D-Box Motion Code Seats at Galaxy Highland - Bring the Dramamine


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

This past Wednesday I attended a reception held by D-Box Motion Code and the Galaxy Highland 20 Theaters in Austin celebrating the installation of twenty D-Box motion seats in one of the theater's auditoriums. The seats use three motors and "intelligent vibrations" to bring a new element to movie watching: coordinated motion and vibrations timed to the picture's soundtrack. The result is something like those flight simulator rides at amusement parks (MGM's Star Tours comes to mind), which use the power of visual suggestion combined with motion to convey a moderately intense physical experience.

The reception included both a standalone demo unit (the two seats pictured together) and a full-immersion experience using about fifteen minutes of the new film Terminator: Salvation. While the seats deliver the expected bumps and rolls during explosions and car chases, there are a few more subtle touches that I actually found quite clever. When one character starts a car, the seat vibrates slightly to the purr of the engine while the characters hold a conversation. When the trademark Terminator soundtrack (you know, the one with the persistent percussion) arrives, the seat knocks you about in time to the tune. And while the seat never moves more than ten or fifteen degrees off horizontal (not even enough to spill the drink in the thoughtfully provided steel-ringed cup holders), turning the seat up to its "high" setting could prove exhausting if you were to sit through an extended action flick. (There are four settings: off, low, medium, and high.) This is more than just "shaky seats," however -- the motion coding really follows the action on screen and the overall experience is quite satisfying.

So far only two theatrical releases have been given the D-Box treatment: Fast and Furious and Terminator: Salvation. Personally I'd like to be thrown out of the captain's chair during Star Trek, but nobody in Hollywood listens to me anyway so it's not like they're going to start now.

At present D-Box isn't divulging how much the seats cost to install; according to the CTO and marketing director present, the theater bears the cost of upgrading the theater infrastructure and D-Box installs the seats themselves, and then they split the additional $8 per seat revenue on top of the ticket price. That extra cost doesn't seem to be dissuading customers, however. The motion seat tickets to Terminator: Salvation are apparently sold out through the weekend. (Check their site to make sure.) I may go back for the full experience myself.

As an aside, D-Box apparently began business in high-end home theaters. They claim to have a thousand movies already motion-encoded if you're willing to shell out the approximately $10,000 required to buy a home system, and the system works with some PC games as well.

Visit the Galaxy Highland website to buy D-Box tickets for Terminator: Salvation.

I can't help but think of

I can't help but think of MANT when I read this.

D-Box Seats @ Highland 10

I just watched Terminator Salvation at the Highland 10 in a D-Box Seat at a ticket price that would be unheard of in NYC. I can't say I was impressed with the technology ... maybe it was the boring movie (I was expecting a bit more than McG delivered; is the future always going to be portrayed so bleakly, no sense of hope like in the other terminator movies ... but I digress). Ok, so when my seat fired up I thought 'cool' and momentarily liked it. However, while engrossed in the movie and paying attention to the screen it became evident that I was not paying attention to the sensation of my chair. When I did notice the sensation of the chair I was reminded of those terrible massage chairs you sit in when you are getting a manicure/pedicure at a nail salon. I reccomend sitting through a 2 hour 6 min movie, not just 15 minutes of fun, before singing praises of it. I would be willing to do it at least once or twice more to see if my opinion changes, but someone else has to cover the extra $$ I would be out (I need to save my money for the casino, the entertainment odds are so much better).

Wow motion seats, that's

Wow motion seats, that's cool! I wonder if defiant children with A.D.H.D. will be able to sit though a movie now.