While motion picture films have been around for more than a century, film is still a relative newcomer in the pantheon of fine arts. In the 1950s, when television became widely available, industry analysts predicted the demise of local movie theaters. Despite competition from television’s increasing technological sophistication over the 1960s and 1970s, such as the development of color television and large screens, motion picture cinemas continued. In the 1980s, when the widespread availability of inexpensive videocassette recorders enabled people to select films for home viewing, industry analysts again wrongly predicted the death of the local cinemas.
In the 1990s and 2000s the development of digital DVD players, home theater amplification systems with surround sound and subwoofers, and large LCD or plasma screens enabled people to select and view films at home with greatly improved audio and visual reproduction. These new technologies provided audio and visual that in the past only local cinemas had been able to provide: a large, clear widescreen presentation of a film with a full-range, high-quality multi-speaker sound system. Once again industry analysts predicted the demise of the local cinema. Local cinemas will be changing in the 2000s and moving towards digital screens, a new approach which will allow for easier and quicker distribution of films (via satellite or hard disks), a development which may give local theaters a reprieve from their predicted demise.
The cinema now faces a new challenge from home video by the likes of a new DVD format Blu-ray, which can provide full HD 1080p video playback at near cinema quality. Video formats are gradually catching up with the resolutions and quality that film offers, 1080p in Blu-ray offers a pixel resolution of 1920?1080 a leap from the DVD offering of 720?480 and the paltry 330?480 offered by the first home video standard VHS. The maximum resolutions that film currently offers are 2485?2970 or 1420?3390, UHD, a future digital video format, will offer a massive resolution of 7680?4320, surpassing all current film resolutions. The only viable competitor to these new innovations is IMAX which can play film content at an extreme 10000?7000 resolution.
Despite the rise of all new technologies, the development of the home video market and a surge of online piracy, 2007 was a record year in film that showed the highest ever box-office grosses. Many expected film to suffer as a result of the effects listed above but it has flourished, strengthening film studio expectations for the future.