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Author Topic: Disney Approved Equipment
Martin McCaffery
Film God

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From: Montgomery, AL
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 - posted 02-12-2008 11:32 AM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This may fit better in another forum, but just so those of you not in the front office know, we just got a 3 page letter from Disney informing exhibitors that Disney digital product will only be shown on Disney approved equipment. And that soon as DCI compliant equipment becomes commercially available, Disney will only allow their digital to be show on DCI equipment. During the transition it must meet or exceed Disneys JPEG Inter-Op requirements.

A list of approved servers and projectors are included in the letter.

We're not digital, I don't care. How is this going to effect all of those out there who already invested in digital. And will it stop others from investing?

And, of course, Disney is still the most arrogant distributor in the biz.

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David Stambaugh
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 - posted 02-12-2008 11:36 AM      Profile for David Stambaugh   Author's Homepage   Email David Stambaugh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Is there any current 2K server/projector being marketed that is not on Disney's list of approved equipment?

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

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From: Montgomery, AL
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 - posted 02-12-2008 12:04 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: David Stambaugh
Is there any current 2K server/projector being marketed that is not on Disney's list of approved equipment?

I wouldn't know, but the "Bottom Line" from the letter says:
quote:
As DCI-compliant equipment becomes commercially available, Disney intends to refrain from any further support for interim-approved equipment
Their bold.

Sounds like a recipie for unpleasantness in the future

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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From: Annapolis, MD
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 - posted 02-12-2008 12:13 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
DCI compliant is something that entails more than a mere list of a feature set...there are security issues and even the requirement for an exhibitor to have a standard dial-up land line for use by the projector, believe it or not.

DCinema has also been a moving target for people that purchase the equipment...most lived through the whole MPEG era...not DCI compliant but the technology of the day. Everyone had to convert to JPEG and Disney was pretty brisk at only providing content in the JPEG format. As such, you had to upgrade right then and there if you wanted to play their content.

The "inter-op" thing most likely refers to the 3-D aspects...3-D is not defined in DCI...believe it or not. But Disney has sided with using the Inter-Op format that is likely to be (or very close to be)the SMPTE standard (not the same as DCI). For Hannah Montana, Disney required that all of the theatres to be Inter-Op compliant. Doremi servers were, by and large not inter-op compliant and HAD to be updated to play this movie.

Get used to it...the studios plan on controlling your theatres, technically and likely in other ways in the Digital era. With digital keys they already control when you can play the picture and on what screen (if they want, you need a key for each player and they are currently updated weekly).

From what I can tell, most equipment has various degrees of DCI compliance but very few if any are completely compliant for one reason or another...you'd have to ask the manufacturers to find out where they are weak on and how serious it is.

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Martin McCaffery
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 - posted 02-12-2008 01:30 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If I thought Disney really cared about the exhibiton of their product I might enjoy this.But as they don't go around telling theatres they have to be SMPTE compliant, I have to agree it is all about control.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 02-12-2008 01:48 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Fox and Sony just tried to blow smoke about this to one of our customers and for now thats all it is is smoke. Indeed not a single server exists that has a built in "land line modem" that any studio can simply call up for placement of the KDM's. In fact that sort of "modem" gear is more or less obsolete and has been replaced by the high speed net. If any studio barks about it you can offer to install a computer that does have a dedicated dial in land line for them to FTP the KDM's to but thats about all you can offer... one chain here in town did just that and in two years its never been used even once. Remember that some of the DCI compliance stuff was written back in the late 90's in the days of "modems" but today its obsolete so you have studio people writing letters and making calls that don't even know what they are talking about, heck... making even that call will cost them a bundle every day... the internet is cheap! What will happen though is the older projectors that Christie, BARCO, and NEC produced will eventually have to be made DCI compliant so they wil work with the KDM's at all. The cost to upgrade a DP-100 to the present DCI compliance (what ever that really is) runs about 5 grand to do. There are several non-dci compliant projectors here in SLC that will have to be brought into spec sooner or later when the KDM's become inter-operative.

I have to laugh because down under in Austrailia with the E-Cinema system there is no DCI type crap nor any encryption/decryption going on at all.

quote: Steve Guttag
Everyone had to convert to JPEG and Disney was pretty brisk at only providing content in the JPEG format. As such, you had to upgrade right then and there if you wanted to play their content.


The MPEG to JPEG conversion was not really any headache for the end user or "customer" to speak of. MOst projectors required no more than a software upgrade which you'd want to do in many cases as its issued anyway. Servers were another story and had to be rebuilt and different boards installed. It was a pretty big headach for the manufacturers though many of whom went back and did the upgrades on their equipment for free... after the upgrades most if not all gear could play either MPEG or JPEG.

quote:
Personally, I would just love to see Disney (or, better yet, all of the distributors) actually inspect theatres and refuse to license their films to venues which do not meet SMPTE specs. Not that this will happen
Exactly! If they decide to do this they will instantly loose hundreds of important locations that gross high amounts. Although all locations that have digital still have kept one or two film projectors as well... HAving a line for each piece of booth gear is not only ludricrous but it would be technically a nightmare and also pretty sllllooooooowwww. Internet is pretty easy to secure and with IP addresses already assigned to all the gear dropping in KDM's is a breeze. Something tells me that all exhibitors will tell them to go take a hike.

Mark

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Scott Norwood
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 - posted 02-12-2008 01:56 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Does DCI actually require a dedicated POTS line for each machine, or just one DID number per projector and a handful of actual analog trunks to each theatre (or fiber or T1 or something else with an actual line capacity that is less than the number of projectors)? I'd hate to think of the cost of installing copper lines to each projector in a 30-plex.

So is Disney actually refusing to license their films (err...TV shows) to non-DCI-equipped venues? Or are they just saying that their file format may not play on older equipment and that they will not accept complaints from users of hardware that cannot play the files?

Personally, I would just love to see Disney (or, better yet, all of the distributors) actually inspect theatres and refuse to license their films to venues which do not meet SMPTE specs. Not that this will happen.

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David Zylstra
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 - posted 02-12-2008 03:08 PM      Profile for David Zylstra   Email David Zylstra   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
DCI spells out 1 phone line per building (or at least that's the way I read it as well as how it has been discussed in ISDCF).

I understand that currently only Fox is withholding digital "prints" due to no POTS line. (both Fox and Sony are the only 2 studios I know who are actually pushing for POTS lines since they see them as the most secure and least susceptable to DoS attacks) Basically they don't trust the exhibitor to secure their own Internet connection and keep it running reliably.

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Martin McCaffery
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 - posted 02-12-2008 03:09 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Scott Norwood
So is Disney actually refusing to license their films (err...TV shows) to non-DCI-equipped venues? Or are they just saying that their file format may not play on older equipment and that they will not accept complaints from users of hardware that cannot play the files?
According to the letter:
"When digital cinema equipment that passes the DCI Compliance Test Plan becomes commercially available, Disney within a reasonable time will refrain from any further license of digital content for exhibition on non-compliant systems, including systems that meet only Disney's interim JPEG Inter-Op and Stereoscopic requirements."

and in a foot note:

"In order to receive Disney 3D content exhibitors must also use a Disney approved 3D Display system."

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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quote: David Zylstra
Basically they don't trust the exhibitor to secure their own Internet connection and keep it running reliably.

Like you can actually trust the phone company... Theaters will be down because of phone line problems...

Martin... would appreciate it if you could post the supposed "list of equipment".

Mark

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Rick Raskin
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 - posted 02-12-2008 05:10 PM      Profile for Rick Raskin   Email Rick Raskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
C'mon Mark, how often do you lose dial tone these days?

I suspect there may be some anti-trust issues with Disney's requirements. Not that the movie business has EVER been guilty of that!

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David Zylstra
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 - posted 02-12-2008 05:21 PM      Profile for David Zylstra   Email David Zylstra   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mark Gulbrandsen
Like you can actually trust the phone company... Theaters will be down because of phone line problems...
Yep, that's part of the exhibitor side of the arguement (as well as the cost - think of how many Regals are out there X approx $30 per line). . . . . TDC actually touted a 99.999% success rate sending KDMs over their satellite, at the same time they reported somthing like an 80% (? I think) success rate with the AccessIT modem sites (issues are usually fixed with a modem reset after calling the site).

Most exhibitors that have Internet also run their credit card processing via SSL - I think the constant traffic of CC processing would ensure that the Internet is working 99% of the time - where a bad POTS line for KDM delivery would only be discovered when the distributor tries to send a KDM.

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Scott Norwood
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 - posted 02-12-2008 06:23 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think that part of the issue here may be that POTS lines are tariffed differently from DSL and other types of circuits. In general, when a POTS line fails (rare, but it happens), the LEC is legally obligated to fix it within a fairly short amount of time.

By contrast, with most DSL circuits, service is explicitly not guaranteed and the LEC could conceivably take a week or more to repair a failed circuit and not be in violation of its service agreement. This, incidentally, is why T1 circuits (which have similar uptime requirements to POTS circuits) are significantly more expensive than DSL circuits.

I don't know what type of Internet access is commonly provided to [dlp] -equipped cinemas, but if it's DSL or cable service, the requirement for POTS lines or at least some sort of redundant Internet connection does make sense unless keys are distributed on physical media.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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 - posted 02-12-2008 06:41 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
C'mon Mark, how often do you lose dial tone these days?

I suspect there may be some anti-trust issues with Disney's requirements. Not that the movie business has EVER been guilty of that!

I didn't mean directly loose THE phone lines... but that does on occasion happen, mainly from accidents of all sorts. I also can't stop thinking of the entire phone switch building in Hinsdale, IL that burn't down back in the 88... the fire burned and literally destroyed one of the major central switch facilities... that in turn upset a good portion of phone and data traffic in the entire Midwest! I was also referring to what David mentions that the receiving end of things is more than likely going to be the culprit in the end. Important openings will be missed because some studio exec is not smart enough to keep up with technology... dial into modems are a thing of the past today!! FOr KDM's e-Mail is still the best method.. it's also the most sure method. One of our customers has his KDM's sent to three people including myself thus insuring they can not only get them but if there is a KDM problem I can look at it and see where the error is at thus arming them with the right info when they call the studio to say the KDM is bad. I have not had to do it yet but I know another tech that has.

You might find this article on Phone System Vuerability quite interesting.... its an old article so I won't copy it over here but it makes one wonder if the phone company has donme anything to better themselves or not. Phone System Feared Vulnerable To Wider Disruptions of Service

I agree on the anti-trust issue... this is really getting carried away and exhibitors will get fed up. I keep thinking about E-Cinema in Austrailia where they are neither encrypted nor KDM'd.

Mark

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Louis Bornwasser
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 - posted 02-12-2008 07:59 PM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The point of the Disney letter is that WHEN fully-DCI compliant equipment becomes available, THEN they 1. won't pay VPF and 2. won't supply content after a reasonable time unless you own it.

In other words, they support FULL DCI Compliance and will not support non-compliance.

Nothing made today is fully compliant, so, for now, fees and bookings will continue as before.

The obsolescence wars have begun! Louis

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