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
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.
The Challenge: In the small, destination town of Sweet Home, Oregon, The Rio Theatre marries the cozy, classic feel of a small cinema and the deluxe experience of high-quality theater technology. With only two auditoriums it was essential to equip The Rio with world-class projectors to establish it as the best movie theater in the area and keep customers coming back again and again.
(1) NEC NC2041L 20,000-lumen 4K RB laser projector vividly presents the best of Hollywood, including the most advanced 3D content, delivered with the projector’s full 4K resolution using triple flash technology for smooth motion at The Rio bigger auditorium.
(1) NEC NC1000C DLP cinema projector is the most compact 2K DCI-certified digital cinema projector on the market, which makes it perfectly suited for The Rio to provide an enhanced theater experience with pristine images to its smaller screen auditorium.
The Rio Theatre includes two state-of-the-art auditoriums which show movies at the highest quality possible and ensure customers always leave happy. People from all around the area-even from other towns go to Sweet Home to enjoy the quality of projection that The Rio Theatre offers, thanks to their decision to install new projectors from Sharp/NEC. The high quality, low maintenance and the projectors’ ease of use also give the owners peace of mind, knowing they can focus on running their business without worrying about their customers’ experience with the silver screen. platform for digital signage that includes sports, news, and films. Sharp/NEC’s outdoor LED display helps promote ULM as a student-focused university valuing modernization, quality, and progress.
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