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ScreenX vs. 4DX: The Difference, and Which Is Better

ScreenX vs. 4DX comparison

ScreenX vs. 4DX: The Difference, and Which Is Better

Key Points

  • ScreenX and 4DX are two different technologies used in cinemas that offer unique viewing experiences.
  • 4DX focuses on providing immersive physical effects such as seat movements, scents, and smoke, while ScreenX emphasizes visual immersion.
  • ScreenX expands the field of vision with additional projections to the left and right, giving a 270-degree view, while 4DX screens are standard.
  • 4DX seats are known to be comfortable and spacious, while ScreenX seats are typical theater seats.
  • Both ScreenX and 4DX tickets are priced higher than standard cinema tickets, around two to three times the normal price.

Cinemas these days make use of some nifty technologies that we could only ever dream of. But as the price of everything goes up, it’s natural to be a more discerning theatergoer than before. This is especially true when you’re not sure what to make of all these fancy-sounding names. We’re here to dissect exactly what these mean! Check out our full comparison of ScreenX vs. 4DX, so you can understand the differences and decide which one to go for.

ScreenX vs. 4DX: Side-By-Side Comparison

CategoryScreenX4DX
Field of view270º180º
EmphasisVisual experienceMotion effects, replicating movie events
Physical effects?NoYes
Suited forHorror and fantasy moviesAction movies
Release date20122009
DevelopersCJ 4DPLEXCJ 4DPLEX
AvailabilityMore scarceMore available

ScreenX vs. 4DX: What’s the Difference?

The table above gives a quick comparison between ScreenX and 4DX, but let’s dive in a little deeper.

Special Effects

The most distinguishing feature between ScreenX and 4DX is the extra effects. After all, this is what most cinemagoers come for. Fortunately, the special effects you get with 4DX are noticeable throughout the film. The focus of 4DX is on involving you in the action on-screen as much as possible.

Theaters have specialized seats formatted for this purpose, with a lot of technology going on under the hood (and around the sides.) Taking viewing one step further than holographic 3D images, the seats are synchronized with each film to provide immersive movements. They can roll, kick back, twist, and shake from side to side, encapsulating the on-screen action. Whether you’re watching a high-speed car chase or a hero speeding past on horseback, your seat will emulate each sharp twist and turn. In addition to this, 4DX includes sensory effects such as fog, smoke, and even rain and scents. The alluring smell of a stranger’s perfume or the splash of raindrops can really give you a sense that the action is taking place all around you.

ScreenX, on the other hand, doesn’t have these same kinds of effects. ScreenX focuses on the visual rather than the tactile. The seats are the same as standard cinema seats, with the emphasis being on visual immersion. While ScreenX can certainly deliver an engaging and memorable cinematic experience, if you’re looking for extra effects, you won’t find them here.

Screen Size

This is a factor where ScreenX differs greatly from 4DX. Where 4DX is heavy on effects, ScreenX, as the name might suggest, offers a premium viewing experience. Although cinema screens can be pleasantly large, you usually have a 180-degree view. ScreenX switches this up by expanding your field of vision with additional projections to your left and right. These will be utilized during pivotal moments to provide the peripherals you’d expect if you were in the scene yourself. While they won’t be active for the full duration of the movie, they can be present for an appreciably long time, particularly in movies with a lot of action or atmosphere. For example, Top Gun: Maverick boasts a whole 56 minutes of ScreenX peripheral pleasantries, which definitely feels like value for money.

For all the features that 4DX delivers, the screen itself is a standard theater screen. It’s great that the physical effects are synchronized with the on-screen visuals, but in terms of your field of view, it’s the same as what you’d normally expect.

Cinema blank screen and people in red chairs in the cinema hall. Blurred People silhouettes watching movie performance.
4DX adds extra sensory effects, while ScreenX focuses on the visual.

Seating

You may expect that, due to the added tech, the 4DX seats might be bulky and uncomfortable. Luckily, you would’ve guessed wrong. They’ve pulled out all the stops here, as the 4DX seats are known to be both comfy and spacious, more so than a typical seat. They even include footrests! We can’t say that you’ll be as cozy as can be during a fast-paced action sequence, however, as the continuous movements can get pretty jerky and even nauseating for particularly sensitive viewers. This isn’t a hugely common complaint, but it is something to keep in mind.

With ScreenX being all about the visual experience, the seats are as typical as the 4DX screen. The plus side of that, of course, is that you don’t have to worry about being squeamish during any unexpected seat motions. Although the seats themselves are fairly unremarkable, it does pay dividends to think about placement, if you’re lucky enough to have a choice. As with most cinema experiences, being in the middle of the theater is preferable. But this advantage is even more pronounced during a ScreenX viewing. If you’re too close to one peripheral projector and too far from the other, this can make viewing a little awkward and uncomfortable. Likewise, you’ll want to not lean too far back on your seat or stare directly at the peripheral screens. This isn’t what they’re intended for.

Availability

These days, you have pretty good options when it comes to both cinema formats. As the technology has become more widespread, it’s fairly easy to find either in a theater near you. But ScreenX only works with movies that have been formatted with a specific method. Therefore, it tends to be less common than 4DX.

Price

This is another area where things aren’t as clear-cut. Sometimes, 4DX tickets will have a higher price than ScreenX, which you may expect to be the case. Adding all those extra effects doesn’t come for free. However, in reality, a lot of the time, the ticket costs are pretty neck and neck. In either case, you’ll be paying more than a standard ticket, to the tune of around double or triple the normal price.

ScreenX vs. 4DX: 9 Must-Know Facts

  1. ScreenX doesn’t offer any physical effects
  2. 4DX delivers extra tactile effects, such as seat movements, scents, smoke, and wind
  3. ScreenX doesn’t use the extra peripheral screens for the whole movie, only during certain scenes
  4. ScreenX gives you a 270-degree field of view, whereas 4DX screens are standard
  5. Sitting in a seat near the middle will give you the most immersive viewing during a ScreenX movie
  6. 4DX has more comfortable and spacious seats, whereas ScreenX has typical theater seats
  7. ScreenX tends to be better for fantasy and horror movies, while 4DX is more engaging for action-packed movies
  8. Both ScreenX and 4DX tickets will cost around two to three times the price of a standard cinema ticket
  9. Korean company CJ 4DPLEX developed both technologies
projector screens
By using peripheral projectors, ScreenX expands your view on each side of the theater.

ScreenX vs. 4DX: Which One Is Better? Which Should You Choose?

Whether you choose ScreenX or 4DX for your next movie night comes down to what experience you’re looking for. If you want to feel like you’re physically immersed in the movie and you’re not squeamish or sensitive to motion, then 4DX may be the right choice for you. However, if you’re more interested in visuals and don’t want your seat rocking about all over the place, ScreenX will deliver a more enjoyable viewing experience. When watching a movie in the action genre, 4DX will tend to take better advantage of this than ScreenX. But if you want to dive into a mystical or terrifying world, ScreenX gives you a more well-rounded view. It’s worth noting that it’s possible to find some viewings that use both technologies simultaneously. Be sure to double-check the listing to see if this is the case.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ScreenX?

ScreenX gives you the ultimate visuals when watching a movie by using two extra peripheral projectors. These aren’t intended to be looked at directly, but seen in your peripheral vision to make you feel like you’re within the scene, mimicking your natural field of vision.

What is 4DX?

4DX aims to immerse you in the physicality of the movie by using extra effects. The name refers to moving beyond both the two dimensions of a standard screen and the holographic three dimensions of a film shown in 3D. This is mostly done with special seats that are synchronized in time with events happening on-screen.

What special effects does 4DX use?

4DX uses physical effects centered in your theater seat. These include seat motions such as swinging, rocking, twisting, and shaking, and tactile effects like scents, smoke, wind, and even splashes of rain.

 

What's different about ScreenX?

ScreenX offers an expanded field of view up to a huge 270 degrees. This gives you more visual information in your peripheral vision to make the movie more immersive. The effects aren’t active for the entire film, however, but only for specific scenes that have been formatted this way.

Which one is better, ScreenX or 4DX?

This depends on your preferences. If you want a calmer cinema experience and don’t want to be jostled about, you may prefer ScreenX. But if you’re watching an action movie and want an exhilarating ride, 4DX might be your best bet. The ticket type you go for also depends on the movie genre.

Why do ScreenX and 4DX cost more?

Special effects cost more to implement, whether they’re tactile or extra screen projectors. In addition, ScreenX films require additional formatting to be shown effectively. These add-ons are reflected in the price.

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