With TVs slowly growing larger and larger, it was inevitable that, one day, they’d eventually replace the need for projectors, even in movie theaters. Projectors aren’t going away entirely just yet, but LG’s new super-sized Miraclass LED screens can replace them for smaller “intimate” theaters, which are becoming a popular way to woo fans back to the cinema.
For now, the best way to fill a giant screen with a giant picture is still a projector, but the historically finicky technology comes with a lot of challenges. To produce enough light for their images, projectors rely on a high intensity light source that produces a lot of heat, requiring plenty of cooling to prolong its operating life. That cooling is loud, requiring even digital projectors to be hidden away inside separate rooms behind their theaters.
Projection rooms are relatively small for theaters with seating for hundreds, but with many cinemas trying to lure audiences back to the movies with smaller, more intimate theaters featuring lush seating and even food service, a dedicated projector room at the back is a waste of space. That’s where LG’s new Miraclass screens can be advantageous. Yes, LG’s newest brand is just sticking the words “miracle” and “class” together, because there’s nothing classier than a room with sticky, popcorn laden floors.
Assembled from smaller panels featuring edge-to-edge self-emissive LED pixels (so seams are invisible to audiences), the Miraclass screens boast 24-bit color and up to 300 nits of adjustable brightness, so the pixels can be dimmed if being used for non-movie purposes like a corporate presentation. The Miraclass lineup currently consists of four size options: a 5.1 meter (~16 foot) wide screen with either a 4K or 2K resolution, a 10.2 meter (~33 foot) wide screen with a 4K resolution, and a 14.1 meter (~46 foot) wide screen with a 4K resolution. That last option is close in size to the screens currently found in medium sized theaters. But it doesn’t seem like the technology is ready to replace massive, 79 foot wide IMAX-sized projection screens just yet.
LG’s Miraclass screens are already available in several theaters in Europe, but are soon to be installed in additional theaters around the world, including in Asia and North America. LG hasn’t divulged how much the screens cost, but one has to assume they’ll be priced competitively against projector-based systems. Even if they’re more expensive at install, they’ll potentially save a theater money in the long run when it comes to power use and maintenance over time.