Before televisions moved from the old cathode ray tubes (CRT) to liquid crystal displays (LCD), as display resolutions increased, movie theaters offered the best sound and video. High definition video and audio is the best way to experience the cinematic experience today, which used to be limited to movie theaters.
The days of the 25-inch CRT televisions are long over. I’ve had 42-inch widescreen televisions for years. Some televisions today have increased resolution (4K or UHD) and are more than 80 inches in diagonal size. Speaker systems are available to go with them, specifically designed for the home theater experience.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic started, I preferred movie theaters for watching first-run movies with reclining seats. My family and I enjoyed the huge display and the loud sound to go with it. After the movie theaters closed for a while (and the movie theaters in Olongapo and the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in the Philippines have been closed since March 2020), we learned to live with what we had at home.
Perhaps it’s time to reexamine how my wife, Josie, and I watch movies in the Philippines. There really isn’t a reason to watch a movie when it first comes out. The theater prices have increased since they opened in 2012 (more than double), and they’re almost as expensive as they are in the United States, even when they shouldn’t be. Most Filipinos can’t afford them.
Josie is content to watch movies I stream from Emby on my laptop computer to her cell phone. She doesn’t mind holding her phone for hours. It makes sense when you understand that she watches those movies while she’s in bed and ready to sleep.
I want the full cinematic experience with a huge TV and a decent audio system, but I can’t afford it. At least, not yet. The layout in my house would have to change to make space for the TV alone.
We recently watched “Love and Monsters” as a video-on-demand (VoD) rental on our younger son’s 42-inch TV. He has a small living room (in an apartment built in the 70s or 80s) and anything larger probably wouldn’t be easy to watch. The last thing we watched at a real movie theater was “Gemini Man” in 2019.
I don’t know how many streaming video services there are available in the Philippines. I know of iFlix, which is based somewhere in Asia and I know of the Asian version of Netflix, which has a much smaller catalog than the United States version. Video rentals, however they may be set up, will probably be the best way to watch American movies.
The pandemic has made people rethink their entertainment options. Movie theaters are going to decline, one way or another. It’s just a matter of how long it will take to see them start closing down.