The D-Box system consists of two pieces: a part that attaches to your seating and the IV/BD Motion Controller. D-Box technology can be pre-built into a variety of high-end theater seating, but I received the SRP-230 Universal Motion Platform, which works with existing seating.
Fastening the SRP-230 to my couch’s frame took about two hours, which involved assembling the U-shaped platform, sandwiching my couch into it, and then screwing the platform into the couch’s frame. There are two actuators per side (front and back) to cover the four corners. Cat-5 cabling links the modules, and both sides require AC power.
The component-size IV/BD Motion Controller connects to your Blu-ray or DVD player’s optical or coaxial digital audio output. (When a subwoofer/ LFE input from a receiver or processor is used, the system can work as an audio-only “bass shaker” for music or for noncoded movies.) It automatically identifies the film from its internal library of titles and sends the appropriate synchronized motion code information to the platform via a Cat-5 cable. (A network connection allows the IV/BD to update its library as D-Box adds films.) A single IV/BD drives up to four seats, but optional D-Box interfaces allow more to be connected. The intensity of the motion feedback the system supplies can also be adjusted.
D-Box tech works in a manner similar to the surround channels in a home theater audio system: They aren’t active for the entire movie, but when they do kick in — usually during exciting moments — you notice it. The coding is customized to each scene and is designed to draw you into the moment.
The motion coding adds different levels of excitement to the films you watch. Obviously, big action movies have a more aggressive, over-the-top implementation. For example, in the depth-charge scene from U-571, you feel the gentle rocking of the sub and then the seismic impact and jostle of depth charge explosions that throw the crew around. And you can clearly feel the difference between explosions that are distant, close, and dangerously close. In the jet shoot-down scene from Behind Enemy Lines, you feel the intensity of the jet turning and dodging missiles under high Gs, the thump-thump-thump of flares being emitted, and then the final, devastating missile impact.
Other scenes are heightened by textural feeling, such as Indy being dragged behind the Nazi truck in Raiders of the Lost Ark or James Bond’s Aston Martin skidding and sliding around corners during the opening car chase in Quantum of Solace. Sometimes the most engrossing motion effect, the kind that really pulls you into the scene, is more subtle. During Jake’s first flight in Avatar, you gently sway and soar. Also, there was the slight jostle and sway of the train ride in The Hunger Games.
The D-Box system offers a unique way to experience and enjoy movies. Once you’ve watched with it, you’ll be disappointed when a film isn’t D-Box-coded. And since the system’s silent tactile feedback lets you experience explosions, crashes, and other onscreen action without having to crank up the volume, it’s also a terrific solution for late-night viewing when you don’t want to disturb others.
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