More digital projectors, coming to a theater near you

posted by Michael Zoldessy on June 23, 2009 at 7:37 am

This piece in the New York Times discusses the differences between 2K and 4K digital projection.

Movie theaters throughout the world are shedding their old film projectors and installing digital versions. Digital cinema offers pristine, scratch-free, rock-solid images and super-sharp pictures.

In the fight for digital cinema product share, Sony has made 4K resolution its signature difference between it and Texas Instruments, its rival in the field. According to Sony, 4K, with four times as many pixels on the screen compared with T.I.’s 2K technology, offers a far sharper image, which will draw consumers back to the movies.

Comments (10)

Giles on June 23, 2009 at 11:06 am

well Texas Instruments aren’t idiots, 4K is in the cards from them as well:

(from DCinema):

Texas Instruments (TI) (NYSE: TXN) DLP Cinema® announced plans today to incorporate enhanced 4K technology as an extension of the next generation electronics platform for DLP Cinema projectors. Texas Instruments is recognized as the cinema technology provider offering solutions with low operating costs, and its inclusion of another resolution gives exhibitors worldwide the widest variety of options to fit their needs and screen sizes. TI will continue to innovate on and further the development of its DLP Cinema 2K chips which are indisputably the industry standard with nearly 11,000 installations globally.

Texas Instruments will deliver the enhanced DLP Cinema 4K chip to its licensees, Barco, Christie Digital and NEC which will extend the breadth of products to exhibitors to over 12 projector models. All projectors with the next generation DLP Cinema electronics platform, regardless of the resolution, will have the leading attributes for which DLP Cinema products are known, including precise DCI compliant colors, superior contrast ratios and light output necessary to illuminate the largest auditoriums. The solutions provide the capability to light up theatre screens as big as 100 feet and 3D screens as big as 75 feet, which has been a challenge for competing technologies.

Cinemark’s chief executive officer Alan Stock said, “Based on our decade of experience with DLP Cinema technology, its unmatched reliability has made it our exclusive platform of choice for 4K deployments. With no limitations on resolution, DLP Cinema allows Cinemark to truly deliver the highest-quality image to our customers.”

“Texas Instruments is proud of its contributions to the cinema industry and is absolutely committed to further innovation through DLP Cinema,” said Kent Novak, senior vice president and general manager of DLP Products. “DLP Cinema remains dedicated to its customers, and through shipping millions of units we are able to provide a significantly lower cost structure in comparison with our competitors.”

Previously announced at ShoWest 2009, the next generation DLP Cinema electronics platform combines the three boards needed to produce images into a single board. The result is a lower cost solution to DLP Cinema’s three OEM licensees. The next generation DLP Cinema platform works seamlessly with over eight server solutions and multiple 3D platforms.

DLP Cinema projection technology is installed in nearly 11,000 screens on every continent except Antarctica. Today there are over 4,300 worldwide screens that offer digital 3D with the use of every pixel array in the frame for the brightest picture unlike other technologies in the industry. Since last year’s introduction, IMAX® digital projection systems powered by DLP Cinema projectors have reached a total of 83 locations worldwide.

Giles on June 23, 2009 at 11:55 am

here’s Christie’s press release:

“Christie Introduces New 4K DLP Cinema® Product Line for 2010”

Industry Leader Supports Exhibitors with Five New 2K & 4K Resolution Projectors

Christie, the world leader in digital cinema projection, is pleased to introduce the new Christie Solaria™ series digital cinema projectors, based on Texas Instruments' (TI) (NYSE: TXN) industry-preferred and proven DLP Cinema® technology. The five new products in the series offer a wide range of resolution and brightness levels for exhibitors who require projection from the smallest to the largest screens. The new product line includes the Christie CP2210, Christie CP2220 and the Christie CP2230 —– all available at 2K and 4K-ready; as well as Christie’s premium 4K projectors for screens up to 100 feet: the Christie CP4220 and the Christie CP4230, delivering an unprecedented 30,000 lumens of brightness.

All projectors in the Christie Solaria series utilize Texas Instruments' next generation electronics which are designed to meet the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) requirements. Each of the five projectors feature a new modular architecture for improved serviceability and ease of maintenance, an optional integrated media block, and incorporate Christie’s Brilliant3D™ technology for the most realistic and brightest 3D presentations. Additionally, due to the ability to deliver higher brightness with lower power lamps, all current and next generation Christie projectors offer up to 25% lower cost of operation than competing technologies.

“The successful implementation of more than 7,000 installations around the world has provided us with a unique wealth of knowledge and experience. We’ve achieved 99.999% reliability and have presented more than 10 million digital screenings; however, when we look beyond the numbers, our most critical learning has come from our exhibitor partners,” said Jack Kline, president and chief operating officer, Christie Digital Systems USA, Inc.

Kline continued, “As we move into the second decade of digital cinema projection, we recognize the need for our exhibitor partners to have an even wider choice of projectors to address the dynamic market landscape. Our current product line will continue to meet both exhibition and studios' immediate demand for both 2D and 3D presentations —-and in 2010 and beyond, our Solaria series will meet our customers expanded needs for choice in brightness, resolution and cost of operation. Based on the knowledge gained from our current worldwide installed base, we estimate that 80% of all screens will be 2K and the balance will be 4K for larger screens.”

The Christie CP2210, Christie CP2220 and the Christie CP2230 will be available in the first half of 2010. The Christie CP4220 and CP4230 will be available in the second half of 2010. Exhibitors interested in learning more about Christie’s full product line are invited to contact their Christie account manager.

Giles on June 23, 2009 at 11:57 am

and from Cinemark/Barco:

“Cinemark and Barco Sign Exclusive Partnership for the Delivery of Enhanced DLP Cinema® 4K Digital Projection”

This partnership continues Barco’s position as leader in the Digital Cinema market in the years to come

Digital cinema pioneer Barco is proud to announce that Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK), the world’s second largest motion picture exhibitor, has entered into an exclusive agreement with Barco. As part of this agreement, Cinemark is also partnering with the DLP Cinema® product group from Texas Instruments (TI) (NYSE: TXN) and media server provider Doremi to secure the industry’s best-in-class and brightest digital cinema solution. This group of partners, representing more than 100 years in combined cinema expertise, will employ the full spectrum of Barco’s upcoming new family of enhanced DLP Cinema next generation 4K projectors.

Cinemark plans to deploy digital cinema as part of the DCIP initiative. More than 3,000 digital projectors are to be installed in nearly 300 theater sites throughout the US, which include Cinemark’s Century, Cine Arts and Tinseltown brands. Every theater will show the industry’s biggest and brightest images, projected from Barco DLP powered projectors and driven by Doremi’s 4K integrated media block. The agreement also includes plans for Cinemark’s international locations in Latin America, which would bring the overall deployment to more than 4,600 screens.

“Cinemark has selected Barco not only for the quality of their projectors, but because they have the ability to partner with our team throughout the conversion process from 35mm to digital,” said Alan Stock, CEO of Cinemark Holdings, Inc. “We strongly support the DLP technology brought by our partners Barco and Texas Instruments as we believe it is the best in the industry in terms of quality, reliability and value. This will provide our customers the best viewing experience available.”

“We are thrilled in delivering the world’s first Barco DLP Cinema 4K solution to Cinemark” says Wim Buyens, VP business development for Barco Digital Cinema. Cinemark’s best-in-class solution will be based upon the marriage of proven DLP digital micro-mirror chipsets, in conjunction with Barco’s modular projector design, lighting up the biggest screens in the industry as large as 100 feet.

“Barco’s proven track record and commitment to digital cinema is a message that has resonated with Cinemark. Their team rigorously tested our projectors as well as our organization for service, training and long-term support,” noted Scott Freidberg, VP of Sales for Barco in North America. “We wanted to redefine the standard buyer/supplier model, and as we move forward with this world-class exhibitor, our mandate is to continue providing customers the best viewing experience and customer service possible.”

“The scope of this new partnership with Cinemark is impressive, both in quality and quantity, and we are honored to be selected as their exclusive digital cinema projection provider,” said Eric Van Zele, CEO of Barco. “The partnership perfectly underscores the principles by which we operate — the quality and reliability of our core technology, and the remarkable relationships that we build with our customers. These are the key reasons why we were selected by Cinemark, and in fact they are the fundamental qualities we uphold towards all of our customers.”

moviebuff82 on June 23, 2009 at 4:23 pm

This along with Sony’s 4k rollout in many AMC and Regal theaters will make most theaters digital ready by 2012. The independent theaters who don’t have the money to buy digital projection will lose money and close shop.

markp on June 24, 2009 at 9:26 am

Yea. Digital. No comment.

SimonXOverton on June 24, 2009 at 9:42 am

To the smaller movie houses who are not able to jump into the “digital” age and stay with the good old celluloid prints, but still do NOT have that sharp picture, etc… I have three (plus)suggestions…

1… CLEAN your projectors thoroughly EVERY day.

2… CLEAN the port/window on BOTH sides.

3… ADJUST the screen masking to fit the picture and PLEASE loose that furry edge -it drives me nuts!!!

Plus, if you have CURTAINS… use them. That’s SHOW BUSINESS!

Giles on June 24, 2009 at 10:04 am

but to comment on your comment Justin Fencsak and I’ve been beating a dead horse over this issue, the industry simply has NOT addressed the fact that not all the studios have yet to release their product ‘digitally’ – why make the conversion when the only digital product has been largely released from the major Hollywood studios? (However I’ve yet to see a Sony Classics release released as such). If and when 4K becomes readily more available, maybe and I hope the 2K systems come down in price for independent theatres. DCI is so busy trying to get the major chains the budget and means to convert to digital, but I’ve yet to hear of any other sort of committee to bring down the price of said systems to the theatres that need it the most – the independents. Case in point, why would the Landmark theatres chain install digital systems, when a good 75% of the films they book are 35mm releases only.

markp on June 24, 2009 at 7:40 pm

You have to forgive Justin, Giles. I’m sure he is a very nice person, and he and I have gone back and forth on a lot of issues here on CT. But he does not work in the industry as I have for the past 34 years. He loves Digital, he sees it as the end-all-be-all. Someone like me sees 35 or 70MM and says, whats wrong with this. But thats what makes this forum so wonderful. They have their opinion, and we have ours. Personally, I dont see film going away for a long time. I could be wrong. I hope I’m not. Time will tell.

MPol on June 24, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Ouch!! Here’s hoping that this:

“The independent theaters who don’t have the money to buy digital projection will lose money and close shop.”

doesn’t befall the Coolidge Theatre, the Brattle Theatre, or the Somerville Theatre, as these are now the ONLY independent movie theatres in our area!

Giles on September 30, 2009 at 11:04 am

in and around the DC area two new Sony 4K 3D systems just debuted at Gallery Place (screen 12) and Regal Bethesda 10 (screen 8) – now if AMC can get it’s butt in gear and give my neighborhood theatre, Mazza Galleria a 3D system – I’d be very very happy.

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