Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and online piracy has changed how we watch films completely.
As cinema chains desperately try to combat the home market and entice people into their seats, a new streaming service that's being backed by some of Hollywood's most well-known personalities may be the final nail in the coffin for traditional cinemas.
Screening Room will offer viewers the chance to watch films currently in cinemas from the comfort of their own home. It's not cheap, however. Users will be charged $150 for a set-top box that blocks any kinds of piracy or downloading of the film whilst the film itself will set you back $50 per screening with a 48-hour time limit on the film.
It's in the early stages of development, but already JJ Abrams, Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer have backed the service and said they're onboard with the idea. What's more, there's an olive-branch of sorts to cinema chains, with Screening Room offering to cut some theatre chains in with as much as $20 per sale.
Considering how a lot of indie films in the US are getting day-and-date releases - that's released online and in cinemas on the same day - it's no surprise that the more mainstream films are looking to do something similar. Day-and-date releases for indie films has made them more profitable and helped them to reach a larger audience than screening at boutique festivals and arthouse cinemas.
Plus, when you consider how much two tickets to see any film at a cinema is, plus the cost of a babysitter, popcorn, parking, fuel for the car to get there and the fact that people are just the worst at cinemas, paying out $50 for a film doesn't seem like all that bad a deal.
The service is being backed and developed by Sean Parker and Prem Akkarju, with the aforementioned directors investing money into the startup. If Sean Parker sounds familiar to you, it's because he's the guy who invented Napster. Justin Timberlake played him in The Social Network.
There's no word yet on when the service will be launched in Ireland and if the service takes off in the US, there's every possibility it will be launched here pretty soon. The question is, of course, would people use it? Or are we losing out on something by not experiencing a film with others like we do in a cinema?
Let us know what you think in the comments.