Virtual Cinema FAQ

With Cincinnati World Cinema and the Garfield Theatre closed temporarily due to Covid-19, we are curating virtual screenings of films we think you will appreciate.  For us, this is a new way to exhibit films, and your financial support via film rentals helps us survive in these difficult times.  We hope the info below will help you navigate and enjoy the experience.

How virtual cinema works

The films we offer online are available through the distributor’s website. You can find a list of available films on our Virtual Cinema page, with each film also having its own page on the CWC site containing run time, description, synopsis, reviews, price, trailer and ticket links etc.  If you want to watch the trailer or rent the film, you can click through on the links provided.

By way of definition, “ticket price” and “film rental fee” are synonymous. A portion of your film rental fee will support Cincinnati World Cinema, just as it does when you buy a regular ticket at our online or theatre box offices. After covering the cost of the streaming platform, CWC and the distributor typically share the remaining proceeds equally.

Ticket price, length of rental, and viewing methods may differ for each title with details stated on the distributor film page.  The rental fee is per-household, so additional people watching with you reduces the cost-per-person.

Internet connection requirements

Most streaming platforms require minimum stable download speeds of 500 kbps or faster in order to view lowest quality, standard def 240p. Since bandwidth tends to fluctuate it is recommended to use a dedicated Internet connection of 5 Mbps or faster to stream and download high quality videos (720p, 1080p). For optimal performance, a hardwired connection via Ethernet is best, but if you prefer to use WiFi, be sure that your router is configured correctly and that your network is not being shared with other devices (this can limit the starting speeds you pay your ISP for).

Not sure what speed you are getting? Visit https://testmy.net/download (on mobile or desktop) for an estimate. Run the test multiple times as bandwidth fluctuates.

How to watch the film you rented

All films are available to watch via your browser and your TV (if equipped with and HDMI port), and some may also be available on apps for streaming devices. Once you’ve completed the purchase, your web browser order page, or delivery page, should display instructions on how to watch the film, including links to information on any apps available for streaming devices. Additionally, you should receive an email receipt that also contains viewing instructions.

BEFORE you purchase a film, identify streaming methods and devices on the distributor webpage

How to directly connect your computer to your TV

When you stream an online film to your computer, you can mirror the computer display to your TV with a single inexpensive HDMI cable.  HDMI – High Definition Media Interface – is an established hardware protocol that transports digital video and audio signals, installed in over 8 billion devices. This is a common and easy method for connecting digital TVs to a Blu-ray player, DVR, home theatre A-V receiver, computer, etc.

How to connect your computer and TV with an HDMI cable:

Check the distance between computer and TV – recommended max cable length is 25 feet and you may need to acquire a separate cable for this depending on the distance and layout.

Connect one end of the HDMI cable into an available HDMI port on the TV, noting the name of the HDMI port.

Plug the other end of the cable into your computer’s HDMI out port.
Note, if your desktop or laptop computer does not have an open HDMI port, you can use a Display Port (DP) or USB Type C connection if available. Both options transfer video and audio at equal or better speed and quality, and both will require an inexpensive adaptor unless your TV has one of these port types.

Set the TV to the HDMI Input port that the computer is connected to using the input source or display button on your TV remote.

If your computer display does not automatically appear on your TV screen, you’ll want to manually detect the display on your computer.

With Windows: Right-click on the desktop > Display Settings > Click Detect > Click the “Multiple displays” drop-down box and select “Duplicate these displays”) > Click Apply.

With Mac: Go to the Apple Menu > choose System Preferences > Choose the “Displays” panel > Hold down the “Option” key to show the “Detect Displays” button – note that it replaces the ‘Gather Windows’ button > Click on “Detect Displays” while holding down Option to use the function as intended.

About the HDMI protocol:

HDMI 2.0 is designed to handle more bandwidth than HDMI 1.4. Both can deliver 4K video, but HDMI 2.0 can transfer up to 18Gbps whereas HDMI 1.4 can only transfer up to 10.2Gbps. Reference site: Digital Trends.

While there is limited 4K content available now, the industry is preparing for 8K in the future – following the perpetual upgrade path common in the electronics and computer industry. HDMI 2.1 is the new standard for 8K,  the benefits of which will not be mainstream for many years.

What differentiates one HDMI cable from another isn’t the HDMI version. The version numbers above describe the capabilities of your hardware — TV, soundbar, A-V receiver, etc. — not your HDMI cables.

If you need an HDMI cable:

There are two flavors of cable you’ll want to consider, High Speed and Premium High Speed.  Standard cable is essentially obsolete and Ultra  High Speed is overkill. If you bought your TV or any other piece of A-V equipment in the last two or three years, Premium High Speed is the way to go, and price-wise there is little difference. Either of these two types should run $15 – $30 for certified cables, depending on length.  There is no reason to spend $35 – $100 on “high-end” cables with no functional difference.
Reference site: https://www.hdmi.org/resource/index. 

We also recommend purchasing officially certified HDMI cables – two sources:  monoprice.com  and  crutchfield.com.

Try to keep new cable length as short as practical, but better too much than not enough in case you change your layout. Keep cables 25 feet or less – to avoid signal degradation.

High Speed HDMI 
This is the A-V world’s workhorse. The High Speed HDMI Cable is designed and tested to handle video resolutions of 1080p and beyond, including advanced display technologies such as 4K@30Hz, 3D, and Deep Color. If you are using any of these technologies, or if you are connecting your 1080p HD display to a 1080p HD content source, such as a Blu-ray Disc player, this is the recommended cable.

Premium High Speed HDMI
As long as you’re sticking to the world of 4K, and you don’t anticipate needing to use bleeding-edge features like 8K, a Premium High Speed HDMI cable is going to last you for a very long time. It’s guaranteed to offer 18 Gbps, which is what HDMI 2.0b devices need to perform at their best. This cable can support 4K up to 60Hz, all flavors of HDR including Dolby Vision and HDR10+, and audio relay channel (ARC) so that you can simplify your cabling to your TV with just a single connection. This is a good idea if you will be adding any new components to your system.

How to directly connect your smart phone or tablet to your TV

Some smart phones and tablets can connect to TVs via a USB Type C connection. The process is generally the same as connecting a computer to TV, using a USB-to-HDMI adaptor. Because there are numerous phone/tablet manufacturers and a variety of operating systems for these devices, we will not offer one-size-fits-all advice. There are however, a couple solutions that have been around for several years and are considered reliable:

One option is Miracast a wireless WiFi protocol supported in Windows and on Android devices.

Another option is ScreenBeam, with a range of approx. 100 feet, which does not require an existing WiFi network – ScreenBeam Product Info. Before purchasing, take a look at the ScreenBeam User Manual and the ScreenBeam_Pros-Cons.com.

Other options might be found by searching the web for “smart phone to TV connection.”  Be prepared to pay $50-$250 for the cable-free convenience.

Watch with Firestick, Chromecast, Roku, AppleTV, etc.

Some films are available on apps for your streaming device such as  Firestick,  Chromecast,  Roku, and  Apple TV, Instructions for using available apps should be provided on the distributor page or email once you’ve paid for the film.

Some app and streaming service combinations have problems with subtitles. If you choose not to use the above apps, there are ways to mirror your computer, tablet or maybe your phone to your TV via hardware and wireless solutions deescribed in other FAQ sections.

The Vimeo-on-demand streaming platform offers info on how to view with different devices: Supported TV app platforms.

How to get more help

Tech support services are handled by the distributor and/or their streaming platforms, not CWC. All refunds are handled by the distributor, not CWC. We have no control over how distributors and streaming platforms handle the order, product delivery, payment and refund process.

Remember, this streaming collaboration is new for exhibitors and distributors alike so please be patient if you experience a few snags.  If you have trouble reaching the distributor or streaming service, contact us at Admin@cincyworldcinema.org and we will try to help.

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