We've long dreamed of a day when we could download freshly released movies to our TVs, and now, that day has arrived... but with a steep price! PRIMA Cinema gave us some hands-on time with their product, and it's an amazing service for anyone who can't make it to their local cineplex on opening weekend to see the latest, greatest releases. The cost? A cool $35,000 for the primary unit and remote fingerprint reader, plus an additional $500 per viewing, or a TBD annual fee for an unlimited subscription. Now, that seems astronomical, we know. However, it's chump change next to the cost of installing professional projection equipment (which can run well over $100K). In addition to those equipment costs, you also have to be on a super secret screener list called the "Bel-Air Circuit" that gives access to first-run theatrical releases. Oh, and that circuit is per studio, and even if you make one studio's list, it doesn't guarantee you'll be placed on any other studio's list. Hollywood heavy hitters like Ari Emanuel, George Clooney, and Les Moonves are all on the list, so if you're expecting an invitation, don't hold your breath.
Obviously, movie studios are reluctant to partner with a product like this without loads of security in place to ensure new releases don't find their way onto the internet. PRIMA has that locked down, with multiple levels of security, encryption, and verification on board to keep nefarious pirates from stealing flicks; one was a watermark of the owner's fingerprint, invisible to the naked eye, but visible in a screen recording. High tech stuff, right? At CES, we got to see the carousel of current releases for Universal Pictures, including Les Miserables and This Is 40. Choosing a movie is extremely easy (remember, the ultra-elite just want things to work seamlessly), and then PRIMA requires a fingerprint swipe to verify the identity of the owner. The picture quality is pretty amazing, and PRIMA noted there is upscaling that's better than 1080p happening as you view a film, but not quite 2K. They're looking to just skip 2K and go straight to 4K; a reasonable feat considering how many 4K TVs we saw at CES. PRIMA Cinema’s leading a revolution in ultra-elite home theater experiences, and it's cool that studios are seeing all the hard work PRIMA put into security/verification and jumping on board. Obviously, the price range keeps it from being for everybody, but really, going to the movies is all about that fan experience on opening weekend for most moviegoers -- something potential PRIMA subscribers probably don't have the luxury of doing without fear of getting mobbed at the cineplex. Then again, if George Clooney or Kate Beckinsale want to take us to our local theater, we're game.