Regular Sound+Image readers will know the D-Box cinematic motion system from its appearance in home cinemas appearing in our 'cinema design' series of articles. Chairs equipped with D-BOX can move in time with the movie action on-screen, aiming to deliver a more immersive experience.

Now Hoyts has announced the first D-BOX-equipped commercial cinemas in Australia, at Hoyts Wetherill Park in NSW, and Hoyts Highpoint plus Hoyts Northland in Victoria. A fourth screen in the Hoyts Entertainment Quarter in Sydney’s Moore Park will open later this year.

“The Hoyts D-BOX motion recliner is an immersive movie experience which allows our guests to synchronise the movement of their seat to the content and audio track on the cinema screen,” says Hoyts of the new experience. “Through subtle movement, smooth rolling and various levels of intensity you can control your own seat to personalise your unique experience.”

A key word there is “subtle”. This is not the theme-park style of ride delivered by 4DX cinemas with their smells and smoke and high intensity seat movements. When Sound+Image was invited to see Venom in a 4DX cinema earlier this year, we found the technology so intrusive that while it was certainly an experience in itself, it significantly detracted from the actual movie.

The Montreal-based D-BOX system, on the other hand, prides itself on subtlety, aiming to add to the suspension of disbelief using motion "subtle enough to be non-distracting, and yet highly immersive".

Indeed we’ve heard it said by users and installers that “D-BOX is so fast and most movements are so small that you can’t see most of what the client is feeling. Good motion should be something that is forgotten. Most clients forget it is on and just enjoy the movie.”

Furthermore, in the Hoyts D-BOX cinemas, patrons have a control panel located on the right arm rest giving the option to change the motion and ‘tone’ of the seat from low, normal and high, and an option to turn the intensity off completely.

When used in the home, D-BOX chairs such as the Jaymar Bourne D-BOX-ready seat pictured below receive signals from a D-BOX Controller unit, which identifies content regardless of the source (DVD, Blu-ray or streaming sources such as Netflix and AppleTV), holding or downloading the motion codes and transmitting them to the chairs. Most movies are D-BOX coded before cinematic release, and after more than a decade of code creation, there are currently codes available for more than 2000 movies.

For more on the Hoyts D-BOX cinemas, go here: https://www.hoyts.com.au/experiences/dbox

The August-September issue of Sound+Image will feature a home cinema using D-BOX seating installed by Wavetrain Cinemas. For more on D-BOX in a home theatre context go here: https://www.wavetrain.com.au/dbox-seats-australia/