A Brief History of Theaters & Home
[continued from Home Theater Rooms page]
... Then TV's appeared in homes and the entertainment industry experiences it's first growing pains. TV dominated entertainment even though many great films were viewed by many people. Today, TV and film compete with computers and games for your attention. In the 50's and 60's there was more of a balance, but TV was still the favorite choice. People ended up staying at home for their entertainment.
The film industry kept on making films, but they could never tip the edge to get the hoards back into the theaters. Then, in 1977, a little film changed the world. It was STAR WARS. George Lucas introduced a new technology called Dolby Stereo. which immersed the viewer into the film. Theater owners saw the profitable benefit of upgrading their sound equipment to accept this new technology (I happen to see Star Wars in one of the few premier "70mm Dolby Stereo" Theaters in the country). History has proven George to be a visionary and movie goers started to seek out the surround theaters. In 1983 George introduced THX which is a standard to ensure high-quality playback and consistency in theaters. Once again, people left the home for their entertainment.
Ray Dolby refined the process and was able to encode the 4 channels of sound into only 2 channels. This was perfect for the consumer industry that was already based on 2 channels (stereo) like tape, phonographs and the new digital technology called Compact Discs. This refinement was named Dolby Pro Logic and it defined the new industry of Home Theaters. Because of this and VHS tapes, people began to stay at home for entertainment.
We are currently in the cycle of getting our entertainment primarily at home. The last great innovation in the film industry was "digital film" which is not a great breakthrough. It did nothing to entice us out of the house. Why leave when we can order our DVD's over the internet, enjoy it when we want to and have the distinct pleasure of NOT paying an arm and a leg for popcorn (do I even have to mention the bathroom advantage?). If another breakthrough happens in the near future, many experts believe that it's lifespan will be short as the pace of technology goes to lightspeed. No matter waht, it will be exciting!