Tired of watching movies on your phone while in the car? Well, BMW may have the solution as it's revealed its 'Theatre Screen' at CES 2022, which brings a huge, flip-down, widescreen display to its cars.
The BMW Theatre Screen is a massive 31-inch, ultra-wide display affixed to the roof of a car. Designed solely for the enjoyment of the rear-seat passengers, and spanning the entire width of the cabin, it folds down when required and flips back up when done. It's the biggest screen ever for those in the back of a car.
It boasts an 8K (8000 x 2000) resolution and can display content in a variety of aspect ratios including 16:9, 21:9 and 32:9 - the last one designed to give you a cinema-like experience.
Amazon Fire TV is built-in, giving viewers access to a wide range of streaming services. And with 128GB of local storage, you can pre-download movies and TV shows to watch when you're on the move. The Fire TV integration works in the same way as a Fire TV stick would in your home.
However, the Theatre Screen can also benefit from the vehicle's 5G connectivity, which means in areas of strong signal you'll be able to stream content live (and get updates for the Fire TV integration) while in motion.
Your 'private cinema lounge'
The screen is touch-enabled, but there are also touch controls on each of the rear doors, giving passengers a choice of how they want to interact with the display.
There's support for dual wired or wireless headphones too, allowing the rear-seat passengers to enjoy what’s on-screen, without disturbing the driver.
If you're parked up and don't fancy wearing headphones, the package also comes with a 4D Diamond surround sound system from Bowers & Wilkins
It's not just the display giving you that cinematic experience, however, as BMW's 'My Mode Theatre' setting will adjust the lighting and window blinds to give you a 'private cinema lounge'.
Is it safe?
Unsurprisingly, a screen that spans the width of the car and folds down from the roof will block the driver's view out the rear window.
While BMW could implement a digital rear view mirror, it's not something it's considering at this point. As far as BMW is concerned, the Theatre Screen won't be used at all times, and when it is in use the visibility out the back is no different to towing a trailer or caravan.
In a press briefing that TechRadar attended, a BMW spokesperson noted that the driver can still make use of the side mirrors and blind-spot indicators. Plus there will be a rear camera for reversing.
What's more, the driver can also control the Theatre Screen and will be able to fold it back up to the roof if required.
The Theatre Screen implementation BMW is showing off at CES 2022 is only a prototype, which means it's not available yet for consumers - but we're told it's very close to a production version.
We shouldn't have to wait too long before we start seeing Theatre Screen as an option on some BMW models.
- Check out all of TechRadar's CES 2022 coverage. We're bringing you all the breaking tech news and launches, everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops and smart home gadgets.