Watching a film on a dedicated home entertainment system is not a new idea, per se. For many years the average family has had the option to watch a film of their choice on their own TV screen, as the commercial market in video technology has grown. But there has always been, and will continue to be a difference, between watching at home and watching in a cinema – unless you have a cinema in your home, of course. What the improvement of home entertainment technology has achieved is to give us more of the cinema experience in our own homes.
When a film is conceptualized – at least, after the point where the script has been written – the intention is to get the fullest experience possible for the watcher, to make it “as though you were there in person”. Think back to your first TV and video combination. If you were to watch films that way now they’d still have a lot of their charm, but you would be startled by how different the experience was. The sound was less crisp and defined, the picture less clear. Many of the nuances were distorted out of all recognition.
With the developments in things such as surround-sound technology, plasma screens, and larger televisions, it is possible to pick out a lot more detail in any film that you watch and to feel almost as though you were there in person. You can pick out slight differences in light, the look in the actor’s eyes and the changes in their breathing – all things which contribute to a sense of witnessing things in the first person rather than as a detached witness.