It’s Official: TI Targets 4K; Cinemark Makes Deal

By Carolyn Giardina | June 17, 2009 11:21 pm PDT

It’s official: On the heels of our previous Celluloid Junkie post on this subject, TI announced that it plans to develop 4K as an extension of its next-gen DLP Cinema projection technology.

The new platform—which TI said would comply with the DCI spec—is slated to launch at the end of the year and initially support 2K. TI aims to offer 4K sometime in 2010.

Meanwhile, Barco inked a deal to deploy TI’s developing 4K technology to the Cinemark theater chain—a notable move, as additional DCIP members Regal and AMC both recently announced deals with Sony.

“Regal and AMC are no stranger to DLP Cinema,” said Nancy Fares, business manager for DLP Cinema Products Group. “I hope this will give them an option to think about.”

Fares reported that a 1.2 inch 4K chip would be developed and released first, “but there are not limitations.” She added that TI would also continue 2K development. 4K, she said, would offer choices, including support for 2D screens as big as 100 feet, and 3D screens as big as 75 feet. It’s not expected that the developing technology will be able to be retrofitted to the current system.

Even before the announcement was made, speculation about the impact of such news was beginning. Some ask if a 4K announcement would potentially slow the pace of 2K installations. Meanwhile, a few well placed sources have questioned if TI will be able to have 4K technology ready in 2010.

According to TI, DLP Cinema technology is installed at 6,000 2K digital screens in North America. Sony has deployed several hundred of its systems.

As to screen count for the DCIP partners, Regal represents 6,775 screens, and AMC, 4,628 screens. Cinemark offers 3,814 screens in the U.S. and 1,032 in Latin America.

Public demos and side by side comparisons of the developing TI technology are currently not anticipated.

In other news, RealD has inked deals to forward 3D deployment in Austria and Germany.
Austrian cinema chain Cineplexx GmbH plans to add RealD 3D capabilities to 100 of its nearly 200 screens. The rollout will begin immediately on 15 screens, with an additional 45 screens to be equipped by the end of September and the remaining screens upgraded within the year.
RealD similarly partnered with Greater Union Filmpalast, operator of Germany’s Cinestar circuit, to launch its 3D rollout in the German market. Per the multiyear exclusive agreement, rollout begins immediately.
Real D reported that it now has 8,000 screens under contract and over 2,900 screens installed.