For more than 120 years, Hollywood has relied on film projectors to showcase the stories that filmmakers have to tell. And while today’s films have no shortage of incredible special effects and graphics, the outdated theater technology can hinder audiences from enjoying films the way they were intended to be enjoyed.
Samsung rose to this challenge with a game changing solution, the Samsung Onyx. Samsung’s first Cinema LED screen was first unveiled last year, and it has just made its debut here in the states. I was able to personally experience this technology at CinemaCon this week and simply put, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
So what does this technology mean for the movie-goer?
As a huge movie geek and film critic, I’m always looking for films that push the barrier for the industry -- and with the massive amount of content that one has the option to digest today, movie theaters have to up their game to compete with the amazing quality of content that television and OTT (Over The Top) platforms are continually delivering -- and the comfort of watching that in your home. Samsung’s Onyx is the answer to raising the bar.
“By aligning brilliant, uniform color presentation with LED picture quality and crystal-clear audio, the Samsung Onyx screen invites movie enthusiasts into the most immersive and memorable viewing arena available and repositions the theater as an entertainment haven,” said Seog-gi Kim, Executive Vice President of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. “We are thrilled to deliver a new and exciting theater experience to operators, managers and consumers around the world, and we look forward to working further with leading decision-makers in the movie industry to usher in the next generation of cinema.”
Here’s a look at my experience with the Samsung Onyx this week.
While I can tell you that I personally was memorized by the vivid color, the level of detail I saw, and the engulfing sound that I experienced (and how I want to see every movie on this screen moving forward), I wouldn’t be the Geek Girl if I didn’t dive into the tech behind this technology and actually discuss how it compares to projector technology.
Let’s Get Geeky
The Samsung Onyx display is available in variations extending between 16.4 -- 33.8 ft. in width, and can accommodate any venue configuration while delivering visual quality, technical performance and reliability beyond that of outdated projector-based operations. It’s not 1895 anymore, and we shouldn’t still be watching movies the same way. Projectors simply can’t offer the high quality picture that this new Cinema LED Technology can.
So how does it do it? The 4K Samsung Onyx screen comes with 96 cabinets (think of this like Legos and building blocks), each cabinet comes with 24 modules -- which I grabbed a picture of one in the image above! This module contains 3,840 pixels/LEDs. Each pixel is independently lit by red, green, and blue LED cluster -- and each of those LEDs has about 100,000 hours of lifetime.
The Samsung Onyx achieves 10 times the peak brightness (146fL) of standard projectors and also offers enhanced luminance and low tone expression -- thus truly delivering HDR (High Dynamic Range) picture quality.
The Samsung Onyx delivers true black color in a way that simply hasn’t been seen before. With HDR picture refinement, audiences can enjoy more details and colors that are more vibrant- which honestly inspires a deeper connection to the story that you’re watching. This screen is unaffected by ambient light, it has consistent and distortion free picture quality that creates the illusion that you’re actually watching content unfold in a window in front of you -- not on a screen. Locations and characters come to life transporting you into another time and place.
You never know what you’re missing out on, until you experience what you’ve been missing out on. That was my experience this week when watching 3D content on the Samsung Onyx.
For me personally, I have never really been a huge fan of 3D films before, and when I have an option, I have always opted for the 2D press screenings. Why? Because it hurts my eyes and (if I’m buying a ticket) I don’t feel like it’s worth the extra amount you’re paying for the ticket. However, the Onyx changes that entirely.
Realism is taken to a whole new level, and for the first time in my life -- I didn’t have eyestrain watching 3D content. Text is easier to read, images are brighter with greater detail, and the depth of field is so impressive that it actually made me gasp a little when I first saw it.
Perfectly Tuned Audio
When I say the words “perfect” and “audio” together -- you know that I have to be talking about JBL. With a picture that looks as beautiful as what Onyx delivers, quality audio is a must in order to bring the whole experience to life. With JBL’s sculpted surround sound audio, and an expanded audio sweet spot, viewers in every theater have the opportunity to enjoy the same high quality, immersive experience. You’re no longer just watching a movie, you’re getting completely lost in a story -- and that is what cinema is supposed to be.
Let’s Talk Branding
It’s also no secret that I’m a bit of a branding nerd, so of course I wondered -- where did the name Onyx come from? It was actually inspired by the gemstone of the same name. With Samsung Onyx’s ability to showcase true black thanks to brilliant LED picture quality and an infinite contrast ratio, this screen delivers movie content as it’s never been seen before -- especially 3D content.
So Where Can I See A Movie On The Samsung Onyx?
Currently, you can see the Samsung Onyx in action at the Pacific Theatres Winnetka in Chatsworth, California, and we’ll be keeping you posted on additional theaters in the US offering Onyx as soon as we hear about them!
Will The Samsung Onyx Affect Filmmaking?
As theaters start to upgrade to the Onyx screen, Samsung is actually working with content developers to ensure that the display can optimize upcoming releases. They’re collaborating with leading cinema technology services provider Ymagis Group and its Eclair content development business unit to deliver EclairColor® HDR-compliant pictures that vibrantly shine on the Onyx screen.
I got a sneak peek of just that at CinemaCon 2018, and the benefits of this alliance are rather outstanding! Furthermore, this technology won’t just affect filmmaking -- think of what it will do for gaming competitions! Having exceptional picture quality even with low ambient lighting levels opens up a whole new world of possibilities -- while still producing beautifully vivid content on the screen.
If you can’t tell already, I absolutely geeked out over this huge leap in cinema technology, and it’s thrilling to see a company like Samsung challenging this industry that hasn’t changed in over 120 years. Filmmakers are constantly challenging themselves, and now it’s time for you, the movie fan, to challenge yourself and the way you view movies.
“Today’s movies feature the most sophisticated production and advanced graphics ever, and producers and directors need powerful theater technology to showcase their works as intended and at optimal quality,” said Jean Mizrahi, president and co-founder of Ymagis Group. “We anticipate dynamic and powerful cinema displays like the Onyx becoming the accepted industry standard in the coming years, and we are honored to partner with Samsung to drive change throughout the industry and ultimately improve the content experience for cinema-goers everywhere.”
For more details on the Samsung Onyx, check out: https://displaysolutions.samsung.com/led-signage/onyx
Disclaimer: My trip to CinemaCon was paid for by Samsung and this content is sponsored by Samsung. However all opinions stated here are my own.