IMAX would have you believe that there isn’t a better movie-going experience than watching a film at one of its cinemas around the world. Despite that common belief, the company now believes that consumers with enough money can get that exact same experience from the comfort of their own home – with IMAX now offering to build high-end home theatres.
While installers typically tailor-fit their home theatre solutions to specific installations, IMAX is set to offer two off-the-shelf options.
The smaller home theatre is dubbed Palais and features dual 4k 2D/3D projectors, an immersive IMAX floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall screen, a proprietary IMAX sound system, complete HD multi-media system including HD TV, Blu-ray, DVD, CD, gaming and karaoke and even an exclusive theatre design by Theo Kalomirakis. All of that will be controlled using a touch-screen control pad with dedicated control system, while after-sales service and 24/7 remote monitoring will be included as standard.
Despite the off-the-shelf process, IMAX is still tailor-making some aspects of the installation for end-users. That includes the number of seats that need to be installed, with the Palais offering enough seating for between seven to 18 of the user’s friends and family.
The Palais set-up has been designed for home theatres up to 75sqm in size, with prices set at around $400,000. While the system has already rolled out in China and the Middle East, IMAX is planning on bringing it to both North America and Europe.
Alongside the sales expansion, IMAX has also revealed that it’s working on a smaller version of the Palais, dubbed the Prestige. The Prestige is said to be about half the size and half the price of the Palais.
For those feeling that the Palais is a little cramped for their liking, then IMAX does offer another option – provided that money is no object. Dubbed the Platinum, the top-of-the-line home theatre set-up from IMAX costs around $1m and provides seating for up to 40 people.
Unlike in China and the Middle East however, users installing an IMAX home theatre won’t automatically gain access to the latest and greatest movies released in the format. That’s because exhibitors are refusing to budge on their fiercely protected, months-long exclusivity windows on films.
To circumvent that restriction, users are able to purchase something like the Prima Cinema set-top box, which allows users to enjoy the latest new movies from select Hollywood Studios. This does come at a price however, with the set-top box itself costing $35,000 a year, while films cost $500 per screening.
IMAX of course would rather users not use a Prima Cinema box, which is why it’s currently considering selling its own solution in the US and Europe. That solution dubbed the IMAX Home Premier uses fingerprint security technology and costs around $10,000. Like Prima Cinema additional fees will apply per film however.
IMAX Home Premier comes packaged with IMAX home theatres in China and the Middle East, but would require a separate purchase in the US and Europe if the company decides to sell it in those markets.
So far the majority of IMAX home theatre installations have been done in new developments – with the company preferring to work with developers rather than end-users. That’s not to say that the company won’t work with end-users, it’s just that logistically it’s often easier – with a lot of room needed to accommodate the system.
Ideaworks in the UK is one of the install companies offering IMAX home integration. In this exclusive interview, Ideaworks managing director Kevin Andrews tells CE Pro Eu why £1.8m is pocket change for his high end clients, but refuses to use the word ‘groundbreaking’…