Barco: Powering a Private Theater Renaissance

Barco: Powering a Private Theater Renaissance

HTA Resource Content

In April 2020, as Covid-19 was taking hold globally, Forbes Magazine called home theaters “the perfect pandemic escape,” and The Wall Street Journal devoted an article to private theaters becoming more popular in high-end homes, quoting top-ranked Sotheby’s real estate agent Chris Adlam as saying “the most valuable thing you can ever have is time with the people you love. A private cinema is a place that draws people together.”

Courtesy of Consexto
One year later, with the gradual return to normalcy, it’s clear that those lifestyle changes post-Covid, particularly on the luxury end of the market, are not expected to be temporary. Sotheby’s recently published “Luxury Outlook 2021” report makes for interesting reading in that respect, indicating that “home buyers won’t easily forget the pandemic,” and that in-home “amenities galore,” including home theaters are expected to remain highly sought-after.

Our industry therefore rightfully considers private theater a top business opportunity. Not only do our clients have a newfound appreciation for the experiences they can enjoy at home with their loved ones, having spent much more time indoors, but there is also better availability of high-quality content, a trend further accelerated by the pandemic. These and other elements are driving what Sam Cavitt of Paradise Theaters in a recent article called a “Residential Cinema Renaissance,” with private theater poised to take its rightful place as a prized possession in a new post-pandemic “hierarchy of needs.”

At Barco Residential this is the moment we have been training for. From the start, our focus was on leveraging our heritage in professional cinema and post-production to bring a new level of technology and performance to private theaters and media rooms, creating unique cinematic experiences for people to share with their loved ones.

Barco Freya Projector

To enable that, we created a full line of private theater projectors, including our DCI-compliant Cinema-At-Home series. Powered by professional cinema and post-production technology platforms and infused with unique residential features, these projectors are designed to match and exceed the requirements of not only professional premium exhibition, but also the most demanding professionals at post-production facilities where our clients’ favorite movies are graded, so they can enjoy them in true reference-level private theaters. Our flagship Thor and Thor+ projectors and our new Freya projector are prime examples of this. Since Barco Cinema-At-Home Projectors combine the best of professional cinema with the requirements of private home theaters, they represent a truly unique offering in the market.

Barco Njord Projector

Other recent additions to our projector line-up include the Njord, which brings a new level of power and performance for larger private theaters and even outdoor theaters, and the Bragi and Bragi Cinemascope projectors, the latter featuring our unique native cinemascope capability for an unparalleled cinematic experience. These Cinemascope models feature a unique automatic aspect ratio detection function that identifies cinemascope content and automatically scales the image to fit the 5120 x 2160 resolution and change back to 16:9 (3840 x 2160), depending on the content. Combined with class-leading light output, this brings a new level of cinematic experience and immersion to our clients.

Another effect of having spent much more time indoors over the past year is that many clients have become even more attuned to the design and architectural aspects of their homes and living spaces. Clients are not just looking for a typical home-theater-in-a-box, much less for an unsightly projector hanging from the ceiling. Each client’s lifestyle is unique and every residence is unique. All too often, technology becomes a ‘necessary evil’ that impedes the design imperative of a luxury home or yacht. Clients are looking for ways to discreetly integrate different experiences into their living spaces, not limited to Home Theater, but also including New Media Art, Gaming and Wellness.

This calls for more customized and architecturally integrated video solutions or “digital canvases” that offer far beyond what any mass-produced TV or home theater solution can offer. Together with our technology integration partners, Barco Residential has been at the forefront of enabling this advanced level of architectural integration, underpinned by our “Hide Everything But the Experience” philosophy. We focus our development efforts on creating technologies and products that allow the integration of entertainment systems to enhance rather than impede the architecture and design of the client’s residence, thereby turning technology from a necessary evil into a design material for Architects and Interior Designers. Examples of technologies enabling this include our integrated video warping and blending engine as well as our wide choice of projector lenses, including ultra-short-throw.

This is one of those unique moments where market opportunity meets the skill of the home technology integration industry. With this level of technology and solutions, technology integrators have unprecedented options to deliver a level of quality, performance, and cinematic experience that not only provides a perfect “pandemic escape,” but delivers that prized possession and lifestyle amenity for your clients and their friends and family!

We look forward to working with you to address these opportunities. Contact us at residential@barco.com to learn more about our solutions.

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