Independent films will be available on the small screen as soon as they hit the big screen with the Curzon cinema chain’s new smart TV app.
Curzon On Demand arrives on Samsung TVs later this month, alongside a web-based player and with apps on the way for iPad, other smartphones and TV brands.
Curzon’s chief executive, Philip Knatchbull, wants the on-demand service to be up to 50 different platforms and devices in the next four or five years, including the likes of Sky, Virgin and Apple TV.
April will see the simultaneous cinema and on-demand premiere of the new comedy from Le Havre, from indie auteur Aki Kaurismaki, following launches of Michael and Werner Herzog’s Into the Abyss.
Knatchbull said: “I’m not going to be a friend of the multiplex cinemas because what I’m advocating is a complete shift in the way people watch films.
“I believe that in the next four or five years, much of what we watch will be available simultaneously in cinemas and at home.”
New releases will cost £10 for a week of viewing (£6 until July), £4 for recent releases and £2 for classics, with a library of around 300 films from Curzon Artificial Eye and other indie distributors.
The Curzon app can deliver a high definition video stream to high speed connections, but also serves lower bit-rate video if your connection isn’t very good.
Films purchased on a PC or other device can be accessed through any other Curzon On Demand app through a single store, and purchases can be made with a single click (plus your PIN number).
Our demo at today’s launch event saw a video stream that was occasionally blocky during scene changes but very watchable most of the time, close-up on a 40in TV.
As the Curzon On Demand app family develops, more features are expected to arrive such as reminders for new releases, and even taking advantage of the voice control capability in Samsung’s TVs and many smartphones and tablets.
The last 12 months saw more than 20million applications downloaded for Samsung’s Smart TV platform worldwide, and including Samsung the UK now has more than 1.5m TV sets with connected TV features.
Robert King, Samsung UK’s vice-president of consumer electronics, said: “Smart TV is already dramatically changing the way that people interact with the TV sets in their homes.
“From a passive experience, people are now able to engage in a whole variety of content and activities from streaming movies to listening to music, and even keeping fit.”
Stay with Recombu Digital for an exclusive video walkthrough of Curzon On Demand on Smasung Smart TV, later this week.