Studios and Theater Owners Aim at Digital Delivery

Publish date:

Movie studios and movie theater owners are teaming up to roll out digital cinema technology to theaters nationwide, specifically aiming at replacing the physical delivery of movies in film cans or hard drives with file-based digital delivery.

Warner Bros. Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Digital Cinema Implementation Partners (DCIP), a new company owned equally by Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Entertainment Inc., and Cinemark USA, have formed a joint venture that will "evaluate and implement the most efficient form of digital delivery for digital cinema."

Since DCIP represents some 14,000 screens nationwide, that could represent a significant development for digital cinema, which is available in over 500 theaters nationwide today. Indirectly, it could also boost the presentation of HDTV content live in movie theaters. There are some 25 digital cinema theaters today capable of displaying live HD content. Recently, the Metropolitan Opera in New York has received a strong response for live viewings of its performances, and the NBA has experimented with similar technology to show 3D broadcasts of its games.

The companies involved in the joint venture say they will seek to develop the "most cost-effective form of digital content delivery," whether through satellite distribution or terrestrial links. The delivery system they develop will be open and available to any content provider, vendor or exhibitor, they add.

“Utilizing digital distribution technologies to support digital cinema seems like a natural progression and complementary to the roll-out of projection systems that is currently taking place,” said Darcy Antonellis, Warner Bros.’ Executive Vice President, Distribution and Technology Operations, in a statement. “We’re excited by the opportunities we will have to identify and implement the most effective, cost-efficient means for delivery of our films.”