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BEST of the BEST 2014 | Home | Home Entertainment: Prima Cinema

  • Bailey S. Barnard

Bringing home the magic of first-run movies...

Until recently, you had to have some connection to the film industry if you wanted to view first-run movies at home—usually on DVD and often for awards consideration. Or you could belong to the Bel-Air Circuit, a group of entertainment-industry executives, A-listers, and other high-profile individuals to whom the Hollywood studios provide prints of first-run films to watch in their home cinemas. That changed last fall, when Prima Cinema launched its service, which brings first-run movies in a cinema-quality format to the homes of a broader audience.

The company, which is based in Carlsbad, Calif., offers a $35,000 system that downloads, stores, and plays first-run movies, at a cost of $500 per viewing. The system includes a player and a remote fingerprint reader, both of which were designed by BMW Group DesignworksUSA. The Prima Cinema account holder must scan his or her fingerprint with the remote’s biometric scanner to purchase and watch each movie. The player fits in standard audio-video equipment racks and can store as many as 50 movies. The system automatically downloads the available films, usually at the same time as their theatrical release, so that they can be watched once they are purchased.

Prima Cinema says that its video codec enables its films to have twice the sharpness of Blu-ray Disc content. They are available in 2-D or 3-D and can be displayed in the ultrawide aspect ratio used in commercial cinemas. The films’ audio is suited to cinema-quality surround sound.

Prima Cinema does not offer access to every first-run movie, but its list of licensing partners includes Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Lionsgate, Millennium Entertainment, Magnolia Pictures, Focus Features, and the Weinstein Company. 

Prima Cinema, 855.774.6212, www.primacinema.com

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