This Spring, Let’s Watch Movies on Big LED Screens

Entering 2024, the blockbuster Chinese TV series Blossoms Shanghai, directed by Wong Kar-wai, has started airing, showcasing the LED virtual production technology to the general public. With the arrival of the Lunar New Year, the Spring Festival Gala, as a traditional cultural event in China, has embraced modern trends. For the first time, it introduced virtual production technology, allowing the audience to experience more stunning stage effects and visual feasts right in front of their screens.

As the Lunar New Year approaches, the focus turns to family reunions. Watching the Spring Festival Gala on the evening of New Year's Eve in the warm atmosphere of home has become a tradition in China. Moreover, going to the movie theater to watch an exciting movie has gradually become a new custom, with more and more people considering it as an important activity during the festival.

This year’s Lunar New Year movie pre-sale kicked off on January 31, featuring light-hearted and humorous comedy films that set laughter as the main theme for welcoming the New Year. The star-studded lineup is both familiar and endearing. The comedy film YOLO directed by Jia Ling, the racing comedy Pegasus 2 directed by Han Han and starring Shen Teng, Zhang Yimou’s comedy-drama film Article 20 and the satirical comedy film The Movie Emperor starring Andy Lau have all contributed to the battle for Lunar New Year box office success.

Beyond the movie content, the viewing experience has also become a focal point. High-quality content coupled with outstanding display devices, such as LED cinema displays, can offer a clearer, more realistic and immersive visual experience, significantly elevating the overall movie-watching experience. While the penetration rate of LED cinema displays is currently not high, the use of LED screens for movie theaters is gradually opening up the cinema market. For instance, the Jiangsu government signed a contract to establish the first LEDMAX movie theater right before the Spring Festival.


Extensive Adoption of LED Cinema Displays

According to a brief survey conducted by LEDinside, the display research division of TrendForce, a total of 20 movie theaters have adopted LED cinema displays since 2023 throughout China.

The use of LED Cinema Displays among Movie Theaters in China (a brief survey)

Province (Municipality)
Movie theater
Description
Display Supplier
Beijing
Perfect World Cinema (Beijing Winter Olympic Village branch)
Opened in July 2023, it is the first VLED cinema hall in Beijing.
CINEAPPO
CFG Cinema (CPC Museum branch)
Installed with a CINITY LED cinema display
/
CFG Cinema (Beijing Olympics branch)
Opened on July 1, 2021, it features the Unilumin UC-A41 LED cinema display.
Unilumin
UME Cinema (Beijing Huaxing branch)
Opened on December 28, 2021, it features the HeyLED digital cinema display.
TIME WAYING
Capital Cinema (Xidan branch)
Opened in 2018, it is the world’s first cinema featuring the 14m-wide Onyx display
Samsung
Shanghai
CGV Cinema (Qingpu Vanke Mall branch)
Opened in May 2023, it is China’s first theater adopting a VLED cinema display.
CINEAPPO
UME Cinema in Huangpu (Xintiandi branch)
Opened in August 2020, it is the first cinema featuring the 14m-wide Onyx display in Shanghai.
Samsung
Guangdong
Yueshan Screening Room of Grand Theater Cinema (Huangpu JOY CITY)
Opened in July 2023, it features the first HeyLED cinema display in Southern China.
TIME WAYING
Wanxiang City Grand Theater in Shenzhen
Built in 2019, it is the first cinema featuring the HeyLED display in Southern China.
Samsung
Zhejiang
Zheying Era Cinema (Kaiyuan, Xiaoshan District)
Opened in December 2023, it is the first cinema featuring a 20-m 4K LED giant screen
TIME WAYING
Hello City in Jiaxing (CINITY LED branch)
Since February 2024, it has been the first cinema adopting the CINITY LED display at its Dolby panoramic room.
/
Jiangsu
Shangying Cinema in Zhenjiang (Yifang Hongdou branch)
Opened in February 2024, it is the first LEDMAX cinema in Jiangsu Province.
LOPU
Jiangxi
Yinxing Cinema (Nanchang Wushang Mall branch)
The first-ever CINITY LED screening room in Jiangxi made its debut in January 2024.
/
Hubei
VFC STARX Cinema in Wuhan
Launched during the Spring Festival in 2023, it is the first LED giant screen cinema in the Central China region.
Unilumin
Screening Room 15 of Wushang Mall Cinema in Wuhan
Opened in May 2023, it features China's first 20-m 4K HeyLED giant screen.
TIME WAYING
Wushang Mall International Cinema in Wuhan
Launched in 2019, the theater installed the Onyx Cinema LED display.
Samsung
Henan
Hollywood Cinema in Jingkai District (Shenhauli branch)
Launched in January 2024, it is the first theater adopting the VLED LED cinema screen in Henan Province.
CINEAPPO
Oscar Cinema in Zhengzhou
The cinema installed the Onyx LED cinema display in 2019.
Samsung
Hebei
Wanda Cinema in Tangshan (Fengnangang Island Center VLED branch)
Opened in October 2023, it is the first theater installing a VLED LED cinema display.
CINEAPPO
Shandong
WOM Cinema in Jinan (Longhu Beicheng branch)
Opened in January 2024, it is CFG’s first CINITY LED cinema in Shandong.
/
Shanxi
Tongluowan International Cinema in Taiyuan
Launched in December 2023, it installed the first HeyLED cinema display in Shanxi Province.
TIME WAYING
Longchen Wanda Cinema (PRIME & VLED branch) in Taiyuan
Opened in November 2023, it installed the first VLED display for cinemas.
CINEAPPO
Chengdu
Xinming Cinema
Upgraded in February 2024, it owns China’s first CINIY LED curved display.
AOTO
Xinjiang
Ganghuanxing Cinema
Launched on December 13, 2023, it is the first LED cinema in Xinjiang.
Unilumin
Hainan
ZOSE International Cinema VLED in Haikou (Dongpo Laomatou branch)
Opened in September 2023, it is the first VLED cinema in Hainan.
CINEAPPO
Nline Movie Space in Sanya
Opened in December 2023, it is China’s first immersive LED cinema.
Unilumin

Data source: LEDinside


Since the second half of 2023, especially in the past few months, movie theaters across China including Xinjiang in the west, Hainan in the south, Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi in the north, Jiangxi, Hubei, Henan in the central south and coastal provinces like Zhejiang and Jiangsu in the southeast, have been actively introducing their first-ever LED screens. In a market dominated by international brands like Samsung, there has been a rising presence of Chinese LED display companies.

Unilumin’s LED cinema projectors can now be seen in places like Xinjiang, Wuhan, Beijing and Sanya. The China Film Cinema in Beijing (Beijing Olympics branch) and STARX-LED Giant Screen Cinema Hall 6 in Wuhan Vanke Future Center, for instance, feature the company’s UC-A41 LED cinema display.

The immersive LED screening room in Sanya employs a novel multi-screen technology, achieving a total resolution of 9K. Both the main and side screens meet the P3 color gamut requirements for movies, and an innovative integrated control for the main and side screens allows for synchronized images, delivering a stunning immersive and enveloping visual experience, as well as naked-eye 3D effects.

The first LED cinema in Xinjiang comes with Unilumin’s UCINE projection system, which leverages the self-luminous properties of LEDs for true black restoration and rich color reproduction. The wide DCI-P3 color gamut not only enhances contrast, precise brightness control and vivid color reproduction but also overcomes the issue of image distortion common in traditional projectors.

CFG Barco’s CINITY LED cinema displays have been installed in movie picture houses across Beijing, Jiaxing in Zhejiang, Nanchang in Jiangxi, Jinan in Shandong and Chengdu. Next, the CINITY LED will expand into cities like Zhuhai in Guangdong, aiming to cover the entire China.

In July 2023, CFG Barco and AOTO jointly launched the CFG CINITY LED cinema display, a 16-m 4K LED display with high frame rate, high brightness, high contrast, delicate colors, blue-light blocking design and excellent durability, meeting the needs of cinema viewing. In September, a bulk procurement agreement for the CINITY LED cinema display was signed, with plans for gradual market introduction.

HeyLED Aurora is a cinema brand under TIME WAYING, which has been developing its market in Beijing, Taiyuan, Wuhan, Guangzhou and Hangzhou. Specifically, Zheying Era Cinema in Hangzhou (Kaiyuan, Xiaoshan District), opened in January 2024, is the first movie theater featuring an LED giant screen throughout eastern China.

HeyLED adopts AM LED lighting technology for its displays to achieve exceptional brightness, interference resistance and high color accuracy. Its displays offer a contrast ratio hundreds of times higher than traditional screens, support naked-eye 3D and floating 3D images and have superior expressiveness and unique optical processing technology, ensuring bright viewing while protecting the viewer’s eyes.

The first LEDMAX cinema in Jiangsu, constructed by Nanjing Lopu, was opened in Zhenjiang on February 1, 2024. Compared to traditional technology, LEDMAX screens offer high contrast, high grayscale and the DCI-P3 color gamut, accurately representing subtle color changes in movies. Their wide viewing angle ensures quality viewing from any spot in the movie theater. They also support various management systems and information security, allowing for diverse events during non-viewing times, creating additional revenue sources.

CINEAPPO, a laser display company, launched its next-gen AM LED projection solution—the VLED LED Cinema Display in 2023, now used in Shanghai CGV Cinema, Beijing Perfect World Cinema, Tangshan Wanda Cinema, Haikou ZOSE International Cinema and Taiyuan Wanda Cinema.

The VLED LED Cinema Display, based on self-emissive imaging principles, significantly enhances brightness, clarity, contrast ratio and color reproduction. With a lifespan of 100,000 hours and low energy consumption (only a quarter of comparable LED displays), its drastically reduces maintenance costs for movie theaters.

Additionally, through a business rental model, VLED displays can be upgraded with minimal investment. They also allow movie theaters to host meetings, performances and other events in LED halls, maximizing the use of LED screen features to increase incomes other than box office revenue.

Notably, Leyard has been developing and manufacturing LED cinema displays since 2019, adopting a "self-developed + cooperative" model. Its business partners have established over ten LED cinema halls in the US, Europe and other regions, including CGV Buena Park in California, Alcazar Cinema in Paris, and Odeon Multicines in Spain.

In the Chinese market, Leyard continues to deepen communication and cooperation with the film industry. For example, the manufacturer created a giant LED sky screen and glasses-free 3D visual contents for the main venue of the 25th Shanghai International Film Festival—the Shanghai Film Art Center Hall 0. Additionally, Leyard provided high-quality innovative products and comprehensive solutions for the 30th College Student Film Festival, pushing for a digital upgrade in high-end performance visual effects.

Chinese LED Display Makers Are Racing to Develop the Cinema Display Market

According to a TrendForce analysis (TrendForce 2024 Global LED Video Wall Market Outlook and Price Cost Analysis), among the 220,000-240,000 movie theaters globally, one in eight cinema displays will transition to premium screens by 2026. This will result in a total of 27,500-30,000 premium screens in use, signifying considerable growth potential for the LED cinema display market.

Chinese LED display makers attach a particularly great emphasis on developing large LED screen for movie theaters. Specifically, display manufacturers including Leyard, Unilumin, QSTECH, TIME WAYING, AET, MG Screen, and LOPU have obtained the DCI certification—an entry threshold for the cinema display market.

Developments of LED Video Wall Manufacturers in China (a brief survey)

Company
Developments of LED Cinema Display Business
Leyard
  • In November 2019, the LG LED cinema display (p3.3mm, 4K) developed in collaboration with LGE passed DCI certification.
  • In March 2023, the LED cinema display (10.2m ×5.4m) developed in collaboration with Appotronics passed DCI certification.
  • In October 2022, its LED cinema display (14m ×7.2m) passed DCI certification.
  • In June 2023, the P0.9 4K Micro LED display (3.8m × 2m) passed DCI certification.
  • In September 2023, the P5 model (10.2m × 5.4m) passed DCI certification.
  • In November 2023, its fourth self-developed LED cinema display (10m wide, 4K) obtained DCI certification.
Unilumin
  • In May 2021, the UC-A21 LED cinema display passed DCI certification.
  • In November 2021, the UC-A41 received DCI certification.
  • In May 2023, the UC-A42 obtained DCI certification.
AOTO & CFG Barco
  • In August 2023, the jointly developed CFG CINITY LED display projection system (16-m 4K LED screen) was released and passed DCI certification.
  • In September 2023, both parties signed the "CFG CINITY LED Cinema Display Bulk Order Agreement."
  • On February 5, 2024, the LED cinema display produced by AOTO was installed at the Xingming Cinema in Chengdu, marking the two party’s first LED cinema display project in Sichuan.
AET
  • In January 2022, the LED cinema display and the image processing and playback system passed DCI certification.
  • In March 2022, the 10-m 2K cinema display became DCI-certified.
TIME WAYING
  • In July 2021, the HeyLED digital display passed DCI certification.
  • In October 2022, the 20-m 4K model successfully passed DCI certification.
LOPU
  • In 2022, the company obtained DCI certification for its LED cinema system (LP-CINEMA-100).
MG Screen
  • In February 2022, the GS01 LED cinema display passed DCI certification.
QSTECH
  • In June 2023, the 4K LED cinema display passed DCI certification.

Data source: LEDinside


After crossing the entry threshold of DCI certification, the next step is the actual installation of LED cinema displays. LED cinema displays can now be seen in first-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan, and even second or third-tier cities. With the arrival of the Chinese New Year film season, movie theaters equipping LED cinema displays are expected to attract more audiences, enhance the movie-watching experience and even be able to earn more profits.

Despite having several advantages, one of the major challenges on the development of LED cinema display technology is the cost. Unlike general-purpose LEDs, the LEDs used for cinema displays must meet strict DCI standards, including high color accuracy and excellent contrast, leading to relatively higher manufacturing and installation costs.

In the LED packaging sector (considered the midstream segment of the LED industry), companies like Kinglight and Refond are actively working to improve their technical solutions and manufacturing processes. They are collaborating with manufacturers in the upstream and downstream segments to advance the use of LED cinema displays.

For instance, as early as the beginning of 2020, Kinglight pioneered the development of a high-end cinema display solution, the P3 series, based on the requirements of customized LED chips. This solution includes two products: the 1010-P3 and the 2020-P3. The former is primarily used in LED displays with a pixel pitch ranging from P1.25 to P1.87, while the latter is applicable to pixel pitch specs between P2.5 and P4. The products can meet the high-end display requirements of movie theaters, gaming and broadcasting.

The P3 series comes with Kinglight’s “Luxury Black” technology, providing LED displays with features such as all-black ultra-high contrast, ultra-high peak brightness, perfect uniformity, and high-precision colors. This technology also offers advantages like high energy efficiency and extended lifespan, potentially reducing operating costs for movie theaters and promoting the broader application of LED displays in cinemas.

Refond has long been working closely with its business partners and manufacturers in the downstream segments. The latest 1515 model with wide color gamut comprises a special TOP structure to prevent light interference and has excellent airtightness. With over 97% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage, it reproduces true colors, enhances contrast, avoids screen distortion like conventional screens, and supports HDR image refinement. With a brightness of 1500nit, it displays vivid and bright colors, meeting the film industry’s demand for high-quality images.

Looking at the industry as a whole, the number of movie theaters in China has reached saturation, leading to intensified competition among them. Breaking away from the crowded low-end market and moving towards the high-end cinema market has become a significant challenge for many investors. In this context, LED cinemas, especially those with giant LED screens, are a good choice for both upgrading existing theaters and building new ones.

Moreover, with the impact of streaming services and the rise of short video platforms, the conventional cinema market is gradually being eroded. Therefore, surviving in this competitive environment, improving quality, finding new selling points and seizing market opportunities are crucial. LED cinema displays could be a key breakthrough in this scenario. (By Mia from LEDinside)

 

TrendForce 2024 Global LED Video Wall Market Outlook and Price Cost Analysis
Release Date: 28 September 2023
Language: Traditional Chinese / English
Format: PDF
Page: 273

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