Dolby Cinema Vs Imax: How To Differentiate Between Them?

Dolby cinema and Imax are movie formats that deliver an excellent watching experience. So, choosing between these two formats may be a challenging task. This post will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of both formats and provide you with a detailed comparison between Dolby cinema vs. Imax

Continue reading this post to explore their main differences and select the most suitable format for your preferences!

An Overview Of Dolby Cinema

 Dolby Room
Dolby Room

Dolby Cinema is a high-end theater developed and created by Dolby Laboratories, with the first facility opened in 2014. This format uses an advanced projection system named Dolby Vision. 

The facility possesses multiple 4k laser projectors capable of creating 2D and 3D images. These laser projects deliver great brightness and color contrast compared to regular projectors. 

This theater can display high-quality and accurate graphics in various image resolutions, from 2k at 120 frames per second to 8k, and three-dimensional images at 120 fps. 

The projectors are placed on the ceiling to give customers the most direct and comfortable viewing angles. The format also features a curved wall as the projected display, giving you an immersive watching experience.  

An Overview Of Imax

 Imax Entrance
Imax Entrance

It is a movie theater format developed by the Imax Corporation (founded in 1967). It is a combination of high-end projectors, cameras, and film formats. 

This facility is very well-known for its huge screens (18×24 meters). It uses large film frames to increase the quality and resolution of the images.

Unlike the conventional movie theaters, which use built-in stereo speakers, this format utilizes a separate seven-channel magnetic soundtrack with a digital sound system. 

These speakers are placed behind the large projected screen and around the cinema to give a realistic and immersive listening experience.    

The Differences Between Dolby Cinema Vs. Imax

Dolby Cinema Vs Imax

Here are the basic differences between these two formats. You can choose the most optimal facility based on this detailed comparison. 

Side-by-side Comparison

Features Dolby Cinema  Imax
Graphics 4x the standard resolution 3x the standard resolution
Audio 64-channel sound system 12-channel audio system
Image Format 2:40:1 aspect ratio 1:90:1 aspect ratio
Comfort Spacious chair Smaller chairs
Film Process 2D and 3D 2D only
Price $20 $20-$25

Image Quality

The 4k laser projectors of Dolby cinemas deliver up to 8k image resolution in 3D. The curved projected display also gives customers the most optimal viewing angle at all seats.

Imax cinemas utilize mostly laser projectors that project images in 2k resolution, and you have to pay a higher price to enjoy the high-end dual laser projection system.  

Although the graphics of this format are very excellent, it is still not as good as the competitor. 

Image Format

Dolby cinema uses the AMC Prime, ETX, and the integrated vision system to reach an aspect ratio of 2:40:1. However, most regular cinemas can meet these graphic criteria, so the image format of this theater is just decent. 

Meanwhile, Imax used its developed stereo and film technology with a greater aspect ratio (1:90:1). The large 18×24 meter screen also gives viewers a breathtaking viewing angle.

For this reason, Imax exceeds its competitor in the image format. 

Sound Quality

The Atmos sound technology helps Dolby cinemas exceed in terms of audio quality. You will get an immersive listening experience sitting in the theaters equipped with this technology.

Although Imax has made huge improvements to its sound system to create more realistic and immersive sounds, its audio technology is simply one step behind the competitor.  


The noticeable difference in comfort is the quality of the seat. Dolby Cinema features high-quality, spacious chairs that you cannot find in a regular cinema.

Meanwhile, the size of Imax chairs is not as big, and you have to adjust the sitting position when watching films. 


Although the ticket price may vary in different regions, an average Imax price costs $20. But, Dolby Cinema is a little more expensive, ranging from $20 – $25. 

Therefore Imax is a more affordable option. 

Final Thoughts 

Dolby Cinema Vs Imax

Dolby cinema vs. Imax: which would you choose? Which is better for you?

Overall, the Dolby cinema is more suitable for customers who love excellent graphic quality and comfort when watching movies. Meanwhile, Imax is more popular with the higher number of facilities and lower ticket prices.

You can choose the most suitable format depending on your need. We hope that this in-depth comparison can satisfy you. Thank you for reading!

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Solomen is the founder of, and he is happiest when working with technology and able to help others. In his free time, he often listens to Baroque music, swims or runs. Feel free to contact him on social media!

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