You make some good points Ryan. However a home theater system will never be as good as a movie theater for the following reasons:Kevin writes,
720P on a projector using a DVD does not rival a film print shown on a massive screen. The sound will could probably come closer but I'd say most theaters worth their salt blow away a home system. Also there is the 3-6 month wait for DVDs to come out.
I agree about the commercials, prices, and loud movie goers. And I'm sure everyone would love to come over to your house (which requires MORE driving for some) and watch some DVDs but the theater is a completely different experience.
i had a friend who also thought that going to the movies was always a waste of money... i suggest going to the theater selectively. dont buy food unless you want. some people like going to baseball games, no one argues that this is stupid, even though it is undoubtedly cheaper to sit at home and watch every game at home with your own fmv hotdogs, people still flock to the stadiums. I still go see bands live even though i can watch them play cheaper on youtube.They brought up some great points that I wanted to share with everyone. Firstly, the quality of picture and sound in a theater versus that of the home theater. This, and really the subject of most arguments, boils down to preference. I completely agree that the quality of the presentation surpasses that of the typical home theater. Personally, I don't need it. The image quality of 720P and my 5.1 surround sound is all I need. I simply don't notice much difference other than screen size and volume. There exists a spectrum of taste- some people have no problem putting down a few extra bucks for a top notch presentation, others are fine watching movies on their 32" CRT television.
I feel that there is an aura associated with the movie theater experience, and while i have already seen a pierrot le feu for free i will still pay 10 bucks to see it at the theater. watching movies on my shitty TV just is not the same (not to metioned the sacrifice in aspect ratios, i was amazed when i saw star wars at the theater for the first time. i felt like everything was new). Movies are made for display in theaters as well. I also use netflix and will one day have my own projector, but even then i will go out to the movies...that being said; i love watching movies at home too.
The second point was the turnaround time for movies to release on shelves in DVD format. My only rebuttal there is once you actually wait the three-to-six months and start seeing movies you missed in theaters on DVD, you're done! Shifting your perception of movie releases by three months is very easy to accomodate in the off season, typically winter.
This brings me to another point that wasn't clear in my first post. I don't advocate the total boycott of theaters. I still see the occasional movie in theaters... but it's usually 3-4 a year. When I do go, I make sure it's a matinée screening and that I smuggle in candy from a gas station! Kevin's e-mail made me realize that I had been too harsh in my first post. Theaters do have a certain experience associated with them and no perfect recreation of sight and sound in the home theater will recreate that aura.