Despite the unseasonably cold and snowy weather that hit the Boston area during the first week of April, the N.Y.-based rep firm Sapphire Marketing made its annual trip up Route 95 to meet with residential and commercial dealers in the area.
Providing a mix of solutions from companies ranging from Crestron, Digital Projection, Middle Atlantic and Stewart Filmscreen, which offer products for residential and commercial applications, to specific products from residential brands like Autonomic and Leon Speakers, to commercial products from Analog Way, the event had a little something for everyone.
Quietly, one of the show's most interesting exhibitors was Prima Cinema. Recently the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company found itself in the news for the comparison between its business model and the potential model proposed by former Napster co-founder Sean Parker. Parker's proposed Screening Room business will offer consumers a $150 box and the opportunity to rent first-run movies for $50.
Similar to Prima Cinema's business model, but much less expensive (the Prima Cinema box is $35,000 and the 24-hour movie rental is $500), Prima Cinema's director of strategic partnerships Haley Patterson states the comparison isn't valid because Parker's proposal doesn't really make sense for the film industry. Making the case for Prima Cinema, she says its solution offers users a complementary alternative to going to the movies without impacting theater ticket sales.
“We talked with dealers and the studios, and as a result our prices are thoughtfully priced,” she says. “We are not competing with the box office.”
Pointing to an example of how Parker's platform would compete with movie box office revenues, Patterson says that a family of four would have to pay more than $50 to attend a night at the movies, whereas Prima Cinema's service is priced much differently to provide those consumers that do utilize Prima's service a unique experience that doesn't compete with commercial theater revenues.
Photo Gallery: Crestron, DPI, Milestone and More Attend Sapphire Event
Explaining her company's near-term plans, Patterson says the exclusive, first-run movie service is augmenting its product range with new technologies that include Dolby Atmos object-based surround sound and 4K video. Patterson says that one of the things the company will do as part of its forthcoming 4K hardware is to provide additional product and content education to dealers. As part of its educational efforts, she says that Prima Cinema will work with Hollywood to deliver true 4K content when the content is available, but the company will also communicate to its dealers that not all 4K content is “true 4K.”
Elaborating on “true 4K,” Patterson points out that some movies are sourced from masters that were not produced in a true, native 4K resolution. She also notes that Prima Cinema is examining HDR technologies that includes Dolby's universally acclaimed Dolby Vision format as an ongoing effort to deliver the best possible experience from the service. The 4K solution (PRIMA4K) should be available during the third quarter of this year at a price of approximately $50,000.
Once the 4K product does start shipping she adds that Prima Cinema will offer a program in which dealers that have existing products can get a full refund on their products and pay $15,000 towards the upgrade towards the 4K unit.