As TVs became larger, it seemed expected that they would ultimately eliminate the need for projectors, even in movie theaters. While projectors aren’t going away anytime soon, LG’s brand-new, massive Miraclass LED screens can take their place in smaller spaces. “Intimate” theaters are a growingly popular method to bring back moviegoers.
Currently, a projector is still the best tool for covering a large screen with a large image, but this notoriously picky technology has many drawbacks. Projectors depend on a powerful light source to generate enough light for their images, but this source generates a lot of heat and needs a lot of cooling to operate at all. Even digital projectors need to be tucked away in separate rooms behind their theaters.
A dedicated projector room in the back is unnecessary because projection rooms are typically quite small in theaters with large seating capacities. Instead, many theaters are attempting to entice customers back to the movies by building smaller, more intimate theaters with plush seating and even food service. The new LG Miraclass screens may be useful in this situation.
The Miraclass screens are made up of smaller panels that have pixels that are edge-to-edge self-emissive LEDs (which makes the seams invisible to viewers), 24-bit color, and up to 300 nits of brightness that can be adjusted. This allows the pixels to be dimmed if being used for non-movie purposes, like a corporate presentation. The current Miraclass line-up offers four screen sizes: a 5.1-meter (about 16 feet) widescreen, a 10.2-meter (about 33 feet) widescreen, and a 14.1-meter (about 46 feet) widescreen, all of which have a 4K resolution. The size of that final option is comparable to the screens currently present in medium-sized theaters.
But it doesn’t seem like the technology is quite ready to take the place of enormous, 79-foot-wide IMAX-sized projection screens yet.
Several theaters in Europe already have LG’s Miraclass screens, and more theaters will soon have them there as well as in Asia and North America. The cost of the screens has not been disclosed by LG, but it is safe to assume that it will be competitive with projector-based systems. Even though they cost more to install, they will end up saving theaters money over time on maintenance and power costs.