IMAX VS 4DX: Everything You Want to Know

This article will discuss IMAX vs 4DX and give a comprehensive overview of both types of theater technologies. We have made things simple for you, so you can understand them better despite the lack of technological knowledge.

IMAX is a wonderful theater technology that displays movies on an immensely enlarged screen. While 4DX is beyond amazing as it provides a 4-dimensional movie experience.

You must have heard about 2D and 3D movies and might have enjoyed one. A 3D movie gives you an immersive experience, you feel every scene like you are part of the movie.

IMAX VS 4DX

4DX claims to give you a genuine real-time movie experience. Because 4DX displays movies in 3D formats along with physical effects such as rain, fog, water, scent, and much more.

But, many people still prefer IMAX over 4DX. There are a number of reasons 4DX could not satisfy the audience like IMAX. We will discuss everything in this article to give you a clear-cut idea.

4DX: An Incredible Theater Technology

4DX cinema access your senses. While watching a movie, you might have wished to smell the scent of the character’s perfume or you might have wished to feel the snow.

Amazingly, these wishes come true with 4DX. It provides a multi-sensory and real immersive experience.

This technology combines screen visuals with synchronized motion seats and weather effects.

The movie effect is enhanced as the audience experiences environmental conditions such as water, rain, snow, fog, and wind.

IMAX: Incredible Screen

IMAX cinemas release movies in 3D formats and use 75mm film format. Their screen size is even larger and is incomparable to other technologies.

The screen stretches across giant walls with a height of 75 to 117 feet. So, the audience feels immersed in the scene.

It is much better than traditional or Standard theaters. But, the IMAX movie experience is very different from 4DX.

Related: IMAX vs Standard Screen Comparison With Table

IMAX vs 4DX: A Detailed Comparison

New theater technologies are emerging rapidly. The traditional cinemas are not very popular and IMAX has replaced them.

However, the advancement of technologies has created incredible things. 4DX is many steps ahead of the IMAX. It’s thrilling and exciting.

Surely, you want to explore 4DX deeply and also want to understand the differences between IMAX and 4DX. Therefore, we have conducted thorough research.

The outcomes are integrated into this article. So, keep reading it till the end to get a comprehensive overview of both technologies.

1. History and Innovation

The credit for developing 4DX technology goes to CJ 4DPLEX. It is a renowned theater technology company founded in 2010 and based in Seoul.

Moreover, it is the world’s first brand who develop 4D cinematic technology. The credit for IMAX innovation goes to Canadian Theater Company-IMAX Corporation.

IMAX dates back to 1967 which was an improved theater technology after Standard cinemas. However, it became popular around 2000 and since then IMAX technology is being used in various visual effects.

2. Image Quality and Screen Display

As the name indicates, IMAX has the biggest theater screen at 75 feet in height. In some countries, an IMAX theater even provides 117 feet tall screen.

You can enjoy the same realistic movie experience from any corner of the cinema hall. The screen is curved in the middle and intended to focus on the middle part.

The display covers the whole wall and leaves no space for distraction. The image is brighter and clear even if you are wearing 3D glasses.

The image seems to move out of the screen and seems to approach you. So, you get shocked and frightened while watching the movies.

In contrast, the 4DX screen is small and flat just like the Standard cinemas. You can watch the screen from any angle and it does not affect the quality.

The screen is not as brighter as IMAX, but it is still wonderful. Like IMAX, 4DX pictures also seem to approach you like they are projecting out of the screen.

In addition, you also experience the environmental effects going on in the movie. They are created in the theater such as mist, snow, fog, wind, and many more.

3. Movie Experience

IMAX is the abbreviation of “Image Maximum”. So, it gives you an excellent movie experience with its laser projection technology.

An IMAX theater displays immensely tall pictures. The brightness and color accuracy of the display is quite impressive.

It uses a 75mm film format and a 1.90:1 aspect ratio. Hence, you can enjoy a 3D movie in an IMAX cinema.

While 4DX is real 4D with its 4-dimensional real effect. You just do not watch pictures, you see life in a 4DX cinema.

The scenes are so lively that you are frightened when a lion leaps on the screen, a bomb blasts, or water splashes. It incorporates multi-sensory 21 different signature effects.

So, a 4DX movie overcomes all of your senses. The ‘signature effects’ make your seat run while the car chase scene is being played on the screen.

Mist and fog prevail in the room when such as scene is played and you feel the wind when the characters fly.

The movie experience is further enhanced by playing the movie in one single go, without any break. But, these effects also have disadvantages.

Sometimes, you cannot understand the dialogues clearly due to immense motion effects. Especially, if you are viewing a 4DX movie first time, you may get puzzled.

4. Technology

In fact, the seats in a 4DX theater are designed to give you a multisensory experience. It captures your senses and you feel every second of the movie.

Everything seems to happen live in front of you. This technology uses 21 different types of signature effects. The 4DX motion seats can vibrate and spin to give you a real movie experience.

The seats are equipped with a wide range of speed control mechanisms. Nevertheless, it may be annoying and distracting for some movie lovers.

On the other hand, an IMAX theater gives you a 3-dimensional movie effect. A flat screen with a huge spherical dome is designed to provide a real video effect.

The pictures are displayed on giant walls and the audience feels immersed in the scene. It uses dual laser projectors; one horizontal and the other vertical. Both images combine to produce a 3-dimensional effect.

5. 4DX Signature Effects

In a 4DX cinema, you experience sudden seat movements. If you are not used to it, you are likely to get a headache and backache.

Moreover, you feel tired. A 4DX cinema does not allow you to take hot drinks with you while some of them even do not allow beverages.

Due to sudden and continual seat movements, you cannot eat popcorns peacefully. The rain feels just like mist and does not soak you.

While the wind puffs cool the environment that is better in summer. The sharp air puffs from behind may feel unpleasant to you. While the push effects feel like a kid is kicking your seat.

Some moviegoers love these effects. While others find it quite silly and unpleasant. We don’t recommend you 4DX theater for watching longer movies.

4DX claims to provide an immersive movie effect. But, in fact, it is distracting and takes you away from the scenes.

6. Application and Availability

4DX technology is mostly applied to feature films such as Hollywood and blockbusters movies.

In addition, this technology is also used in local films, concerts, and commercials.

4DX has screened about 700 films and it is available in more than 65 countries. Worldwide, 731 auditoriums and 82,500 seats of 4DX are available.

Till now, 76 million movie lovers have enjoyed 4DX movies. There are around 1500 IMAX cinemas in 80 countries around the world.

It is easily accessible to the audience and costs less. Further, IMAX technology is also used in home theaters, stadiums, auditoriums, and concerts.

Comparison and Contrast Table of IMAX vs 4DX

Comparison ParametersIMAX4DX
InnovationDeveloped by Canadian Theater Company-IMAX Corporation in 1967 and gained popularity in 2000.Invented by CJ 4DPLEX in 2010. It is the world's first brand- based in Seoul- releasing 4D technology for theaters.
Image QualityHighly bright and accurate 3D display. Giant 75 feet tall images.Small screen size just like traditional cinemas. Image brightness and accuracy is lower than IMAX.
Movie EffectsReal 3D effect and image stretches on whole of the front wall.21 signature effects including rain, wind, scents, sounds, and more. Seats are equipped with speed mechanisms and seem to run with chasing objects.
TechnologyDual laser projection technology that provides real time 3D watch experience.Multisensory effects with motion chairs. It also uses 3D technology but 4D effect is created by incorporating environmental effects.
ApplicationIMAX technology is applied to movies, theaters, stadiums, auditoriums and even to home theaters. Many streaming services release movies in IMAX-3D format.Applied to blockbuster movies and theaters. Mostly used for feature films. The idea is not applicable to home theaters.
Availability1500 IMAX cinemas are available worldwide almost in 80 countries.731 4DX auditoriums and 82,500 seats are Available in 65 countries. More than 700 films have been created in 4DX effect.
ComfortabilityIMAX provides a comfortable environment to its audience. Padded seats are available and audience is allowed to enjoy eatables.4DX cinemas do not allow hot drinks. Due to sudden movements and effects, you cannot eat anything peacefully. You may get headache or backache and also feel tired because of motion effects.
WorthIMAX is worth the money and time. Because you can watch every sort of movie in IMAX format. Ideal for watching longer durations.4DX is not suitable for watching all kinds of movies. Shorter movies are worth watching in 4DX. While it is better for action, horror, and adventure movies but not for natural, romantic, and story-focused movies.

IMAX or 4DX, Which is Better?

You have acquired ample knowledge of IMAX and 4DX. But, you may be feeling confused to decide between IMAX and 4DX. Honestly speaking, 4DX is suitable for short films.

Because there is no intermission while watching a movie in 4DX theater. On contrary, IMAX allows you to take a break and relax. It is preferred for watching movies of longer durations.

IMAX is an excellent choice to watch movies in rich and accurate colors where greater focus is put on settings and scenes instead of the actions.

The story is more important in Spy movies. So, IMAX is better to watch such movies which focus on story and emotions and have complicated plots.

However, 4DX is better for watching action movies like fast and furious. You will also love to watch a horror movie in a 4DX theater as it will make the fear real.

Comedy and adventure movies are also worth watching in 4DX. You can also decide between two theaters after watching the trailer of the movie on Youtube. If IMAX is offering extra features, you should go for it.

Generally speaking, IMAX is good for watching all sorts of movies. But, 4DX may ruin your watch experience for certain types of movies.

Related: IMAX vs 3D, Compared

Final Words

Although 4DX is adored much yet it does not seem better than IMAX. Because IMAX does not distract you and displays images on giant screens.

While the biggest disadvantage of the 4DX is small and flat screen. The movie scenes are created in the cinema hall. But, instead of immersing you, they distract you.

The seat movements are really annoying for many movie lovers since you cannot focus on the scene. IMAX is better at providing you with a real 3D experience.

Moreover, you cannot watch each sort of movie in a 4DX theater. Because it offers less comfort and freedom than IMAX. The cost difference is also great, 4DX is expensive than IMAX.

So, we have provided you with all the information about both-4DX vs IMAX-visual technologies. Now, it depends entirely on you which of the movie format you want to experience.

Noor Alam

Hi, I’m Noor Alam, founder of SpeakersMag.com. I love music and got my Bachelor’s degree in Sound Engineering. Now I have started my own blog about music products. Just like you, I also love different music products and in my spare time, I share my knowledge with audio lovers on this site.