Samsung Cinema Screen at CinemaCon 2017

CinemaCon is the annual trade show for the commercial-cinema industry held each Spring in Las Vegas, NV. This year, Samsung chose the confab to unveil its new Cinema Screen, a tiled display technology that uses tiny red, green, and blue LEDs to form the pixels. This is very similar to Sony’s CLEDIS (Crystal LED Integrated Structure), which was shown at CES last January. (For our coverage of CLEDIS, click here.)

cinema screen
The press release says nothing about the Cinema Screen being tiled, but this graphic from Samsung seems to indicate that it is.

The Cinema Screen being demonstrated at CinemaCon measures 34 feet, which I presume is the width, but it isn’t specified in the press release. The resolution is 4096×2160, resulting in an aspect ratio of nearly 1.9:1 (assuming the pixels are square). It’s fully capable of reproducing high dynamic-range (HDR) content with a peak brightness of 146 foot-lamberts (500 nits). That’s more than 10 times the DCI (Digital Cinema Initiative) spec of 14 fL and almost five times the peak brightness of Dolby Vision in a commercial setting (31 fL). Sure, it’s “only” half the peak brightness of many HDR TVs, but we’re talking about a 34-foot screen here!

Few other technical details are revealed in the press release, which you can read here. The release does say, “Complementary ultra-contrast and low tone grayscale settings enable the screen to showcase both brightest colors and the deepest blacks at a nearly infinity:1 contrast ratio.” In addition, the Cinema Screen is said to exceed DCI specifications, with improved uniformity and no optical distortion compared with projected images. It is currently undergoing the DCI certification process, and it recently completed compliance testing at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan.

According to Sang Kim, Vice President of Samsung Electronics America, “As the popularity of advanced at-home entertainment systems and streaming platforms increases, theaters must reposition themselves as a destination for an incomparable viewing experience that consumers simply cannot encounter anywhere else. Our new Cinema Screen technology brings a more powerful and high-quality picture to the big screen, creating an environment where viewers feel as if they are part of every scene.”

I was very excited by Sony’s CLEDIS at CES, but that system was said to be intended for product visualization, not theatrical applications. By contrast, the Samsung Cinema Screen is aimed squarely at commercial cinemas—and, perhaps, ultra-high-end home theaters. Of course, no pricing was announced, but you can bet it’ll be uber-expensive. Still, I can’t wait to see it for myself.