This is how the ultra-rich watch box office releases at home, $500 at a time

By Shawn Knight · 17 replies
Apr 10, 2015
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  1. furious movies movie theater set-top box redundancies prima cinema

    There’s plenty to dislike about movie theaters. Aside from the fact that most are pretty gross, the one thing that has kept me away from theaters for years is other people. If I’m paying upwards of $15 to watch a new release, I want to actually be able to watch it without distractions. Crying babies and rude people that talk / play on their phones the whole time have completely ruined the experience for me.

    If I had my own money bin like Scrooge McDuck, a solution from a company called PRIMA Cinema would solve all of my woes.

    Excluding pirates, only select Hollywood insiders have been able to watch first-run, theatrically-released films at home. Comcast conducted a trial run to deliver new flicks via VOD several years ago although I assume the idea was canned as such a service never materialized that I’m aware of.

    furious movies movie theater set-top box redundancies prima cinema

    PRIMA Cinema is billed as the first and only premium entertainment company to deliver new films directly to a member’s home. Want to host a party and invite your entire family over for movie night? You can do just that with PRIMA Cinema… but it’ll cost you.

    The hardware alone is a pretty ridiculous setup. In addition to a state-of-the-art set-top box that requires biometric authentication to rent movies at $500 each (good only for a 24 hour period), there’s a huge rack-mounted system that stores each movie. Films are delivered over the Internet to the box several days before they are released in theaters. They sit there, encrypted, until the movie studio behind the film gives the green light.

    furious movies movie theater set-top box redundancies prima cinema

    The rack-mounted box features two power supplies, dual gigabit Ethernet, dual HDMI and a RAID 5 array. There are even accelerometers that will shut the entire system down if movement is detected. Movies are laced with an invisible watermark so if something does end up online, the company will know where it came from. Owners must also have a fast Internet connection and a static IP address.

    The system’s only function is to make new release films available to rent. If you want to watch something a bit older, you’ll need to turn to a standard set-top box like a Fire TV or Roku 3. Films aren’t shown at 4K yet but that’ll come with time as technology matures. 

    furious movies movie theater set-top box redundancies prima cinema

    So, how much will you need to shell out for your very own PRIMA Cinema? The hardware alone will set you back a cool $35,000 and new users are required to pay for 10 movies up front at $500 each, so another $5,000.

    To most of us, that’s above and beyond anything even remotely reasonable which is the entire point. Movie theaters (and in turn, studios) must protect their revenue stream. An affordable at-home solution would be a death sentence for theaters but by pricing PRIMA Cinema so high, both are ensuring it'll have as little impact on the industry as possible.

    To the wealthy, it’s really just a drop in the bucket and probably well worth it to avoid having to deal with the public. And if you’re willing to spend that kind of money on a movie delivery service, odds are you have a pretty kickass home theater setup to go along with it.

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  2. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    To the wealthy, it’s really just a drop in the bucket and probably well worth it to avoid having to deal with the public.

    I know wealthy people. They don't treat 40k as a drop in the bucket and none of them are going to shell out that kinda dough just to avoid the public.

    Athletes on the other hand....
    Burty117, madboyv1 and insect like this.
  3. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,264   +436

    lol have to agree with this I knew a few of them and they are cheaper than us regular folk. And they always tell me if you want to stay rich you have to spend like a normal person.
  4. wastedkill

    wastedkill TS Evangelist Posts: 1,423   +350

    I think when they say wealthy they mean someone with around $25+mill in the bank...
    Rippleman likes this.
  5. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    "Crying babies and rude people that talk / play on their phones the whole time have completely ruined the experience for me."

    Crying babies??? What movies do you go to with babies in the theater, around here they have special viewings for people with babies, otherwise they don't seem to let people in to the theater with their tots. People with phones get stuff thrown at them so that problem solved itself, I personally like to bring a high powered laser to blast those arse hats. Even talking isn't so bad, besides the odd occasion an entire family comes in, they generally will talk at times but for the most part people are respectful. Although even then my friends and I are almost all over 6 feet tall so we can usually intimidate people to stop talking if need be.

    As for the article, the price of a well equipped car can get you a in-home movie theater, seems like a bargain to someone with the deep enough pockets, wasted got it right, in the $10-25+ million range.
  6. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    Only an athlete or other celebrity would be inclined to drop that kind of cash on day-1 movie releases. Home theaters? Absolutely. Movies at $500 a pop with a $5,000 initiation fee? Unlikely, unless you're dealing with a guy who's active in the community and inclined to provide free movies for kids...or a 20-something athlete with more money than brains.

    If you have that kind of capital, you probably live in a nice part of town (not in a low-income area or the city). Theaters in nice parts of town generally don't have the problems cited in the article. It isn't a bargain to spend $500 per movie to avoid such trivialities. It an extortion-grade premium for suckers.
  7. Don't only think of people buying these for their homes. I'm sure there are plenty of companies that would throw down on something like this for an employee perk. Not my company mind you, maybe a software startup or something. Would be cool to have a monthly movie night and have people bring their families to watch the newest hit. Its gotta be cheaper in the long run that renting out a theater.
  8. "I think when they say wealthy they mean someone with around $25+mill in the bank..."
    I know 2 couples (family in laws and friends) that would consider themselves a failure if they only had $100 million in the bank and neither would be interested in this. Self made people with money usually have it because they don't just throw it around. It's how they made their money in the first place. A lot of them are still in that mind set, though that doesn't mean they won't spend it at all or be generous. Just they're not stupid with it.
    davislane1 likes this.
  9. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    Well if you have a home theater worth a half million dollars, $35k install and $500 a movie isn't too bad.
    wastedkill likes this.
  10. Expensive, but not to some a different world for some, bit highly doubt even the most stupid rich folk won't be dumb enough to get ripped off that much or will they?
  11. slamscaper

    slamscaper TS Booster Posts: 191   +38

    Do people really have to see every movie as soon as it's physically possible? I don't get that whole thing. I'd much rather just wait a little while and catch it on my medium of choice. You can save $40K in this scenario by simply, waiting a few months until the film comes out on home media. Oh that's right, your friends won't think your cool anymore because you didn't see the new Fast and Furious movie before them...
    trgz likes this.
  12. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,557   +706

    You obviously don't know the right kind of wealthy people... I know a bunch - and they'd buy that in a second!

    You guys need to start watching those gawful shows like Cribs.... look at the ridiculous stuff they have in their homes that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.... spending an extra 40k on a room that probably already cost over a million is NOTHING to them!

    Not to mention they've got incomes raking in MILLIONS per year... we're not talking about the "moderately wealthy" here... we're talking 200+ million dollar people... and many of them spend money "stupidly"...

    Look at the sales of all those supercars costing 250k +.... THOUSANDS of those are sold a year - you don't think these same people wouldn't be buying this for 40k?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2015
  13. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    Everyone who has come to the defense of wealthy folks in this thread have conceded that celebrities are likely to spend money on this stuff. Also, comparing super cars to $500 movies isn't a valid comparison. That's like saying a $200 chia pet is a must-buy for people with money to burn because botanical gardens. The value is not even remotely the same.
  14. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,557   +706

    Um.... noone is DEFENDING these wealthy folk - I think it's obscene that people buy sh1t like this... but you need to think through your argument... If THOUSANDS (tens of thousands actually) of people are willing to spend $250k+ on extravagant stuff like supercars, why wouldn't they spend $40k on their already extravagant media rooms?

    Bringing up Supercars is simply a comparison for purchasing extravagant stuff... Rich people spend tons of money on other stuff too... look at their homes for instance!! How many multi-million dollar homes exist - with rooms costing far more than any simple 40k movie thingy... Look at luxury watch sales... does anyone NEED a $50,000 watch? No... but plenty buy them (Apple's Gold Smartwatch being only 10k seems like a bargain now)!! Rich people are willing to spend top dollar for something they want... or even just something they deem "cool".
    This is not limited to celebrities.... there are plenty of uber-wealthy people you've never heard of - they come from old money, or start-up companies, or big oil.... etc... And they like to display their wealth....

    I want you to google Ferrari sales... they sold just under 2,000 last year - and were more profitable than ever before.... that's just ONE "supercar company".... If you want to take the time, google Rolls Royce, Lamborghini, etc... You'll find similar results.... Are you telling me that this movie thingy won't be profitable because of cost?!?!?

    If this isn't profitable, it won't be because it's too expensive... it will be because noone wants it... But I suspect plenty will - time will tell!
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
  15. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    A claim about a party was made in the article. That claim was refuted by numerous forum members. So, yes, we have very much defended the wealthy insofar as this thread is concerned.

    Let us examine the claim once more.

    "To the wealthy, it’s really just a drop in the bucket and probably well worth it to avoid having to deal with the public."

    This is a value statement. The position being put forward is that wealthy folks have money to burn and would see adequate value in avoiding public theaters for the costs cited in the article.

    Using a consensus threshold, "wealthy" in the United States weighs in at about $150,000 per year in gross income. Not only does this preclude multimillion-dollar homes and Ferraris, it very likely precludes $40,000 home theaters as well. Even if we use larger figures like $250,000 up to around $5,000,000 (other common thresholds for "wealthy"), all of the items you've mentioned are hardly trivial expenses for a financially aware individual, as most wealthy people tend to be.

    Shawn did not set the bar at the "uber-wealthy." He set it at "wealthy." Therefore, the various manners in which an oil sheik or tech billionaire may choose to engage in socioeconomic peacocking is anecdotal.

    Furthermore, luxury cars, watches and homes are not comparable to $500 movies. A $50,000 Rolex holds its value and can appreciate. A Ferrari retains value after depreciation and can also appreciate. A home retains its value and can appreciate under the correct conditions. $5,000+ of movies that can never be resold or capitalized in any legal manner is fundamentally different. Specifically, the difference between and asset and an expense.

    You understand that price plays a significant role in determining demand, right?
  16. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,182   +469

    Well, the title does say "ultra rich" so for the purposes of this article when Shawn says "wealthy" I take that to mean more than merely wealthy, at least in my opinion. However, I think the exact degree of wealth is not the point of the article.

    As an aside, it never bothers me when the rich (however you want to define it) spend their money. That means other people, including ordinary working stiffs, make this money as part of their income. They in turn spend their money on other things. Accelerate that money. :)
    davislane1 likes this.
  17. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    The body of a writing has more authority than its title. If he meant to convey 9 figures and up, his closing anecdote comment was sloppy to exclude adequate definition.

    Point taken nonetheless, you observant scoundrel. :p

    Edit: Almost set myself up for a rhetorical parry right there.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
  18. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,557   +706

    The amount of money defining "wealthy" is irrelevant.... what "wealthy" MUST mean in regards to this article is "people who have enough money that $40k means relatively nothing"...

    Again... I am not talking about the merits of the writer of this article... simply on whether this item will sell or not...

    And as for davislane's "You understand that price plays a significant role in determining demand, right?"

    It actually DOES NOT when being marketed to the ultra-rich... When marketing to people at this price range, the more important factors are exclusivity, flash, quality, style, looks, etc... If anything, it might need to be priced HIGHER in order to convince them that it's exclusive :)

    As for spending money on things that appreciate.... while the MOVIES obviously don't appreciate, the actual system - which I assume will continue to be upgraded as technology improves, would be a type of investment... but supercars don't appreciate very often - check the market for a used Ferrari and while it still breaks the bank, it's probably half the cost of brand new :)

    I reiterate - this system will either sell or not - but NOT because of its price!! It will succeed because it's the "in thing" to have...or it will fail cause it's "lame"...

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