Technology at movie theaters

17 Apr

Over the weekend, we went to the recently opened Cine Planet movie theaters at Kompally village, Hyderabad. As you might know, one of the issues with movie theaters in India is the black market for movie tickets. People procure tickets for movies and sell them at a higher cost once the box office is sold out. This theater has an interesting solution for that.

The box office takes a photo of the purchaser of the ticket using a small webcam. The quality of the picture is not great (may be 1024 x 768 level) but serves the purpose. For each purchase, they issue one single bar coded ticket/receipt, irrespective of the number of patrons. Once you reach the screen, there is a small kiosk there with a bar code scanner and a monitor. The monitor shows which of the seats are already occupied (I love this) based on the tickets scanned so far. Once the ticket is scanned, the monitor also shows the face of the individual who purchased the tickets.

Good work!

I see only a minor glitch with this. Most of us are used to go to movies as a group and different parts of the group arrive to the screen at different times. In the classic ticket selling scheme, where one ticket is issued per person, one of us used to wait for others who are yet to arrive and rest of us proceed to the screens. We don’t have that luxury with this scheme.

With this new approach, bodies like law enforcement agencies can get some clues on on the patrons, just in case there is a need to investigate. That is a plus point. Not sure how long the picture data is mined.

Outside the technology part, the place is very calm and enjoyable. Ample parking, very good food court and reasonable prices. Ticket costs are Rs 60 (less than 1.5 USD) and a visit to food court costed 7 of us (3 adults and 4 children) less than Rs 550 (about 13 USD) for lunch.

Only two screens are open as of now and looking forward to see the other two fully operational.