Summer’s Almost Here & the Writer’s Strike Continues

Image: Ringo Chiu /

Summer 2023 is just around the corner and Hollywood writers have been on strike since May 2. If the strike ends soon, it may not have a significant impact but there are concerns that a prolonged strike could be catastrophic for movie theaters that depend on a constant flow of blockbuster releases to remain profitable.

The participation of more than 11,000 film and television writers marks the first strike of its kind during the streaming era. While it will be felt in today’s entertainment landscape — some TV shows already ended their seasons early — there are almost countless alternatives to movies and scripted TV shows, including gaming, live sports, reality TV, social media (you’ve heard of TikTok, yes?), and YouTube videos.

The absence of a TV show or delay of a movie is no longer as disruptive as it once was.

Something else that’s different, production value. Movies have had it at a very high level for many decades, TV for not nearly as long. But now, streaming shows look as good as movies and even live sports can look cinematic with high dynamic range (HDR) imagery playing a key role. The same is true for video games, today’s photorealistic 4K HDR Dolby Vision graphics with Dolby Atmos sound are a huge leap forward from where games were during the last writer’s strike.

The point? High production value of video games and live sports — combined with the capabilities of modern TVs and soundbars — create immersive audiovisual experiences in the living room that were once exclusive to movie theaters and home theaters, and for audiences beyond just movie lovers.

For example, I have come to realize that there is a genuine directorial intent behind sports production. Executed well, it creates a sense of immersion and emotional engagement that enhances the at-home spectator experience. A fuzzy picture on a 19-inch CRT with transistor-radio sound this is not! Watching sports in 4K HDR (with surround-sound) is a legit reason to upgrade an HDTV to a 4K HDR model plus soundbar.

In 2023, NextGen TV (also known as ATSC 3.0) will roll out in some of the largest media markets and cities in the US. This broadcast TV technology can be picked up with an antenna and has the potential to significantly improve the quality of sports broadcasts with 4K, HDR, and surround sound. The difference in quality compared to current HD broadcasts is similar to the leap from DVD to Blu-ray.

The rise of sports as a high-fidelity viewing experience is reflected in partnerships between TV manufacturers and sports leagues. For example, TCL has partnered with the NFL and Hisense with the NBA. Apple offers 4K HDR Friday Night Baseball, setting a high standard for MLB broadcasts. As 4K becomes the norm in large cities with significant sports team followings, we can expect to see more sports delivered in higher resolution and HDR. It's the dawn of a new era where sports presented in 4K and surround sound can be almost cinematic in their presentation.

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High production value of video games and live sports, along with the capabilities of contemporary TVs and soundbars, produce immersive audiovisual experiences in the living room for audiences other than cinema buffs.

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