A groundbreaking LED cinema system was installed at a Beijing cinema on Dec. 29, 2021, demonstrating the future of cinema exhibition technologies. 

Andrew Chan, general manager of Timewaying, speaks at a press event held to introduce the HeyLED in Beijing, Dec. 29, 2021.

Shenzhen Timewaying Technology’s milestone LA2K-10 LED Cinema System, with the brand name HeyLED, has been installed at the Beijing UME International Cineplex. Development started in 2018 with the support of the China Research Institute of Film Science & Technology, and the LA2K-10 screen is their first LED product. 

The LA2K-10 screen passed the DCI Compliance Test Plan to get the certification in July 2021. Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI), a consortium of Hollywood major motion picture studios, was formed in 2002 to establish specifications for a standard system architecture for digital cinema systems. 

The DCI certification qualified the light-emitting diode (LED) screen system used in cinema for day-and-date movie exhibitions. In addition, it also passed a series of rigorous tests to guarantee manufacturing quality control and stability in operation, said Kenny Chow, chief technology officer of the company, at the press event.

In the demonstration section at the event, an astronaut, a space-aircraft carrier, and meteorites bursted out of the immersive 3D screen, wowing spectators. 

Compared with the traditional DLP (Digital Light Processing) projection technology, the enhanced LED displays have advantages in higher contrast, higher brightness, and pure color and copyright protection. In addition, LED displays provide a more immersive experience with better image quality, HDR content, more excellent color gamut, and picture uniformity for audiences.

For example, LED technology can revolutionize the cinema viewing experience because it delivers a genuinely black screen. This means since the screen absorbs light from secondary-reflection rather than just reflecting it, the intra-frame contrast ratio can be increased by more than 20 times the ratio achieved by older projection technologies, Chow explained.

Andrew Chan, general manager of Timewaying, said the specially-equipped theater would significantly improve moviegoers’ experience, worth their tickets even when the price is a little higher than the average theaters, and nurture the consumption habit of consumers. He added the online streaming services and the COVID-19 pandemic in the current era have forced the industry to upgrade the cinema experience to attract more audiences to the theatrical venues. 

A floating imagery of a sci-fi space-aircraft carrier pops out of the HeyLED screen at the Beijing theater, where a press event is held to introduce the revolutionary system in Beijing, Dec. 29, 2021. 

In addition, the system can free up space for cinemas, as it will eliminate the projection room, which would create opportunities for more seats or a VIP balcony. In Chan’s vision, the HeyLED can also meet the needs of the high-end cinema market and generate revenue opportunities for other events such as conferences, eSports, live concerts, virtual reality events, and dine-in cinema.

But Chan admitted there is a lack of content specially made for showing off the full effect of the new screen as they are just getting started, and they need to discuss with filmmakers how they can make and design content for the HeyLED.

Beijing UME is China’s first cinema to install the system, China’s first DCI-approved 10-meter-wide cinema screen with self-developed and independent core technology intellectual properties in both software and hardware. More cinemas in other cities are now discussing with Timewaying to launch more such specially powered theaters. 

Timewaying, the largest 3D equipment supplier in the Chinese market, has been deeply involved in the cinema technology industry for 10 years, with over 30,000 3D systems installed among 11,000 cinema sites across China, fueling the 98% coverage of 3D screen installation during the fastest growing period of the Chinese cinema industry. As the world’s biggest film market, China currently has about 15,000 cinemas and more than 80,000 screens, the most globally. 

Meanwhile, the company also has a plan to launch HeyLED worldwide. It will install one screen in Los Angeles early this year for executives of various film companies to experience. Furthermore, in April, it will promote the system at CinemaCon 2022 in Las Vegas and introduce the screen system to foreign markets.