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Author Topic: DCIP actually does something (maybe?)
Scott Norwood
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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
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 - posted 10-01-2008 02:21 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
From the Wall Street Journal

They don't say what happens when this generation of [dlp] projectors becomes obsolete and needs to be replaced. Presumably, the exhibitors get stuck with the total bill.

quote:


Studios Back Plan to Finance Rollout Of Digital Cinema Equipment

LOS ANGELES – A consortium of movie exhibitors is expected to announce Wednesday that it has obtained the backing of a total of five Hollywood studios for a plan to help finance the rollout of digital cinema equipment in U.S. theaters, according to people familiar with the matter, giving it the critical mass it needs to make products like 3-D cinema widely available.

Though the transformation to digital projectors in theaters has been discussed for a decade, only in the past few months have a number of Hollywood's biggest studios signed onto the project. On Wednesday, the consortium is expected to announce that Lion's Gate Entertainment Corp. has joined the four studios which had previously supported the plan: Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures, News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox, General Electric Co.'s Universal Pictures and the Walt Disney Co. News Corp. also owns Dow Jones Co., Inc., publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

The consortium of theater owners, which is called the Digital Cinema Implementation Partners and includes Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark Holdings Inc. and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., has been eager to add the technology but hasn't wanted to bear the cost alone. Under the agreement, the studios will help defray the $1 billion it will cost to install the expensive digital projection equipment.

Under the DCIP plan, the three big chains will be able to outfit several thousand of their combined 15,000 screens next year with the technology, with a goal of converting almost all in three to four years. It costs around $70,000 to outfit a screen with digital projectors.

DCIP officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Digital projection would cut millions of dollars in annual costs for the studios by eliminating the need for film prints. It would give theater owners more flexibility to move films on and off the screens they operate. Digital projectors are also crucial to the rollout of equipment needed for 3-D movies, which Hollywood is increasingly planning to produce.

Under the DCIP plan, the three big chains will be able to outfit several thousand of their combined 15,000 screens next year with the technology, with a goal of converting almost all in three to four years. It costs around $70,000 to outfit a screen with digital projectors.

The financing package, totaling $1 billion, will be led by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and paid for over eight to 10 years. Private equity firm Blackstone is also involved in the financing, according to people familiar with the details of Wednesday's announcement.

Earlier this month, Universal Pictures and Disney agreed to throw their backing behind DCIP, though Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. studio and Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures will not be involved in DCIP at this time. Warner Bros. couldn't be reached for comment.

The studios will pay their share by contributing the money they would have spent on movie prints -- about $800 to $1,000 per film -- in the form of a so-called virtual print fee. The participating studios are promising to provide a digital print of their movies for each screen that converts to digital. The studios' total annual contribution would vary depending on how many movies each company releases per year.

The Hollywood studios' payoff comes later. Once the equipment is rolled out and their financing obligations are done, digital distribution of movies will cost just pennies per digital "print." The rollout of digital cinema has also been complicated by competing technologies.

Sony Corp.'s electronics unit is trying to get theaters to adopt its own digital technology. It is expected to announce on Thursday that it has entered into its own agreement with Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount, to provide exhibitors with Sony's own digital projector system, according to people familiar with the matter.

That group plans to roll out Sony "4K SXRD" projectors in theaters in North America, Asia and Europe, according these people. Sony's projectors have more than 4000 pixels per horizontal line. Most digital projectors on the market are 2K, meaning they have more than 2000 pixels per horizontal line. Specific details of the rollout and financing have not been disclosed. A Sony spokesman, Tom Di Nome, said that Sony is "working to finalize digital cinema agreements with Sony Pictures Entertainment, Fox and Paramount for a planned announcement."

While the long-term cost savings have been an incentive to participate, the move toward digital cinema has finally picked up steam recently, thanks to interest in a new generation of high-tech 3-D movies that has been billed by some as a key to keeping the theatrical film business healthy. Several movies, such as "Journey to the Center of the Earth," have taken in considerably more revenue on 3-D than expected, getting both studios and theater owners more interested in converting screens to digital, the first step in most 3-D set-ups.
—Sarah McBride contributed to this article.

Write to Peter Sanders at peter.sanders@wsj.com



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Mark Gulbrandsen
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 - posted 10-01-2008 12:39 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't see the longevity of support for D-Cinema gear being any different than say what's been provided for the DTS players since 1993. Thats 18 years now that DTS-6 plyers have been supported.

Mark

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Tony Bandiera Jr
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 - posted 10-01-2008 02:27 PM      Profile for Tony Bandiera Jr   Email Tony Bandiera Jr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I see the support being even less than 18 years as each "new and improved" projection technology is developed.

But more disturbing is this:

quote:
Sony Corp.'s electronics unit is trying to get theaters to adopt its own digital technology. It is expected to announce on Thursday that it has entered into its own agreement with Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount, to provide exhibitors with Sony's own digital projector system, according to people familiar with the matter.

Seems like the powers at Sony will NEVER learn.. remember Betamax? The ONLY reason Sony lost to VHS is because they tried to "go it alone" and initially refused to license the Betamax technology. When they finally woke up and allowed other manufacturers to make Beta machines, it was too late. Mashushita(?) was smart enough to offer VHS manufacturing licenses right out of the gate. Sad too because Beta was superior in both picture and sound.

Toshiba just re-learned that lesson with thier Hi-Def dvd format.

Are all marketing executives/corporate VIP's really that stupid?

Or how about SDDS? Anyone seen BACP or any other maker with an SDDS reader or processor?

Any studio or theatre chain (are you listening AMC?)stupid enough to sign on with Sony will get the royal screwing they deserve. [sex]

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John Hawkinson
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 - posted 10-04-2008 09:22 PM      Profile for John Hawkinson   Email John Hawkinson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't know, Tony. Sony was pretty successful with Betacam SP and its descendents, i.e. Digital Betacam (digibeta), HDCAM, and then HDCAM SR.

It's not like there are a lot of other 4k projectors out there right now.

--jhawk

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Tony Bandiera Jr
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 - posted 10-05-2008 12:12 AM      Profile for Tony Bandiera Jr   Email Tony Bandiera Jr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jhawk, That's true and the items you mentioned are quite successful and of great quality. But remember that the output of those devices will interface readily with virtually any monitor or display device. And I do believe that Sony is not the only maker of Betacam, digicam and HDcam tape. [Smile]

But as for the projectors...what about 4k? Is it going to be something that ONLY Sony's servers will interface with?

My big issue is that it will become an albatross like Beta home VCRS, and to some extent SDDS, and historically any format or system that tries to be exclusive will fail in the marketplace, with very rare exceptions.

In the article in the original post, if a theatre chain signs on with Sony's proposal, does that mean they can only play digital content from Fox and Paramount? That's how it looks from here, even if the hardware does support other studio's product. I can see a conflict where Fox and/or Paramount places pressure on the exhibitors to play thier product over someone elses.

This kind of thing, and the fact that digital projector technology keeps evolving, meaning that this 4k machine will become obsolete when the 8k machines come out, all make me maintain that the industry is extremely stupid to push for a technology with few tangible benefits(*) when we already have a world-wide standard in 35mm that is more than adequate to the task. The only ones who profits from this are the studios in saving film costs. Everyone else, including the fine projectionists here and the paying public, get the royal [sex]

* And don't give me any lines of crap like Oh, with [dlp] we can run alternate content at our cinemas like sports events, etc. Any person with common sense will either pay to go to the event or watch it at home, with drinks and food not a problem, rather than trek to a cinema and pay through the nose. [Smile] Alternate content is NOT going to save the cinema industry. Better quality of films (artistically and maintaing higher standards of FILM projection) along with closing the window to DVD will help bolster the cinema industry. Any thing else is just more [bs]

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John Hawkinson
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 - posted 10-05-2008 09:31 AM      Profile for John Hawkinson   Email John Hawkinson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Umm, I feel like I'm missing something.

Sony's SXRD is a released product.

It accepts multiple DVI-D inputs, multiple HD-SDI inputs, and also component inputs (and probably other stuff, including whatever HDMI variant for DCI, or whatever).

It doesn't seem terribly proprietary.

--jhawk

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Steve Guttag
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 - posted 10-05-2008 10:29 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
John,

The page you linked to is showing the now obsoleted R and S versions of the projectors...the new "T" versions are do out by the end of the year. The "T" version will be HDCP compliant.

If you get the Cinema version (CineAlta)...forget about alternative content. Because LinkEncryption is TIs...Sony's current solution to copy protection is to have the server encased with the projector (as you can see from the CineAlta version)...thereby physically preventing one from connecting to the video stream. Can it be circumvented? I'm sure...but that is their current solution.

While I would discount Sony's staying power in the Cinema market...I wouldn't discount LCoS as a worthy competitor to DLP as an imaging technology...especially in bridging the gap to get cinemas to 4K. If you ever get a chance to do a serious shoot out between 2K and 4K digital projection...as I have....you'd be taken aback by the image improvement that 4K brings. Even a layperson, from the audience perspective, can perceive the increased in resolution, decrease in pixel spacing and such. DLP has a rather largish pixel spacing...it has to allow for the pivoting mirrors. For color...DLP remains King, for now.

Steve

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Bruce Hansen
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 - posted 10-05-2008 01:05 PM      Profile for Bruce Hansen   Email Bruce Hansen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Another thing that the marketing morons have not figured out, is that 3D has come and gone several times already. I think that one of the main reasons, is that most 3D movies are made just to show off 3D effects, and the movie itself sucks. At first people will go to see this, because it's new and different; but will stop going when the 3D new-ness has worn off, and they figure out that there is nothing to the movies themselves. It sounds like to studios are betting a lot on something that is not going to last.

I think they are also thinking about the life of a 35MM projector, not the life of a video projector. Due to the constant march of technology, and the (I believe) shorter life of a video projector, I think the 8 to 10 year pay off is way too long.

This whole thing is greed based. Greed is an emotion. When you make a decision based on emotions, you are not using your intellect. Emotional decisions are always wrong decisions.

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Louis Bornwasser
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 - posted 10-05-2008 01:31 PM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Lose the glasses, and 3D will become the norm. With the glasses, it is now, and will forever be, a fad. Louis

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Geena Phillips
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 - posted 10-15-2008 12:43 AM      Profile for Geena Phillips   Author's Homepage   Email Geena Phillips   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
And don't give me any lines of crap like Oh, with [dlp] we can run alternate content at our cinemas like sports events, etc. Any person with common sense will either pay to go to the event or watch it at home, with drinks and food not a problem, rather than trek to a cinema and pay through the nose.
Honestly, Tony, listen to what you're saying. All issues with digital cinema aside, do you seriously mean to advance the notion that a business which is able to offer more to its customers is NOT improving its position in the marketplace? Even without digital, or so much as basic video, projection, we've managed to do pretty well on booking non-theatrical events and presentations.

And you couldn't be more wrong about sporting events, especially for venues that have good food and drink options. I saw the SuperBowl at an AMC location in 1999, and even with the crappy video presentation there was back then, and free admission (which is generally assumed to bring out the cheapskates), that place couldn't keep food and drink orders filled fast enough.

For smaller venues, especially those stiff competition from the big chains like we have here, alternate content can be a VERY lucrative proposition. Digital projection is just one more tool to make theatres attractive to those customers.

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Joe Redifer
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 - posted 10-15-2008 03:36 AM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Tony Bandiera Jr
Mashushita(?) was smart enough to offer VHS manufacturing licenses right out of the gate.
JVC.

quote: Tony Bandiera Jr
Toshiba just re-learned that lesson with thier Hi-Def dvd format.
Except HD DVD was inferior. It deserved its fate. Toshiba is an extremely sore loser if I ever saw one.

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Tony Bandiera Jr
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 - posted 10-15-2008 01:32 PM      Profile for Tony Bandiera Jr   Email Tony Bandiera Jr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Joe, IIRC Mashushita is (was?) the parent company of JVC. So we're both right. [Big Grin]

As for Toshiba, I never really dug into the specs of either format so I guess that would be part of the reason it died. But remember that VHS IS inferior to Betamax and guess who won? So as far as Joe Consumer is concerned, I don't think the inferior quality killed HiDef DVD.

It's all about marketing...and stupid decisions made by suits who have lost all touch with reality.

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 10-15-2008 07:17 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Tony Bandiera Jr
Mashushita is (was?) the parent company of JVC.
Nope. They are two distinct companies. And, it's "Matsushita." As of October 1, the company was renamed Panasonic Corporation, after its most famous brand which has been around since the mid 1950s.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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 - posted 10-15-2008 07:56 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Actually I attended the very first VHS "Repair Seminar" at Panasonic's Secaucus Headquarters way back in the mid 70's! At that seminar we were told that Sony actually developed the azimuth helical scannig system (VHS) but then abandoned it as to low of quality. MAtsushita who was a giant compared to Sony then(and still is) picked it up and perfected it and marketed it as VHS.

Mark

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 10-15-2008 08:30 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I used to sell quite a bit of Panasonic stuff - and Technics too, back when we had an "audio room." It was good product. I have a pair of Technics speakers from the '70s that still sound great.

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