D-Box Unofficial FAQ

Attention!  This page is not approved or sponsored by D-Box. 

As regular visitors to my site are aware, I am a very big fan of D-Box.  Accordingly, I'm glad to see D-Box is getting more and more mainstream recognition as their commercial chairs roll-out to cinemas around the world.  I have created this unofficial FAQ to dispel some of the rumors and myths about D-Box, so that when people hear about the tech for the first time, they don't think it's a motion-sickness inducing gimmick.  I think D-Box provides an incredible enhancement to many films, especially to the action, sci-fi, and horror genres, and I hope people just discovering this technology experience it first before automatically discounting it or re-titling the brand with a childish pejorative. 

Table of Contents

 

General Topics

What is D-Box?

D-Box is a technology that allows specially designed seats (or seats on a platform) to move in sync with a film's action through a series of pre-programmed commands.  The seats can roll, pitch, and heave and can rise up approximately 1.5 inches off the ground when programmed to extend to the fullest.  Film sequences involving driving, flying, gunfire, punching, and even artistic camera movement are just a small sample of the movements the D-Box system is capable of simulating.

How long has D-Box been in existence?

According to a Widescreen Review article from 2002 (issue 65, October) D-Box first got into the home theatre business around 1993 with a line of subwoofers.  Around 1997, after a customer requested additional subwoofers for his home theatre (the customer already had three), D-Box employees started examining if they could develop something to add more to the home theatre experience than just additional speakers.  The first prototype for what we now know as D-Box technology was developed in late 1998/early 1999. 

Initially, D-Box was almost solely focused on the home market and for many years they coded hundreds of films without any direct support from the studios.  Shortly after Blu-ray hit the scene in 2006, Fox became the first studio to partner with D-Box to allow day & date motion coding releases of select titles.  In other words, in the past, D-Box had to wait until a film was released before they could begin the motion coding process.  Partnering with Fox allowed them unprecedented access to select films so that D-Box owners could enjoy these releases with motion coding on the day the titles hit stores.   Additionally, Fox allowed D-Box to place a "D-Box Motion Code" label on the back of the selected titles partly as a means to promote the D-Box brand. 

On April 3, 2009, the D-Box brand received its first big break when D-Box partnered with Universal to provide motion coding for the theatrical release of Fast & Furious.  The initial roll-out of theatres with commercial D-Box seats was rather limited.  However, as D-Box partnered with more and more major studios and garnered major releases like Terminator Salvation, 2012, Inception, and Tron: Legacy, the number of D-Box-equipped commercial theatres worldwide expanded to over 80 by summer 2011. 

In 2012, D-Box offered an expanded line-up of A-list titles coded for theatrical exhibition.  These included but were not limited to Act of Valor, The Avengers, The Hunger Games, & Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace 3D*, Prometheus**, The Amazing Spider-man, The Dark Knight Rises, and The Expendables 2, Looper***, Dredd, Wreck-It-Ralph, & The Hobbit.

In 2013, the list included but was not limited to The Last Stand, A Good Day to Die Hard, Oz: The Great and Powerful, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Oblivion, Iron Man 3, and Fast and Furious 6.

In 2014, D-Box announced at CES that they would be introducing a new motion controller, the Home Entertainment Motion Controller or HEMC, that would support "Shazam-style" audio track recognition, thereby allowing their technology to work with different versions of discs, streaming, even TV broadcasts.  They also announced the forthcoming introduction of budget-priced D-Box technology for the home.

In late 2014, D-Box released the HEMC.  For information on this motion controller specifically, please visit this page.

*Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and the Netherlands only.
**Overseas only
*** Canada & select international markets


How and where can I try out this technology?

If you are interested in trying out D-Box for the home, just check out D-Box's dealer locator on their website, www.d-box.com, or directly here.

If you are interested in trying out D-Box for the commercial theatre, many D-Box equipped theatres have demonstration models in their lobby.  You can find your nearest D-Box equipped theatre here.

Can D-Box motion coding induce motion sickness?

No, not normally.  D-Box's designers performed extensive research to determine how they could integrate motion into the film experience without inducing motion sickness.  Thus far, I have only met or communicated with a couple of people who are so sensitive to motion that they did not like the D-Box experience.

 

Titles

How many titles has D-Box motion coded thus far?

D-Box has created motion codes for over 900 films and is approaching 1000.  In addition to many smaller titles, the overwhelming majority of top "motion worthy" films have also been coded for enjoyment at home, this includes, but is certainly not limited to titles like:

  • Matrix trilogy

  • The complete Star War series

  • The Indiana Jones series

  • Toy Story trilogy

  • The Alien series

  • The Harry Potter series

  • Avatar

  • The Terminator series

  • Lord of the Rings trilogy

  • Inception

  • Dark Knight

  • The Incredibles

  • Titanic



What does the "D-Box Motion Code" logo on the back of a Blu-ray box mean?

This means that if you have a PC-based or standalone Motion Controller Series IV that you can put the disc in your PC or Series IV and it will read & load the motion codes from the disc.  However, unless you live in an area without an internet connection, loading motion codes through the disc is unnecessary as all of the motion controllers can connect to the internet and download the codes directly from D-Box's servers. 

If anything, the "D-Box Motion Code" label serves to promote the D-Box brand and create awareness of the product.  Hopefully one day in the future we will see the "D-Box Motion Code" label on select theatrical posters as well.

Does D-Box provide motion coding for more than just the select Blu-rays with a D-Box logo on them?

Yes!  In fact, most films that have been motion coded do not have the motion codes included on their disc but can instead be directly downloaded from D-Box's servers.

If I want a demonstration, which scenes from movies do you recommend?

When I let my guests first experience D-Box, I usually show the following clips in order:

  • Iron Man - first test flight of the "new" Iron Man suit

  • Terminator Salvation - the helicopter crash near the beginning of the film

  • I, Robot - the robot "road attack" inside of the tunnel

  • 2012 - earthquake in the city

  • Super Speedway - Mario Andretti's warm-up laps and subsequent race with his son

  • The Incredible Hulk - the start of Hulk's battle with Blonsky in the street and ending with the helicopter crash

  • Flight of the Phoenix - the plane crash scene (*warning* - the MFX are the strongest I've experienced to date)

  • Battleship - the initial release of the spinning weapons sequence

  • The Avengers - This entire movie is pretty much demo-worthy

  • The Wolverine - The atomic detonation scene at the beginning of the film is downright riveting

Why did <INSERT TITLE> get motion coding for its theatrical release vs. <INSERT TITLE>?

For instance, why did Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II get motion coded for the theatrical release and not Transformers 3?  As D-Box gains in popularity in the theatrical market, this type of question will become more commonplace.  The answer to this question also involves the only real drawback of D-Box theatrical releases.  D-Box has to be selective in which titles they support theatrically (and of course they also have to have the studio's support on the other end) as most theatres only have a single auditorium equipped with D-Box. In other words, they're only able to support one theatrical title for a given 3-4 week window.

So, in the case of Harry Potter vs. Transformers, if D-Box was under contract to provide motion coding for Harry Potter, it would be impractical for them to also provide codes for Transformers 3 as exhibitors would be left with a quandary as to which title to present in their D-Box auditorium due to the short window between those releases.  In all truth, I do not know if D-Box was mandated under contract with Warner Bros. to code Harry Potter, this is just conjecture on my part.  Nonetheless, I believe that my theory about why one title is coded for theatrical release over another is relatively sound.

Given the number of D-Box worthy releases in peak periods like the summertime, chances are that some potentially great D-Box theatrical titles will be skipped. However, any major skipped titles that seem like a fit for D-Box's technology will undoubtedly be coded for the home market, which makes D-Box at home all the more appealing. 

Which studios are partnered with D-Box?***

  • Fox*

  • Lionsgate*

  • Warner Brothers

  • Disney*

  • Sony**

  • Universal Studios*

  • Paramount*

  • New Line Cinema

  • Dreamworks

  • Screen Gems

  • Blue Underground*

  • Focus Features

  • Overture Filims

  • Emylia*

*These studios place a "D-Box Motion Code" label on the back of select motion coded Blu-rays.

**Sony has allowed the "D-Box Motion Code" label only on the Blu-ray release of The 6th Day thus far

***Updated 8 Feb 14: It appears that D-Box abandoned their campaign to insert D-Box Motion Code labels on the back of Blu-ray discs sometime in 2013.

Is there any difference between theatrical motion codes and home theatre motion codes?

Yes, according to D-Box, "[the] codes always need to be modified for the home theatre as they are different from the cinema release so that's the reason for the [occasional] time difference between when [a] DVD/Blu-ray is released and when the codes are released."

Seats

Commercial seats

The commercial seats are only activated when someone purchases a ticket for a specific seat.  This way, freeloaders do not receive a free experience even if they sit in the seat.  The commercial seats have cup holders and an intensity adjustment control.  They also have a bit more maneuverability than home theatre seating like D-Box equipped couches and perhaps loveseats because the actuators are closer. 




Home seats

D-Box can be experienced at home either through integrated D-Box seating or via a platform attached to your existing seating.  There are several platforms available and almost endless options for integrated seating depending on your preferences for seat style & features.  I purchased my Bijou 3-seat D-Box integrated couch from Fortress Seating.  My seats come with cup holders and a reclining feature. 

The reclining feature is something that definitely distinguishes D-Box home theatre seating from D-Box commercial seating, as you feel the motion so much better when your feet are off the ground.


Fortress Seating 3-seat Bijou Series with integrated D-Box actuators


Equipment


What do I need to enjoy D-Box at home?

First off, you need a home theatre consisting of a quality display device, Blu-ray player, and at least a 5.1 surround sound speaker set up.  Then you need to acquire either integrated D-Box seating or purchase a platform for your existing seating.  You then need to connect your seating to a D-Box motion controller via CAT 5 cabling.  Your Blu-ray player connects to the motion controller via the optical input.




How does the motion controller connect with other home theatre equipment?

Your Blu-ray player connects to the motion controller via the optical input.  I know it may seem strange that the motion controller does not use HDMI to connect to your Blu-ray player, but trust me, this is not necessary at all.  However, you must make sure your Blu-ray player can simultaneously output audio over HDMI and optical!  Please note that at the 2014 CES, D-Box announced plans to introduce a motion controller in summer 2014 that will support HDMI.


Front view of a D-Box 340C Motion Controller



Angled view of the backside of a D-Box 340C Motion Controller


Does a D-Box motion controller offer any additional functionality besides coded motion?


Yes!  A little known feature about D-Box motion controllers is that they feature an "Audio Mode" which, when activated, allows the seats to rumble according to information received from your receiver or pre-amp's LFE channel.  In other words, if you're watching a movie, television series, or even playing a game that has noticeable bass to it, your seats can enhance the feeling of the bass by rumbling.  Please note that the rumbling effect itself can be moderated to better suit your needs and/or to compliment the programming you're watching.  This feature is similar to what Buttkickers or Crowson tactile transducers offer, and gives added value to a D-Box home system investment. 


The "Audio Mode" functions off of the Sub input line where the white plug is connected.

What is this new HEMC device I've been hearing about?

The latest motion controller from D-Box is the HEMC.  A new page has been devoted to this device at this link.

Is there something I need to correct or clarify on this page?  If so, shoot me an email.