There are many ways to define cinema, but from its earliest days, you could always boil it down to this: A work of art projected on a white wall in a dark room. The image above is an archival photo, and there aren’t as many balconies as there once were in this country, but otherwise that sight — a beam of light piercing through the darkness — has remained basically unchanged in every movie theater for well over 100 years.

That may soon change.

Variety reports on the “first-ever LED cinema screen” in the United States, which was recently installed at the Pacific Theater in Chastworth, California by Samsung. Supposedly this screen “can display true black and is unaffected by ambient lighting.” Because it is “essentially a massive television screen” it requires no projector, and thus would make the image above as extinct as the dodo bird.

Variety’s Ricardo Lopez says during the presentation he attended last week, “the screen was noticeably brighter and displayed richer detail during trailer showings for Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time.” I want to believe he’s right; I certainly have no reason to doubt him. Maybe it will look incredible. I’m going to reserve judgment until I see it for myself. But on a practical level, once the word gets out that people are paying for giant television in a room, I don’t understand why people will continue to pay a premium for an experience that is comparable to the one they can get at home for nothing. (And according to The Hollywood Reporter, theaters may eventually decide to charge extra for the LED cinema screen.)

I have a pretty good TV sitting in my house. Would I pay $15 (plus a couple subway or taxi rides, or gas for a car, plus maybe a babysitter) to watch a really good television? I’m a movie nut, and pay way too much money to go see way too many movies, and I’m not sure I would. The whole thing sounds like a thought experiment: If a film isn’t shot on film, isn’t projected on film, isn’t projected at all, and is displayed on a giant television, does it even qualify as a film? I don’t know, but we’re going to have to decide because this reality is coming soon.

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