What are digital cinema manufacturers up to

By Patrick von Sychowski | September 28, 2007 4:22 pm PDT

Bill MeadDCinematoday‘s creator and editor Bill Mead casts a State-of-the-Union eye on the activities of all the different digital cinema equipment manufacturers in this article from Film Journal International. The conclusion is the most interesting thing about the article:

Overall, digital cinema vendors should be pleased with the progress they have made in the past few years. The projector manufacturers have transitioned from basic designs to now having complete families of DCI-specified 2K projectors that address a wide range of screen sizes and operator needs at more reasonable price points. The server manufacturers also have done an extraordinary job keeping up with evolving requirements, moving their original products from incompatible MPEG formats to those now universally supporting the DCI-specified interoperable JPEG2000 format. While the equipment prices may still be higher than desired, we should keep in mind the significant R&D commitments made by these companies to bring us the products that now deliver the image quality and overall reliability required to move the cinema exhibition industry into the future.

However, Bill is too much of a gentleman to say the most obvious, which is that five years from now half of the server companies will be out of this market. With just over 100,000 cinema screens world wide, there can at most be room for three or four server makers. If you doubt this, think about how many digital sound formats there are for cinema and generously double the figure. If I was a betting man I would say Dolby, Doremi, Qube plus possibly A.N.Other (which could be Sony, who bundle their 4K server with their 4K projector) are the front runners not to get swept out of this business in the next couple of years. (Image courtesy of Kodak)

Patrick von Sychowski
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