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Unbeatable Projectors Ensure The Rio Theatre Shows the Best of the Best

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Unbeatable Projectors Ensure The Rio Theatre Shows the Best of the Best
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The Background:

Originally built in the 1940s, The Rio Theatre is the only movie theater in the rural town of Sweet Home, Oregon – population 9,000. As a destination town north of Eugene, outdoor activities are dominant throughout all the seasons and indoor venues rarely sell-out. That was until Thomas Baham and his wife established The Rio Theatre.

In 2015, Thomas Baham purchased and renovated The Rio Theatre, located on Main Street. Today, The Rio has two auditoriums, which can seat a total of 225 people between them. The Rio shows at least one film a day and often rents out the smaller auditorium for VIP and dinner theater events. The Rio’s key attractions include comfy, recliner seating and food service customers can order directly from their seats, all at competitive pricing compared to big-name theater chains in larger cities nearby.

Upgrading to Stay Current

To maintain quality customer experience and satisfaction, The Rio Theatre strives to remodel one area each year. In 2019, they added an additional, smaller auditorium and selected the NEC NC1000C for the screen projector. When selecting a projector, price was the biggest factor that led Baham to purchase the NEC NC1000C. Not only was the list price right, but the NEC NC1000C runs with much less heat and energy than other models due to automatic lamp brightness control. Baham also says the projector quality exceeded expectations upon installation – “It looks like a 4K projector despite being 2K,” he said. And with lightbulbs 90% cheaper than the previous projector, Baham reports the NEC NC1000C only needs to use 23% of its brightness capacity, meaning it will last longer and remain brighter than other solutions.

In 2022, they upgraded the main/bigger auditorium from an outmoded projector to an NEC NC2041L 4K Laser. Baham’s decision to upgrade the projector rested largely on the incomparable quality of the product. “My first reaction was, wow! It’s absolutely gorgeous!” The NEC NC2041L 4K Laser also has 3D capabilities, which Baham plans to explore in the
future.

Beyond being easy to operate, extremely user-friendly and requiring minimal maintenance, the NEC projectors make the owner’s life much easier in other ways as well. Baham is able to pre-set the commercials, movies and credits to run on the projectors all from his phone.

Quality Raises the Bar, Not Prices

From the installation of the first NEC projector in 2019 to 2023, the number of customers coming into The Rio Theatre has doubled. The owner says, “Despite our town being a destination for outdoor activities, we are finding people are not disappearing – we are gaining customers. A lot of people come from out of town to watch our films.”

Baham also remains insistent that prices will not increase – current ticket prices range from $5 for matinees to $12 for the dual-recliner seating. Great prices, online seat selections, and unbeatable viewing quality means that The Rio is often sold-out.

What’s next for Thomas Baham and The Rio Theatre? Upcoming plans for 2023 and beyond include projecting from wall-to-wall in his theaters, which he says will be easily achievable using his NEC projectors. Also, in the planning stages, upgrading the current sound system from Dolby 7.1 Audio to Dolby’s newest technology, “Atmos”, sound system in the bigger
auditorium.