front of each other, where in THX you have to angle the rows much steeper and the rows has to be in sick sack, so there is no chance that the head in front of you will disturb the view.

    OK, perhaps THX is not needed, but not creating seating plan as in a THX standard, that is still out of order I think. It is so annoying when heads are in front of your view.

    Wasabi
     
  6. Master Rahl

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    That is just called stadium seating. Not really THX related? I personally can't really notice a difference between THX and non THX theaters. I think it was a great idea 20 years ago, but these days...
     
  7. Family Guy

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    Really?? Try going to the UGC multiplex in Crawley - screen 4 is THX approved. Watch a movie in there and then go into another screen - you'll notice the difference allright...particularly in the bass department!!

    I carried out the search on the THX website and I only got six screens listed in the UK...it's obviously out of date 'cos the aforementioned Crawley screen isn't there...neither is the screen at the Warner village in Portsmouth.
     
  8. Marv

    Marv
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    Also maybe because not alot of people in the uk have heard of THX, thus even if a cinema had it people would'nt notice it anyway. Not like in the the us where teh thx badge is well reconised and will attract people to use the cinema.
     
  9. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    It's a shame that UK doesn't get the best as consumers here deserves that.

    Its like these new chip and pin cards system that is being launched in UK finally, but to everyones surprise, it is not compatible with systems used in the rest of Europe!!!

    That means we can't use it outside UK, while Europeans can visit each other's countries and use the same system. What is that?

    There is no excuse not having THX screens. Cinemas in Sweden, Germany, France, Spain etc are in general as good as UK ones, and they still think it is worthwile to invest in THX, and the ticket prices are still lower than those in UK. So financially, I can't see the arguement saying it is a waste of money as you don't get any benefits.

    Wasabi
     
  10. Mr Cinema

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    It costs a very great deal of money to have a THX certified theatre, hundreds of thousands, and is only really practical for new builds or West End cinemas with lots of money. To retrofit an older cinema for THX would be incredibly expensive as you would have to address noise levels in the auditorium, reverb times and much more besides. Plus you have to keep paying for the licence every year.

    It might put a few more bums on seats but nowhere near enough to make it commercially viable.
     
  11. dsw182

    dsw182
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    I agree. I saw The Phantom Menace in a THX approved screen at the UGC in Enfield. I then watched it again in a dodgy Odeon cinema and there was a difference.

    That may be due to it being a THX spec film in a THX spec screen, although comparing any cinema to an Odeon is a bad idea.

    For some reason it appears the UGC Cinemas are no longer THX certified. Almost all of them once were, especially the newly built ones.
     
  12. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    If we disregard renovations and focus on new complexes.

    Well in London region, most cineplexes are perhaps max 10years old, and in Colchester where I live, the new Odeon complex is only 2 years. In Sweden they started with THX in the early early 90s.

    Why isn't it commercially viable in UK, when it is in other countries? Not many people knew what THX was when it started to appear, so wherever you are, the obstacles are the same in terms of branding and marketing

    And I want to point out that it is not cheaper to build cinemas in Scandinavia or in other European countries, and having THX logo is not cheaper in other European countries.

    I still can't see any viable explanation why the Cinema chains in UK haven't invested in THX.

    Ticket prices are higher than in other countries, hence margins are probably higher here than in other European countries, and people here go to cinema more than over there, so perhaps that the Cinema chains here are more greedy and wants higher profits than other chains in Europe.

    So it comes down to the point of not giving the best to the consumer, it is market it so well that consumer thinks it is the best they can get, so no more than necessary is needed in terms of investment, so as high profits can be generated.

    Wasabi
     
  13. Mr Cinema

    Mr Cinema
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    Having given this some thought I think the whole idea of THX in terms of improving the customer experience might be something of a red herring.

    In general the multiplexes have low standards of presentation and they tend to let very inexperienced people loose in the projection box. All this despite the fact they bill themselves as state of the art. It would be no good spending thousands on THX certification if the popcorn monkey showing the film then fails to get the picture in focus.

    I believe that if the major circuits spent more time and money training their staff to take care during the show and maintain their existing equipment to a high standard then the results would be more than acceptable. A bright sharp picture run at the correct sound level on properly calibrated equipment would be almost indistinguishable
    from THX for 99% of filmgoers. And very much cheaper to achieve.
     
  14. dsw182

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    UGC did invest in the THX system, but it appears they have now dropped it. Maybe they think that it wouldn't be appreciated by enough people to warrant the investment in THX.

    Is the new Colchester Odeon better than the old one? I haven't used it since the old one closed.
     
  15. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    By Mr Cinema
    That is not a problem in Sweden. In the complexes/cinemas the focus is always on the spot, and the sound is truly awesome, coupled with THX stadium seating = an absolute wonderful time watching a movie. Of cos, we can't get rid of the popcorn or crisp noises :(

    Even the projector room are sound isolated, which is far from that in UK cinemas.

    So what they want to offer is - a complete optimum cinema for the customer, no cutting corners here. Still a shame that in UK many industries are still not customer focused. Oh yes, I've been to US, and the cinemas there are truly awesome.

    dsw182, it is def better than the old odeon - its ok, but I can say that any London complex are better than this one I'm afraid. It's ok, but dissappointing considering it is newer than most London complexes.
     
  16. mistrip

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    I think I've got so used to DVD that I always find the Cinema slightly dissappointing both in picture and sound quality. Scratchy films and too much treble and a lack of bass is what I find. Thats at Star City anyway but maybe its just me. BTW idoes anyone know if goldclass at starcity is woth the extra, i believe they're THX certified.
     
  17. Master Rahl

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    OK what other benefits does THX have? The theater I go to isn't THX certified, but all 30 screens have stadium seating. The projector rooms are sealed off. Every screening room is sound proof, not even the base comes through from the neighboring screen. I've never been to a theater that didn't have all of these.
     
  18. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    Master Rahl,

    Your lucky then.

    I've been to many of the newer complexes in London when I lived there, and there's quite a few where the rumble sound from the neighbour screen is heard, the projector can be heard, and apart from Warner Village in Leicester Square, no one else have stadium seating.

    Wasabi
     
  19. Master Rahl

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    Wait, wait wait, WAIT! You mean that stadium seating is a luxury? I've seen movies in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, New York City, Boston, ... you name it, and all, no matter how small the actual screen, had stadium seating. The only time I've not had stadium seating was in Kuala Lumpur.

    Oh G**... You guys have it bad then. I never really gave it any second thought as to what we have... thought it was common.

    Well, thanks for the info. Shows you how much one can learn here.
     
  20. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    Master Rahl,

    Aaaahh, you live in the states ;p

    I meant out of those complexes in London I've been to, only Warner Village in Leicester has stadium seating.

    In Sweden, there are plenty of stadium seating too.

    Even many cinemas in Hong Kong are on par with the newest ones in UK, and the cinema industry is worth pennies there compared to UK. That is why I think the companies here are rather focusing on shareholders than customers, its like the British Rail, London Underground, British Bank Restaurant industry etc etc.

    I'm stressing that the complexes are not bad, and for average Joe, they are probably really good, but I'm just saying that cinemas here are still behind some other countries, considering how big the film industry is, and how much people here goes to cinema, and the price of tickets.

    Wasabi
     
  21. russraff

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    The UGC in Bouldon in the north east was THX certified, but lost thier certification due to their Air conditioning being too loud (not that I heard it, mind!). Having said that, the Silverlink UCI cinema is somewhat better than the otherwise THX approved Bouldon. The UCI cinema has 8 channel SDDS in some of the screens, the others have 6 channel SDDS. The sound is fantastic, and I have never heard bass bleed in from other screens. In addition, I have NEVER been in a cinema without stadium seating and UCI's picture is superb.

    Russell
     
  22. tryptych

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    2008 Update
    There are now only THREE THX certified cinemas in the whole of the UK (Empire, Warner Bros and Curzon, all in or around Leicester square, London)

    If they force people into pokey rabbit hutches with our knees round our chins, and charge us a small fortune to get in to suffer 40mins of adverts before the feature, no wonder they lose their certification and people like me watch quality films in their own homes.

    Cinema owners beware. Bingo is coming your way.
     
  23. bym007

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    I totally agree on this issue on "entertainment value" of cinemas. I personally feel let down a lot of times by feeble bass levels, and have "discovered" a lot of bass scenes at home over DVDs and Blu-Rays.

    I suppose, cinema going is not about THX certification, rather about enjoyment of movies, which is getting reduced most of the time ....

    Cinema for fast becoming history, and personally I only visit them for a massive blockbuster, which means not more than 10 times a year.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  24. Garrett

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    Moved from TV forum;)
     

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