The Great Debates: Home vs Theatre

Here we go folks, our next Great Debate. I have a feeling this one might wind up unbalanced, but let’s see how it turns out.

Where do you prefer to watch movies?

Click through to read “The Tale of the Tape”!

Movie Theatre

The Pros

  • Can see movies as soon as they’re released
  • Huge screen
  • 3D
  • Loud sound
  • It’s a destination – you can get out

The Cons

  • Ticket prices
  • Expensive snacks
  • Distractions from other movie goers
  • Have to travel to and from
  • Those with children may have to get babysitters or be restricted to family movies

Home Viewing

The Pros

  • Cheaper
  • Provide your own food/beverages
  • You can control the movie (Pause, Rewind, FF, etc)
  • Dont have to go anywhere
  • Can talk without disturbing strangers
  • No need for babysitters, etc…

The Cons

  • Have to wait to see the movie
  • Movie may lose something in transition to smaller screen
  • No audience reaction (laughter, frights, applause, etc)
  • Doesnt count as going anywhere / doing anything 🙂


I’m sure there are more on both sides of either list. But those are the biggies, and I’m sure everyone knows what the deal is anyhow.

It’s a debate that dates back to VCRs and it’s still going on today… I have a feeling this might not be an even match up, but it is one of the most basic questions that revolve around movie watching… so let’s hear it! Which do YOU prefer? Home or Theatre?!


96 thoughts on “The Great Debates: Home vs Theatre

  1. One of your “Theater – Pros” is very much a “Theater – Con” for me: 3D. I HATE 3d with a fiery passion hitherto unknown before man or god… with the exception of “Hugo” which used 3D quite well, and didn’t result in a migrane. For everything else if theres an option for 35mm, I’ll take that over 3D anyday.

    I voted home though because of the convenience, the ability for pausing, the more comfortable seats, and the ability to surf the net during movies without inconveniencing other viewers. Also, my sound system (7.1 surround) is way better than most theaters have. Certain movies I still like to see on a big(ger) screen, mostly just the big cinema-scope blockbusters, things like, y’know, “Hugo”, for example. (Or Avengers, Batman, etc.) I understand the appeal of seeing comedies with an audience for the reactions, but honestly, seeing what other people laugh at is frequently depressing to me.

  2. I chose home, but certain movies have to be seen in the theater first. And I’m with Andrew, 3D sucks. 99% of the time, it’s just a distraction and actively works against me liking the movie. There are exceptions, but that’s pretty much the rule.

    I can turn the volume up pretty loud at home, too.

    And my god, I want that man cave.

    • Yeah, that’s a pretty sweet set up. Not mine of course… someone’s pride and joy or a showroom floor or something. LOL. Thank you Google Images!

      Meanwhile, I have a feeling I’d hate to run a Great Debates: 2D vs 3D. THAT would be a slaughter!

  3. Tough one.

    The first thing I’ll say– watching at home isn’t actually cheap if you think about it. Yes, home theater systems are more affordable now than they’ve ever been, but that’s still a huge short-term cost unless you’re just watching on the super-inexpensive flat screens that are available on the market. But if you want more than that? A good speaker system, a bigger television, the equipment to hook them all up together, the actual DVD player, and the movies themselves add up.

    Once you make the investment, of course, you’re good, and over time you’ll be saving money because let’s face it– movie tickets are fucking expensive. (Not to mention the cost of traveling to and from the theater, which varies but can add up too.) In the end, I don’t know if cost is the easiest “pro” to argue for home viewing; ignoring equipment, you also have to have space for it (and for your couches, etc etc). You get my point.

    The real benefits to home viewing lie in control. You control when the show starts, whether there’s a break, who’s in the room with you, what you’re watching, how loud you’re watching it, what you’re watching it on, whether there are refreshments, what the refreshments are, and so on. The availability of new releases becomes a constraint for home viewing, but there’s so much to watch out there apart from what’s new that that hardly feels like a problem for anyone who doesn’t write for a film blog (for whom new releases are vital). But the big pro is that at home, you’re in charge.

    But you’ll never get the same experience at home as you will in the theater.

    No matter how good home theater stuff gets, you can’t beat watching a movie on a big screen in a cinema. It’s just not possible, at least not that I’ve seen; movies projected in a theater just look amazing. Besides, watching a movie with a crowd can be a lot of fun, provided that crowd isn’t chock full of assholes Tweeting to their heart’s content or loudly noshing on the pizza they bought in the lobby because apparently they never learned the difference between a fucking restaurant and a movie theater. People like are small potatoes, though, and I think any hardened theater goer should be able to ignore them easily. It’s the spazzes that I worry about. And even they’re worth braving just to see a film play out in the best environment possible.

    My vote goes to theater. I like watching movies at home, but that just can’t beat theater viewing for me.

    • Good point on the cost, but I didnt want to over-complicate it. With my accountant training, I was aware you’d have to depreciate your home theatre investment over time, of course, but by the time you factor in all the other things you use it for… regular tv shows, sports, video games, the cost per movie winds up negligible. At least for me. I have an expensive set up, but I’ve logged endless endless hours on it, so the cost per hour has to be maybe… maybe a buck + change/hour (and yes, I did some crude calculations to try to arrive at that LOL :D)

      Meanwhile, yeah, cant beat seeing it on tha big screen, and if the audience is great that can be very cool… my thing, personally, is if I happen to get unlucky and get a rude crowd… got it irritates me. Man… I get unhinged. Grrr.

  4. Tough one because both have great pros. I guess going to the theater is a bit ahead because it’s more of an event, going out with friends and maybe stopping by the gas station to stuff our pockets with snacks ahah

    But I like watching at home because of the convenience obviously. Nothing like making yourself some comfort food and rolling yourself in a warm comforter and then watching a good flick!

  5. I think not many would say they’d prefer to watch at home if money were no object. It’s a major undertaking now for a family of four to go see a movie…but nonetheless, there is nothing like watching on the big screen.

    Now if I had the setup in your example for viewing at home…I would never leave the house!! LOL!!

  6. Finding it hard to figure out which one to vote for. I adore going to the cinema. Yes it’s over priced and invariably I either get the noisy eater, constant texter or over amorous couple sitting next to me. But there’s such a wonderful feeling about sitting in a packed cinema experiencing a fantastic film. Just that moment when the film starts and everyone hushes up. Or they’re meant to!

    Though, there’s nothing like watching a film at home. You don’t have to dress up. You’ve got all the space in the world and no one invades your personal space. What’s better than that?

    I’ve voted cinema. It’s not an experience you can get at home. Well unless you live in a cinema (OMG That is my DREAM!).

    • I would NOT want to live in in theatre. Ick. The floors are filthy and its dark… and where would you sleep? LOL

      Meanwhile though, you bring up being bothered by other people and I’ll tell you, that bugs the CRAP out of me. GRRRR. So thats definitely an advantage to home.

      Glad to see you were finally able to decide and I didnt cause you to have a brain hemorrage or anything. 😀

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  8. I prefer to watch movies in the theatre, it’s a no-brainer! However, I watch the majority of movies at home because I am not independently wealthy 😀 I love all the benefits of home viewing, especially because I have a short attention span. Movies, however, were made for theatre…it’s the whole experience of it & no matter how convenient home viewing can be, nothing cannot replicate going to the theatre. I’ll be interested to see how the poll turns out!

  9. There was a time when I’d go to the cinema religiously at least once a week, I’ve been known to go twice in the same day and done all nighters in my teens and 20’s.
    Now with the combination of fatherhood eating up my spare time like a ravenous T-rex, and having to endure teenagers talking, on mobiles etc… oh, and tickets being the price of a blur-ray! It’s just not value for money anymore, for example, I just picked up, The Fountain, Apocalypto and Miller’s crossing for £17 on blu ray the other day on Amazon, if I’d gone to see a movie at the cinema, ticket plus food/travel would have been approaching that, and I get to watch the blu rays over and over again!
    Also, I’m getting increasingly more infuriated with the lack of respect teenagers afford fellow cinema goers, either I’m turning into a grumpy, tired, middleaged father and losing touch with “the kids” ( doubtful, as I not only listen to dubstep, I make it as well!) or the kids are getting worse in cinema’s! for me, it’s just not worth the hassle, unless we all go together to take my son for a kids movie.
    I don’t have my own home cinema set up as yet ( I will when we move overseas, I’ll have my own studio/home cinema, as well as a design studio in the garden!) just the biggish TV in the living room with a decent 2.1 but I seriously will be getting the biggest TV I can, comfy chairs, bar/fridge the works, film posters on the walls, and have people over for movie nights!
    I will however be going to see Prometheus at least once in the cinema when it comes out, I think a film like this needs to be seen in the cinema on IMAX

    • LOL. Yeah it does. Prometheusssssss!!! 😀

      You’re not getting old, we’re losing the war. I can understand the occasional outburst or misbehaviour, because frankly, I did a lot of that myself. But between cell phones and talking, we’ve lost the battle for civility in the theatre. Common courtesy is dead.

      I still occasionally fight the fight. I’ll tell someone to shut their phone off or shut the hell up. But it’s a losing cause. Its sad, but it is.

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  11. It is a tough question to answer, but I guess I would probably say home. Let’s imagine every movie would be out at the same time as in the theatres. I would immediately see it there.
    Recently the Comic-Con documentary by Spurlock had that (and although it doesn’t play over here) I thought it was great to be able to watch it instantly through iTunes. If more movies would do that I’d sign up for it.

    • I think that’s the thing the theatres are going to try to cling to the most, though… being the “First wave”. Because Home is obviously more convienent, and the Home theatre experience is catching up. I remember one time a few years back pre-digital theatres where I was regretting seeing the movie in the theatre because it looked so much better at home (my theatre has upgraded since). So now the big thing is “I dont want to wait, I want to go now”. Theatres are going to fight to protect that. They have to….

      Cause I’m with you. If it were availble the same day? Id even pay a reasonable upcharge. LOL

      • So, we agree the way to move forward is to have movies come out the same day on VOD and theatres. So we only now have to convince the big studios 😉

        This morning I had a mail from Indie Game: The movie, which will also be available online immediately, so I’m already looking forward to seeing it through iTunes.

  12. Have to choose the movie theater because of the smell of popcorn, the excitement in the air generated by the audience, and the magnitude of the big screen in a darkened theater.

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