Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Cinema-On-Demand: Theater as Social Software

I wrote this bit for Corante's Many-to-Many blog:

Cinema-On-Demand: Theater as Social Software

A darkened theatre. A full house. A heroic act. A mighty roar from the crowd. This is the delight of good cinema.

I love going to the movies with people, even people I don’t know. I love to hear others’ reactions, and discuss the movie with people afterwards. In fact, I love it so much, that when my neighbor shows movies in many languages from all over the world in his backyard on Saturday nights during the summer, I often go down for the movie and end up enjoying the wine, cheese, and conversation more than the images flickering across a bedsheet waving gently in the breeze.

So, I got to thinking: What if you could rent a theater for a night? Then I read this: “At this year’s Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, filmmaker David LaChapelle screened his new hi-def movie, Rize, by streaming it from Oregon and then transmitting it through a WiMax station in Salt Lake City. It worked flawlessly - soon even theaters won’t have to rely on physical media anymore” (from

Improvements in bandwidth and compression will usher in the possibility of streaming movies directly to local theaters...