back to article Cinema chain bans laptops, tablets

Cinema chain Vue is deciding whether to ban mobile phones from its venues, having already decided that laptop computers are a no-no. The Ts&Cs Vue imposes on anyone entering its cinemas - nothing odd there; all entertainment venues have these - forbids punters from taking "sound and video recording equipment" into the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    banning phones

    is going to impact them unless they provide some sort of secure locker for to put your stuff in.

    Call me paranoid, but i don't particularly trust some of the minimum wage droolers employed by cinemas with my expensive smartphone.

    Anyway, all the best cam recordings of new films are done, from the projection booth, by the staff!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    title title

    Congrats on making it on el reg, Dom ;)

    It's also ignorant of how pirated copies of movies end up on the net - from leaks directly from the distributer!

    Camcorder copies of movies are rare, almost makes you think pirates have become snobbish of the usually shite quality >.<

  3. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Oh, yeah...

    Go ahead - ban the mobile phones. And I will never, ever go to their cinema again. Freaks.

    1. Mullerrad
      Thumb Down


      I won't hand my kit over, refund please byeeeee

  4. Dan Price

    Why was he carrying it anyway?

    I can't think of a single good reason why anybody would need to carry their laptop into a cinema anyway. Was he planning on annoying the other punters by catching up on his emails during the boring bits?

    Lock it in the boot of your car and quit whining.

    1. DPWDC


      As someone that goes to that cinema - I can understand why he wouldnt want something thats worth over a grand in his boot... Not to mention the value of the data on there...

      Anyway, who said he went in his car - he (most likelly) went to the cinema after work, and as such had his laptop with him.

    2. leakyPC

      A little more though maybe

      I work in London so have no car, I travel to work by train. Therefore have to carry my Laptop on me when I take it home from work, some times I stop off at the cinema on the way home.

      My suggestion is maybe you didn't think for quite long enough.

    3. bluesxman

      Think a little harder then...

      Perhaps he has a job.

      Perhaps he has a work laptop that he sometimes takes home.

      Perhaps he went out straight from work.

      Perhaps he takes public transport or perhaps he's rather not risk it being stolen from his boot.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Vue's anti-piracy policy is a bit pointless.

    The films are already available on the internet before the films reach British cinemas.

  6. FIA


    Haven't cinema attendances soared over the last few years? (You know, those years where 'piracy' has become a serious problem??)


  7. Anonymous Coward


    would you even be bringing "kit" to the cinema. I might be the minority but I go to the pictures to actually watch the film. Messing about with laptop/mobile phones I can do in places I've not just paid £8 to get into.

    Blanket ban on all those who have 'seeing the film' low in the priorities would be nice, and Terminator icon, as I'd like to terminate those who talk as well.

    1. Mullerrad

      I can see why

      I always have two mobiles with me work and personal. What I would like to see is some dampening field so they can't be used in the auditorioum itself. There are some ignorant people out there.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Maybe some people always need a mobile with them?

        I'm a doctor, and I do. Yes, I am on call all the time. Does this mean I can never go to the cinema?

    2. Dave Bell

      But what is special about a mobile phone?

      I'll let other people explain why they might have their laptop with them--the reasons I see here sound pretty sensible--but a mobile phone? Yes, switch it off so that you don't disturb people watching the film, but if you're not in the habit of carrying your mobile phone, what's the point?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just use some IR lights

    If cinemas shone bright IR lights at the screen, it would wash out the image for any recording device, making them useless. Surely that's easier than searching bags and confiscating anything with a CMOS / CCD sensor on board.

    1. Ed 16

      re IR lights

      I can see the idea here (no pun intended) but would bouncing large doses of IR into the viewers eyeballs possibly cause damage? Bright light is bright light regardless of whether its visible?

      1. Shades

        I can't work out...

        ...if you're being serious or simply trolling?!

      2. Jack 12

        Re: IR lights

        Also, once someone worked out that was what was happening (and it wouldn't take long), then anyone who seriously wanted to record the film could just buy a filter to block anything above say 700nm.

  9. paulf Silver badge

    That's why I don't go to the cinema any more...

    Most films seem to be out on DVD within 6-9 months of theatrical release, and usually for less than the price of two admission tickets to my local Vue in the Home counties.

    At home:

    I can eat what I want, without having to pay stupid prices for trash food

    Drink what I want,

    Pause the film (should I drink too much) and adjust the volume etc

    not have to put up with Chavvy little shits talking, fighting, eating loudly, using mobile phones, throwing things etc,

    Not have to risk getting searched like a terrorist because I might have a mobile on me,

    I can watch it again without having to pay a further admission fees

    I understand piracy is a problem, but videoing a film like this takes only one person in one showing at one multiplex. As a result they've decided that the best solution is to potentially inconvenience every punter at every showing of every multiplex. I wouldn't deliberately take my laptop and dSLR to a cinema, but I would my mobile. Then there are people who may go to the Cinema after work etc, and still have their laptop with them. I know I wouldn't trust my kit to Cinema staff and their small sign stating that "Equipment left is entirely at the owners risk [even if we have confiscated it]".

    Perhaps they should be a bit smarter. How about scanning the auditorium twice during the showing with an IR camera in the ceiling looking for people with recording equipment. And anyway, using a laptop in a dark auditorium is going to stand out like a lighthouse?

    Just my tuppence worth. I know the cinema is pretty popular for film buffs.

    1. Andy Scott

      Re: That's why I don't go to the cinema any more

      I know in Cineworld in Glasgow's Renfrew Street the staff come in a few times during the film with night vision goggles to see if anyone is filming or using a mobile phone/laptop etc

      1. david 12 Bronze badge

        night vision goggles to see if anyone is filming...

        You think THAT is what they are looking for? They are looking because they don't want sticky seats and spare items of clothing left after the film.

        BTW, Gilbert and Sullivan had the same problem more than 100 years ago (people making copies), and they didn't find that banning laptops and mobile phones helped any. In fact, their fith colabaration was inpired by the piracy of there fourth, HMS Pinafore.

  10. Anthony Shortland
    Thumb Up

    Banning phones will stop the problem

    Its simple, if they ban people taking phones in people will stop going.

    When no one goes, the cinemas will have to close

    Problem solved!

  11. MikeyD85
    Thumb Down

    I can't imagine...

    people being asked to hand over their mobile phones every time they go to the cinema going down well at all.

    Where are staff storing them, how will they be identified so the right person gets the right phone, how quickly can they do all of this?

    1. Peter H. Coffin

      I can't believe

      You've never seen a classic coat-and-hat check in action? It's simple, really. One walks up to a little room, where an appealing young woman accepts your property and gives you a numbered token (like a browser cookie, but real) and stores your item in a place corresponding to the number thereon. As you leave, you surrender your token to the PYT, she returns your items, you put a coin into hand in appreciation of her cheerful assistance and be on your way. It classes up the joint.

      1. Mullerrad


        When you hand over your ticket she says someone has stolen you expensive kit. Btw my company is not liable ect

      2. Anonymous Coward

        In the meantime...

        ... "an appealing young woman" riffles through your property and looses the phone, laptop, ipad etc. Afterwards you "you surrender your token to the PYT" who says it's been lost, you then contact the manager who points a small notice that contains the phrase "Equipment is left entirely at the owners risk".

        I'd be demanding my money back before seeing the film.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Preventing piracy?

    Surely stopping people taking laptops into cinemas is not so much about preventing piracy as it is about preventing them annoying the hell out of the rest of the audience.

    Why would you take your laptop in the first place? If you intend to use it, well, you're clearly an inconsiderate berk who's quite happy to irritate other patrons. If you don't intend to use it, why are you taking it? If this is such a problem, then maybe cinemas should invest in swimming pool-type lockers - pay your deposit, stick your laptop / iPad / mobile phones or whatever in it, take your key and collect when you leave. They could even employ a guard to watch the lockers to make sure no-one tries to break in to them.

    Still don't understand why someone would want to take their laptop to the cinema in the first place though.

  13. Thomas 18


    Hello? this is reality calling. Your bureaucracy and micromanaging are not welcome here. As if people are going to drop their mobiles into a basket at the door. That's just retardo logic.

  14. yoinkster

    the real question here is

    Why the nuts would anyone take a laptop, diepad, camera AND phone to the cinema?!

    I know nerds will be nerds but surely you don't need to go everywhere with every gadget owned?

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: the real question here is

      Well, you could be like me the other day and going to the pictures on your way home from work. I take my laptop to work and back every day, so it's almost always in my backpack.

      1. TheRobster Silver badge

        @ Tony Smith

        So, if you're going out after work, why not just leave your kit in the office?

        1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: @ Tony Smith

          So I can use it when I get home afterwards.

        2. Sooty


          You may trust the people you work with enough to leave a laptop there, but after having a £3 phone charger cable stolen out of my "securely" locked desk drawers, I certainly wouldn't!

          we even had the few quid in the tea kitty stolen at one point!

          Seriously... this is in a very secure building's IT department, not a front line service desk, in-house software development, you really wouldn't expect it!

    2. Hedley Phillips

      No we don't but...

      Have you never gone to see a film on the way home from work?

  15. Anonymous Coward

    iPhad owners "value power and achievement much more than others"

    According to El Reg, however, being the owner of an iPad the gentleman concerned is likely to be "selfish, scoring low on measures of kindness and altruism."

    Or, to put it another way, he got the arse when someone dared tell him what to do.

  16. Thomas Davie

    It's not about video recording kit

    They're just trying to come up with a semi-viable excuse to search people's bags for food not bought in the cinema building.

    1. Daniel Harris 1


      I think Vue allow you to take in whatever food and drink you like. Or so it seems to be the case at my local one.

  17. Dave 126 Silver badge

    But the police have a notice...

    in the carpark saying "Do not leave valuables in your vehicle".

    Does Vue really think I should listen to them over the constabulary?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who the F takes an iPad/laptop to the pictures?

    Your incredibly sad if you really believe that you need your kit with you at all times.

    Just what are you doing? Shouldn't your attention be on the screen, actually watching the film?

    S A D D O!

    1. Cameron Colley

      Perhaps he's one of those weirdo's who work for a living?

      Or, perhaps, he was to visit a friend afterwards?

      Just because he had something on him doesn't mean he meant to use it in there. Do you always talk on your phone when you're in the cinema, or do you leave it outside with the staff?

      As for the "...leave it in the car..." argument above -- the LS1 postcode (ie the centre of Leeds) where this cinema is located has one of the highest car-crime rates in the country. Plus, some of us don't use our cars to go to the city centre and some people even live there!!!!!!

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Not very bright are you poor thing.

      Are you incapable of realising that many cinemas are in town centres where many people work.

      People often go to the cinema after work and therefore could have their laptop with them.

      Isn't it easy when someone thinks for you.

  19. Rob 101

    So, more price hikes?

    While they accomodate secure storage, advanced receipt system, an additional hour and a half queuing time, insurance and so on to confiscate the several hundred mobile phones per showing?

    I don't think so.

  20. GrumpyJoe
    Thumb Down

    ...from my cold dead hands

    Seriously, I barely credit the cinema twonks with the ability to get the computerised till to spit out tickets, now I am expected to let them fondle my phone and/or laptop for the duration?

    Nah. No chance. The first mobile phone they break / lose / call Botswana 'accidentally' on will put the brakes on this policy. There's no need to pirate this stuff with your phone, chances are it's already on the Pirate Bay from a screening months before.

    Security theatre.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    What is the problem here?

    Can I just step in here, and be dreadfully un-trendy for a moment, and add that I never go to the cinema with my Übertabmobtop in hand - because, God forbid, I've made a trip to see a film.

    I can understand some may have their lappy on them by chance - but let's face it, with the right kit it would not be hard to make a crappy recording. Let's be fair to them, it's illegal. End of.

    I'd wager that the real reason they are banning these devices is only partly related to piracy. The real problem, as any serious cinema-goer will tell you, is hordes of teenagers foaming at the mouth on sugar and OMG look @ dis'ing their Facebook updates all the way through a film. It's not only an aural distraction that ruins the film - especially if you DARE challenge the little t**ts, but a visual one, too. If I didn't pay to see Close Encounters, then I don't want the same light show going on in front me care of a dozen illuminated screens.

    Reminds me of this -

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Really, Laptops & Phones?

    I'd question VUE on this, are cameras really an issue?

    When was the last time you downloaded a movie (NEVER - of course), even before release and its was recorded in a cinema? probably very few... then how many were recorded in a normal screening (ie with an audience) even fewer.

    A friend (not me you understand) has noted that even pre release there is normally a DVD screener available.. or at the very least a cam job taken from the projection room in an empty cinema.

    No one is trying to capture films on their phones/laptops, they never have (and if anyone has no bugger was able to watch the stupidly low quality results anyway!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Depends on the film

      Some films do not have copies available, even months after they hit the cinemas. Whereas some, cough, A-team, cough, have blu-ray quality rips available over a month before they are even released into the UK cinemas.

      This tells me that if a studio really doesn't want it to be available, it's not available!

      Also if, for example, it takes 6 months plus for a film to go from the cinema to dvd/blu-ray, people will go out of their way to pirate it. Less so, with those that only take a month or two. Personally I hate cinemas, I would much prefer to be able to watch it in the comfort of my own home, with the much higher quality that my kit provides at the time it's first released. (most of the cinemas i have been to seem to have the focus slightly off, too low definition for the projection size, not to mention distorted, overly loud sound)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the positive side

    Having a ban on the use of mobile phones inside cinemas would be a positive outcome.

  24. DS 1

    End of the road

    Yeah, I'm going to tolerate being searched, hassled, and treated like an idiot to pay a fortune and be ripped off if I dare want some food or drink - and be presented with small or poor presentations, when the entire world has moved on. With everything in DVD/Blueray quality, and frankly with whatever I want in other 'channels' - such vendors don't seem to realise the word and actions of 'dinosaur' lead to extinction.

    In this day and age the idea that full body searches of hundreds of people and confiscation of expensive every day equipment is acceptable is one peddled by idiots. No you can't have my laptop, phone, PDA, and further, I'm not allowed to give it to unsecured people because its a work item holding confidential data.

    Therefore its simples, I no longer go to the cinema. The movie, film and cinema industry can squeel all it wants, its signing its own death warrant. You don't need any more reasons to put off people going to your establishments, yet you seem to think finding new ones is clever.

    IF the movie industry was smart, it would quietly allow some crap cams around, because doing so actually under-writes the actual idea and experience of buying the real quality and goods. Cam versions tend to be poor and an advertisment of getting the real deal/watching the real deal.

    1. Goat Jam

      A Nice Idea

      with one small, fatal flaw.

      "Cam versions tend to be poor and an advertisment of getting the real deal/watching the real deal."

      This of course is perfectly true. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your POV) this statement is equally true.

      "Cam versions allow punters to separate the wheat from the chaff so they can avoid forking over their hard earned cash on utter dreck"

      The movie industry has a long history of pushing out utter dreck to unsuspecting punters hoping that even the most awful turd might claw back its production costs before the word gets out amongst the great unwashed.

      They want to continue being able to do that at all costs.

      Also, banning PC's and phones is a great way of stemming the tide of negative SMS/Tweeting for hot of the presses new releases too.

      If they had any confidence whatsoever in their products they wouldn't mind a bit of free advertising in the manner that you describe.

      The fact that they don't tells us more then they would probably like us to know.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    IN THE UK... I always wondered if you could be prosecuted (forgetting about the T&Cs for a minute) for recording a *broadcast* event, e.g. a football match or concert in a cinema or wether you could use a defence of timeshifting.


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