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Seven Studios Form Venture to Promote Digital Cinema

2 Apr, 2002 By: Hive News

Seven major studios – Disney, Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros.– today announced creation of an entity to develop technical standards for digital cinema technology.

The stated purpose of the effort is to ensure a high-quality digital movie viewing experience and to facilitate the deployment of digital projection equipment in movie theaters nationwide.

Initial plans include adopting technical standards that ensure competing digital exhibition formats are open, compatible, and interoperable; establishing benchmarks to ensure a uniformly high level of technical performance and quality control; and considering strategies to spur deployment of digital exhibition systems in movie theaters nationwide.

"We strongly believe that digital film exhibition will significantly improve the moviegoing experience for the publicDigital technology guarantees that all patrons can enjoy the highest-quality film experience regardless of the venue or whether they are attending the first showing of a film or the 50th," said a joint statement from the studios. "To bring the benefits of this technology to the public on a large scale basis, there needs to be industrywide standards so that movie producers, exhibitors, and equipment manufacturers can be confident that their products and services are interoperable and compatible with the products and services of all industry participants."

The digital format is not subject to the wear and tear that typically affects traditional film that is subjected to multiple showings over a period of weeks or months. Digital movies retain very high image and audio quality throughout a theatrical run.

Digital exhibition also improves the efficiencies of distribution to theaters using satellite links, fiber optic networks, or DVD-ROM to deliver feature films securely and cost-effectively.

A small management team for the venture is expected to be announced within the next few months. Out of a potential 150,000 screens in North America, South America, Australia, Europe and Asia, there are currently only about 50 cinema-grade digital projection systems. Nonetheless, 35 films from 13 distributors have been presented in the digital format to more than 4 million moviegoers, with distributors releasing additional movies on an ongoing basis.

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