I’ve been trying to get into CinemaCon for almost five years now. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s the annual convention for movie theatre owners. I know it might not sound as sexy as Comic-Con, but for movie buffs it’s the absolute place to be.
CinemaCon is generally where upcoming films get shown off, new trailers get released, and the movie loving fans of the world get to see the latest tech that makes these movies possible. This year alone CinemaCon was where the new Venom trailer dropped, the first footage from Aquaman was unveiled, and it was confirmed that Wonder Woman 2 would take place in the 1980s. It’s awesome.
So when Samsung asked if I wanted them to sponsor us to go to CinemaCon I couldn’t reply “yes” fast enough. It’s in Las Vegas, which meant I could essentially make the trip in a single day, so I had to get up around 5am, which was not awesome, to catch a 7:45am flight to Vegas, which was awesome.
The city was pretty sleepy, especially when you consider the usual CES craziness i’m used to. Mark came with me for this adventure to help film, but he evidently needed more coffee than I did in the mornings. After a quick Taxi ride to Caesars Palace, and picking up our badge, we were ready for the show. Like I said, this was a totally new experience for me, so I was kinda geeking out, just walking around, checking out the displays, and just being a fan. Some of the movie stuff I saw I can’t even talk about yet due to embargo, but lets say a movie that rhymes with shwauqa man is going to be awesome.
When that unnamed movie does eventually hit theatres, chances are you’ll probably be watching it using some old school tech. You know, a theatre with a giant projector room in the back, and black levels that look kinda gray. It’s a weird time when most home viewing looks better than what you get in a typical cinema.
Since Samsung sponsored the trip I obviously had to check out what the company was showing, and what it had was a high-tech answer to the traditional movie screen. It’s the world’s first cinema LED screen called Onyx.
Now I know you are probably about to say “Oh Jon, you have to say how awesome it is!” Truth is, I really don’t. I’m sure Samsung is probably sweating this part of the video, but I wasn’t overly optimistic.
Samsung Onyx is the future of movie viewing
To show off the Samsung Onyx we were ushered into a mini rkkeshift movie theatre with the LED cinema display and sound from Harmon. We were given some active 3D glasses and asked to just watch and experience what they were about to show for the next 30 mins. I took the glasses and sat down.
First, this is an LED display, not a giant screen that needs a projector. Think of it like a giant TV built into a movie theatre wall. We saw some SDR, and HDR clips in various resolutions, they had kept what we were going to see a secret, and while it wasn’t Infinity War liked I hoped, it was pretty impressive. The first thing is that since it’s not a projector the image quality doesnt start to look super faded with any sort of ambient light which would probably be awesome for a dine-in situation or some sort of e-sports or gaming usage. Samsung called it Onyx because well, Onyx is black, and I get it now. Black levels were like they should be, super black, which made the images and pictures really pop.
Then the demo switched over to some 3D content. Traditionally cinematic 3D has been pretty bad you lose a ton of brightness with those tinted glasses but the 3D effects, the depth of the images you are supposed to see is laughable. Because this is LED it can get way brighter and with active glasses the depth of the 3D was actually super good. They talked about how it’s way cheaper to install for theatre owners, and how the LED array has modules that can be easily replaced and a ton more theatre owner jargon that went over my head.
What it boiled down to was that the fidelity of the picture, coupled with killer audio made for just a better movie experience. I was actually relieved that the tech here didn’t suck and it was impressive. I’m guessing Samsung knew what they were showing was really good which is why they didn’t put any restrictions on what we said. If it sucked this would have been a super awkward video.
It boils down to this: Onyx actually made a difference. Movies looked better. If you never see a movie on a Samsung Onyx screen you’ll never know what you’re missing. But once you do, you’ll start to notice the deficiencies of projectors. It’s similar to the first time you watched a football game in HD and could see the actual blades of grass. It just made watching standard def…look basic. If I had the option to see a movie in a theatre with Onyx tech or one without, I’d go Onyx, and that’s the truth. But for now there’s only one theatre in the US about an hour North of Los Angeles, so you are probably just going to have to take my word for it for a while.
So, my CinemaCon experience was awesome. Unlike Comic-Con this was mostly dudes in suits and not guys dressed as wizards and comic characters, but it was still a really cool experience. I felt closer to the movie industry kind alike an insider which was cool. Mark and I finished up our filming and headed back to the airport completing one of the longest and most satisfying days in recent memory.
This post was sponsored by Samsung.