The “Theater Screen” is a 31-inch 8K ultra-wide display that those in the backseat can enjoy movies or TV on. BMW says the idea is to provide a cinema-like experience with the ultra-wide screen, as the display is in 32:9 format. This isn’t just a concept either, as BMW appears to be fully onboard for bringing such a screen into its production vehicles.
The screen extends out of the headliner via a rotary movement (see video above), and the photos show it stretching from one headrest to the other. You’ll be able to adjust the angle of the display to fit your angle of recline. BMW says it’s partnering with Amazon, so you should expect the screen to operate like a Fire TV. All the details aren’t fully crunched out yet, but BMW promises the same functionality as you might expect from a home Fire TV. You’ll be able to control the screen via touch operation or via touch pads that BMW will integrate into the rear doors. If the content you’re watching doesn’t fit the format, BMW says you can choose to fit it to the screen or zoom and trim.
To complement the theater-like display, BMW is pairing the screen with its new Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system. The unfurling of the screen is designed to be an event itself, as Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer created the sounds it makes as it’s folding out. Once it’s in place, the roller blinds will have finished their trip up, and the ambient lighting in the rear is dimmed. BMW doesn’t say if the giant screen will be paired with a digital rearview mirror, but it looks like it might be necessary given the placement of the screen in the driver’s rear vision. We’re also unsure which BMW vehicles the Theater Screen will launch on, but we’ll be interested to give it a whirl once it’s rolled out. And if you’re worried about streaming 8K over a data connection (we would be too), BMW says that it will pair the screen with 5G connectivity.
Beyond the big screen, BMW also announced a new “Digital Art Mode” for its iDrive infotainment system. Coming to BMW vehicles in 2022, Digital Art Mode will allow you to set your infotainment into different art themes. Designed by Cao Fei, a Chinese multimedia artist, the themes influence screens in the car and the mood lighting that accompany them.
BMW doesn’t say every specific car that will get the option, but the photos suggest that it’s an iDrive 8 feature, as it’s demoed in the BMW iX. The 2023 iX M60, also revealed at CES, will be the first BMW to get it, and other models will get it later in 2022.