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UK to Build Network of 150 Digital Cinemas 200

mikael writes "According to this article at the BBC, a network of 250 digital screens in 150 cinemas across the country is being planned. Each film is losslessly compressed from 1 Terabyte down to 100 Gigabytes and encrypted onto a portable hard disk drive with a key unique to each cinema, which is then delivered to the cinema. Each cinema projector will be capable of showing films at resolutions of 2048 x 1080 pixels. "The key benefit is the distribution and screening of documentaries, British and foreign language films, as making a digital copy is considerably cheaper than spending over £1500 pounds to make a copy of a single film". Other benefits include better picture quality and the ability to show more films each day." The UK Film Council has a brief overview of the project as well.
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UK to Build Network of 150 Digital Cinemas

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  • by ICECommander ( 811191 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @01:34PM (#11788154)
    will a 100GB digital to DivX rip take?
    • Re:Now how long (Score:5, Interesting)

      by HawkinsD ( 267367 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @01:46PM (#11788229)
      Presumably each file is digitally watermarked, so that rips could be identified as having originated in one particular projection booth.

      So... what do you do, as a theater owner, knowing that your ass is personally on the line if pirate copies of your copy of the movie appear?

      If it were my theater, I'd have the only key to the server room, which would be the only place that the hard drive would do any good.

      Since the data has to flow from the server room to the projector when the movie is being shown, I'd enforce access logs on the server, so I could tell if the file had been read at times other than showtime.

      But that still doesn't stop the $8/hour projectionist from installing a device that intercepts the data, copies it, and then passes it along to the projector.

      Are there such things as video projectors that accept an encrypted stream of data?

      • Re:Now how long (Score:2, Interesting)

        by LnxAddct ( 679316 )
        If its found to be watermarked, the scheme becomes slightly more complex. If the watermark is undetectable, or not easily able to be found (which they aren't supposed to be, correct?) You need someone else at another unrelated theater to grab a digital copy as well. Assuming both are digital copies, then a frame by frame comparison should point out any watermarks. A little manual (or scripted) touching up will take care of it.
        Regards,
        Steve
        • Re:Now how long (Score:3, Insightful)

          by HawkinsD ( 267367 )
          Wow, that's a really good idea. But the person doing the copying would have to give a crap about whether it was traceable.

          The more I think about this, the less I would want to be a theater owner with one of these machines. To much opportunity to get sued into oblivion.

        • Re:Now how long (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Assuming both are digital copies, then a frame by frame comparison should point out any watermarks.

          Not necessarily!

          Assume the pixels of the movie come in a stream M. Now assume you have a pseudorandom sequence P1 that tells you which pixels to add your watermark data to. That gives you a pixel stream M' which is mostly zeros except for the watermark. You distribute M + M' = M1 to the first theatre.

          Now do the same with another copy of the movie, with a different pseudorandom sequence P2. This sequenc

      • Re: encrypted stream (Score:5, Informative)

        by anticypher ( 48312 ) <anticypher@NOSPAm.gmail.com> on Saturday February 26, 2005 @03:25PM (#11788869) Homepage
        Are there such things as video projectors that accept an encrypted stream of data?

        Yes, which is what these systems will be using. Fraunhofer-gessellschaft (of MP3 encoder fame) is the technology behind these projectors. The stream is encrypted the entire length of the data path until it hits the electronics driving the LCD screen. Each server has a key built in, supposedly impossible to recover without destroying the system. Each film to be distributed is encrypted with both a master key, and the private half of the projector's key. There are several stages of decryption, allowing a mostly uncompressed and decrypted stream to be presented to the final stage electronics. The decryption at the projector stage is lightweight, as it is less likely to be subjected to a significant cryptographic attack because it relies on having fully authenticated equipment elsewhere in the chain.

        The servers regularly contact an authentication centre, so that audits can be made as to the number of showings. The servers also come with tamper-resistant housings which then disable the system until it can once again contact the auth centre. There is a bunch of other security stuff, the projectors are never sold, but only licensed to the theatre for a fixed time and have to be returned or inspected at regular intervals.

        From the article, it sounds like they only have the "medium" quality screens going in, at 2k by 1k pixels. This means they'll only be installed in smaller theatres, because such low resolution looks really bad on larger screens. Also, the compression isn't lossless, like the /. summary said, but near-lossless, probably a Fraunhofer MP4 encoding set to a medium to high quality setting.

        F-G will be showing off these projectors this year at CeBit, according to marketing bumpf I got from them recently. This BBC story is probably based on a press release from the building tsunami of announcements leading up to CeBit.

        the AC
        • Does anyone else find it ridiculous that we are turning our theaters' projection booths into a storage facility like the one for the Declaration of Independence?
        • The stream is encrypted the entire length of the data path until it hits the electronics driving the LCD screen. Each server has a key built in, supposedly impossible to recover without destroying the system. Each film to be distributed is encrypted with both a master key, and the private half of the projector's key.
          The public half, surely?
      • Re:Now how long (Score:3, Insightful)

        by whitis ( 310873 )

        Are there such things as video projectors that accept an encrypted stream of data?

        The article mentions custom projectors so I suspect that is exactly what they are going to do. A fairly standard projector may be packaged with the decryption and possibly decompression apparatus in a tamper resistant enclosure that not only is secured by high security locks but also has the private key stored in battery backed RAM with tamper switches that remove power to the RAM when the case is opened. The projecto

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 26, 2005 @01:34PM (#11788156)
    The Cinerama called, and would like to welcome them to the 21st century.
  • Digital vs. Film (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Orphaze ( 243436 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @01:35PM (#11788165) Homepage
    Isn't 2048 x 1080 significantly less than regular movie film as far as resolution goes?
    • Re:Digital vs. Film (Score:5, Informative)

      by EnderWigginsXenocide ( 852478 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @01:38PM (#11788188) Homepage
      Film canned at 3000DPI is assumed to have all useable details captured. If the film this is replacing is 35mm (1 x 1.5 inches)then a resolution of 3000x4500 is required for replacement. 2048x1080 falls a bit short.
      • Re:Digital vs. Film (Score:5, Informative)

        by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @01:46PM (#11788225)
        Um, one slight problem. If you shoot digital and project digigtal, the final projected image is what you shot in the camera with an extra compression step on top.

        If you shoot 35mm film, you get your negative, you cut the negative, you create a duplicate of the negative, then you create more duplicate negatives from that, then you finally create prints from those duplicate negatives. So by the time it gets to the cinema screen it's not unusual for a 35mm print to have gone through four or five _analogue_ copying stages from the original film negative.

        As a result, the resolution of a final 35mm print is almost certainly substantially less than 2048x1080, whereas digital holds that resolution from start to finish (absent crappy compression schemes).
        • Re:Digital vs. Film (Score:5, Interesting)

          by badasscat ( 563442 ) <basscadet75@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Saturday February 26, 2005 @02:04PM (#11788334)
          If you shoot 35mm film, you get your negative, you cut the negative, you create a duplicate of the negative, then you create more duplicate negatives from that, then you finally create prints from those duplicate negatives. So by the time it gets to the cinema screen it's not unusual for a 35mm print to have gone through four or five _analogue_ copying stages from the original film negative.

          Er, ignoring digital editing systems that cut at least one step out of that process, I'm not sure where you're getting "four or five" analogue copying stages even out of your own example.

          "You get your negative" - this is the original film. "You cut your negative" - this is still the original film. "You create a duplicate of the negative" - ok, this is copy 1. "You create more duplicate negatives" - this is copy 2. You're not making copies of copies, you're making a bunch of copies from one original. "You finally create prints from those duplicate negatives" - this is copy 3. So, only three copies are made through the most laborious process possible - and digital editing systems cut one copy out of that.

          Not to mention that film has been around for more than 100 years and so much R&D and technological advancement has gone into it over that time that the quality loss is really minimal through every stage. Sure, if you kept making copies of copies of copies of copies, eventually you'd see a real resolution difference from the original; but you won't in any commercial film.

          As a result, the resolution of a final 35mm print is almost certainly substantially less than 2048x1080, whereas digital holds that resolution from start to finish (absent crappy compression schemes).

          Different film stocks have different grain properties, and it's the size and distribution of the grains (the crystals) that hold the detail in analog film. Some film stocks have more than 3,000 crystals per inch, some have less. But all would be significantly and noticeably higher in resolution and detail than 2048x1080 digital resolution even after the production process was complete and all copies made.

          I have seen several commercial films shot, edited and projected digitally - including Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and the last Star Wars. They looked good - cleaner than film prints, surely - but there was noticeable and obvious (to me) pixelization and aliasing throughout the films. Most people probably wouldn't have noticed and/or cared, especially in the absence of the analog "noise" caused by film grain, but it was clear to me that either the projection system or the films themselves did not have the actual resolution of their film counterparts. I don't know what the resolution of the projection systems used in the US is, but I doubt it's much (if at all) lower than 2048x1080.
          • I have seen several commercial films shot, edited and projected digitally - including Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
            Final Fantasy was shot digitally?!!
          • The resolutions of the different DLP systems in use in the US can vary, as TI offers different micromirror chips in different resolutions for large-venue and cinema applications. Having had the good fortune to see "Attack of the Clones" and a number of other films at the local DLP theater (at 1280x1080 IIRC), I agree with your assessment - if you look closely, you can see the pixels and aliasing, although I don't find it particularly objectionable. Overall, I find it a better experience than real film.
          • Actually (Score:5, Informative)

            by purduephotog ( 218304 ) <hirsch&inorbit,com> on Saturday February 26, 2005 @03:18PM (#11788823) Homepage Journal
            1) Original Negative
            2) Positive Negative (copy on negative masked stock)
            3) Dupe Negative (negative again) (digital editing here)
            4) Copy Negative (positive)
            5) Print Negative (shipped to theatres)

            And no, you still have lots of resolution left at that point. I know people that have made the films you speak of, and matching curves between series was one of their most prized accomplishments.

            (yes I worked for Kodak)
          • Comparing the resolution and color representation of film and current DLP (the most common cinema projection systems) is a bit misleading.

            Yes, clean film stock run on properly maintained and configured equipment is currently superior to DLP in resolution and color representation, not to mention the random ordering of the grain which increases apparent resolution further.

            However, most film is poorly cared for and projected on equipment that is outdated, misconfigured, or broken.

            One of the three cinemas in
        • As a result, the resolution of a final 35mm print is almost certainly substantially less than 2048x1080

          Suppose the screen is 10 meters wide. Then each of those 2048 pixels are going to be about 5mm square, which I think would be fairly noticable from anywhere near the front of the theater...

      • 2048x1080 should be enough to look better than 35mm in most situations. Film scanned at 4k produces a blurry, grainy 4k image. Film scanned at 2k from original negatives is still somewhat soft and grainy, and the actual part that makes it into the final projection is a cropped version of the 35mm film (and at 2:1) it would be severely cropped) Digital projection at that resolution will be much better because it doesn't have the generation loss from 2nd and 3rd generation prints that are shown in theatres,
      • Re:Digital vs. Film (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Zeinfeld ( 263942 )
        Film canned at 3000DPI is assumed to have all useable details captured. If the film this is replacing is 35mm (1 x 1.5 inches)then a resolution of 3000x4500 is required for replacement. 2048x1080 falls a bit short.

        Although 35mm photography and cinema use the same film stock the orientation is different. Still photography has the long side of the image parallel to the direction of the film advance. Cinema (except for IMAX) has the image oriented perpendicular. So the image area is about 0.75 x 1" or 2250 x

    • Re:Digital vs. Film (Score:3, Informative)

      by JKR ( 198165 )
      Yes, it's rougly equal to US HDTV in terms of resolution - good, but significantly worse than film when projected several metres across. The vertical line spacing is going to be approximately 3mm...

      Jon.
      • by mcc ( 14761 ) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Saturday February 26, 2005 @03:05PM (#11788741) Homepage
        "Roughly equal to US HDTV"?

        Well that's it then, isn't it?

        It honestly seems lately like the film industry is trying to do absolutely everything in their power to dissuade me from going to movies. They show me loud and annoying commercials from the moment I walk in the theatre until 10 minutes after the movie is supposed to start, then show MPAA trailers that literally outright insult me mixed in with the previews. I have to go see the movie when they demand it, since anything that hasn't made a bajillion dollars by the end of the first weekend gets pulled from theaters permanently these days. And they've started overlaying on some-- but we don't know which!-- projections a bizarre flickering that is apparently enough to obliterate any attempt to film the movie, but we're for some reason supposed to believe won't consciously or subconsciously effect our enjoyment of the movie.

        Now apparently they're going to start showing us nothing more than HDTV on a really big screen. And they're expecting us to pay a premium price for this.

        Ever since The Commercials Unending started I've found it increasingly difficult to make myself go to the movies even when there's something out I want to see. Pretty soon I don't think I'm going to be able to make myself go at all.
        • Re:Digital vs. Film (Score:3, Interesting)

          by SunFan ( 845761 )

          Outside of big releases with people dressed up like Jar Jar for the opening night and $1 family day at the movies, movie theatres are largely obselete. Last time we went to a movie, we ended up spending $25 for two people for, what, two hours? Amusement parks are cheaper per hour than that, and even they are way too expensive! ($50+/person/day to hug Mickey is just plain idiotic, IMO)

        • Re:Digital vs. Film (Score:2, Informative)

          by cybercyph ( 221022 )
          I completely agree with your post. Living in Hollywood, I have the luxery of having options-- I personally only watch films at The Arclight, where you pay slightly more than elsewhere, but don't have to put up with ads. The glass on their projectors is 100 times better than the theaters i grew up with, and it shows.

          The film industry will see this sort of backlash, when HD goes mainstream, and it will innovate. The theaters wil turn away from what they have become, or many will fail. When TV first came out,
          • A note and a question:

            The digital projector at Grauman's Chinese Theater is probably the best in town, as far as lumens go at least.

            I was under the impression that most major releases were using a DI process now days?
      • US HDTV is under 19 Mbps MPEG-2 compression, and I've seen some DBS providers go down to near 10 Mbps (yuck!).

        For Digital Cinema, they are actually talking about much better quality (even if the resolution is the same)
    • I saw the movie "National Treasure" on a 2048x1080 digital cinema projector. Resolution looked fine to me; it was the contrast level that suffered a bit. But overall, the image was as good as you typically get from a mainstream theater.
    • Yes. If it's anything like the Star Wars Episode 2 I saw in digital a few years ago, it will be obvious to the viewer that they are looking at a big-ass HDTV projector instead of a film.
  • Is when will it be in my LIVING ROOM *drools at high res goodness*
  • Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SafteyMan ( 860733 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @01:37PM (#11788180)
    From the Article:

    The new network will double the world's total of digital screens.

    Wow, thats pretty impressive. i'm actually quite jealous. I wonder how long it will take for the states to get anything close to that.

    • Anshutz is rather intersting. He is major stockholder in Qwest (until he finally gets thrown in jail for all the qwest stuff that pulled). As part of that, he was trying to figure out how to fill the pipelines that he has all over the country. and the Answer: send digital movies. So now, he is busy buying movie houses under the name of regal and getting ready to turn them digital. All of them will be filled via qwest lines (or some local if qwest is not in area).
    • As the imperial monkey seems to be oblivious to the importance of the fall of the dollar, at this rate we'll see more digital screns in tirana, chisinau, and bishkek before we see them in ralleigh durham.

      / oh, who am i kidding? the US spends every last penny on useless entertainment gadgetry.

    • Dont worry, I'm sure the big features will still come out in the US several weeks before they appear here in the UK.

      I went to Arizona to see The Phantom Menace before it came out over here. Sheesh was that a disappointment. At least I did get to see the Grand Canyon, which wasn't...

  • by mcg1969 ( 237263 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @01:38PM (#11788182)
    Subject says it all. There's something fishy about a feature film at 1080p24 compressed "losslessly" down to 100GB. That's 573GB (yes, bytes) per hour uncomrpessed, assuming 24 bits per pixel. Even D5 compression isn't lossless, and that's 5:1.
  • by Kip Winger ( 547075 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @01:38PM (#11788184) Homepage
    Converting even raw RGB video down to 1/10 the size, while leaving it lossless, is currently not possible using any compression known to man.

    To get anywhere near that much, you have to at least convert it to the sum of cosines using Fast Fourier Transformation, which, since it distorts the data by converting it to not the exact amounts but the nearest amounts, is inherently lossy.

    Any programmers in the UK want to start a lawsuit for false adverts?

    • Fiona Deans, associate director of AADC, said the compression was visually lossless so no picture degradation will occur.

      The devil's in the details

  • You know... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Creepy Crawler ( 680178 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @01:38PM (#11788185)
    Perhaps the Media Companies really DO get it, but dont want to lets us know they do..

    Still, I wonder exactly what scheme they use to play these.. And, if I work out the numbers...

    100 GB for 2 hours. Thats 7200 seconds.

    We dont know if thats GB or GiB, so lets assume its GB. 100GB/7200sec or 1 GB per 72 seconds. Thats about 13.9MB per second for all sound channels and video.

    If they really do spend THAT much on making vinal film, why not instead hook up to a fiber optic network and transmit ALL films to a server at the theater?

    • Boeing developed a system a few years back that included all of the required projection equipment and received the film via (encrypted) satellite transmission. The idea was to buy cheap unused satellite bandwidth (non-realtime delivery, so it doesn't matter if higher-priority traffic interrupts your transfer for a bit) and use that to deliver the films. I believe at the time they were talking about using about 40GB films. These were compressed with MPEG-2, and there was visible artefacting even on a plas
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 26, 2005 @01:43PM (#11788208)
    Does this mean I won't need my camcorder anymore?
  • by Bryan Ischo ( 893 ) * on Saturday February 26, 2005 @01:44PM (#11788214) Homepage
    2048 x 1080 = 2211840 pixels per frame

    3 bytes per pixel (24 bit color) = 6635520 bytes per frame

    24 frames per second (to match the framerate of regular film) = 159252480 bytes per second = 151.875 megabytes per second

    1 terabyte = 1024 * 1024 megabytes = 1048576 megabytes

    Therefore 1 terabyte is 6904.204 seconds of video

    6094.204 / 60 = 115.070 minutes of video

    That's just over 1 hour, 55 minutes of video.

    Sounds pretty reasonable for most movies; I guess they'd need 2 hard drives for movies longer than that, which I guess wouldn't add all that much to the cost of distribution since a 100 Gb hard drive is what, 50 bucks?

    I'd be more interested in learning what kind of hard drives they have that can read 151.875 Megabytes per second continuously. I'd imagine that if you don't use a filesystem and just stream raw video off of the drive it would help because the drive wouldn't do any seeking. Still, 151.875 Megabytes sustainable must require some kind of high end SCSI drive so I guess my original supposition of $50/hard drive must be off.

    I'd say that this is an idea whose time has definitely come.
    • I forgot to factor in the compression when considering how much data has to be read from the drive per second. If the compression is 10:1 like they claim then I guess it'd only be about 15 MB per second off of the drive, which is perfectly doable. I guess then the problem becomes decompressing 15 MB per second but since it's a lossless algorithm it's probably pretty easy to undo given enough memory and a decent processor.
    • If you want to read fast, you don't get one crazy-fast disk, you get several normal disks and read them in parallel.
    • I'd be more interested in learning what kind of hard drives they have that can read 151.875 Megabytes per second continuously.
      I think they use the portable HDs only for transporting the movie... For playing, the movie is probably decompressed and stored on the local RAID storage (which should be plenty fast).

      If a 2h movie just takes 100GB, this can be easily done using an IP uplink.

    • Sounds pretty reasonable for most movies; I guess they'd need 2 hard drives for movies longer than that, which I guess wouldn't add all that much to the cost of distribution since a 100 Gb hard drive is what, 50 bucks?

      152 MB/s is way outside the sustained throughput that a cheap ATA drive could do, aside from the fact that those drives have poor reliability on the whole. That's even beyond the best case scenario for a transfer from cache on a SATA drive.

      It has to be some custom hardware, and if it's a di

  • Resolution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Omnicrola ( 831720 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @01:46PM (#11788223)
    Granted, that's a pretty high resolution by most people's standards, but take into account that it's being projected onto a 30 ft or larger screen, and it seems (to me) that it's not a high enough resolution.
    Someone once mentioned to me that the frames that Pixar renders out for it's films are something on the order of 4000 x Something resolution, which sounds a bit more comperable to film.
    • "Someone once mentioned to me that the frames that Pixar renders out for it's films are something on the order of 4000 x Something resolution"

      Much of 'Toy Story 2' was rendered at 1280 x n resolution... I doubt anyone in the cinema noticed.
    • Re:Resolution (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
      The size of the screen is not important. What is important is the angle between the left edge of the screen, your head, and the right hand edge of the screen. While a cinema screen is bigger than your television (I assume), you (probably) sit a long way further back from the screen in the cinema than you do in your living room, making the effective size similar.
      • Except that in a large theater I like to sit about 7 to 10 rows from the front. That way the screen approximately fills my field of view. It's more immersive than sitting in the middle-to-back. Sitting that close I clearly see the grain and blur, though I do my best to ignore them so I can enjoy the flick. I saw The Phantom Menace on a big screen at 1280x1024 and even if I'd been sitting in the middle I would have seen the pixels. I agree with the others who think this is just HDTV on a small-to-medium
    • According to a Sun press release (Sun providing the render gear for Pixar before they moved to Apple), Toy Story "uses a resolution of 1536 by 922 with an effective 48 bits per pixel."

      For following films, I'm pretty sure they upped it to 2048x1536.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just as the movie gets really exciting, a Blue Screen of Death will show up.
  • Drive crash? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hrieke ( 126185 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @01:54PM (#11788277) Homepage
    When the film breaks, it can be fixed- for the most part. But when a drive crashes, you'd think that it would be at least 8 hours before a new copy of the move could be express-shipped to the theater.
    • Re:Drive crash? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by slim ( 1652 )
      When the film breaks, it can be fixed- for the most part. But when a drive crashes, you'd think that it would be at least 8 hours before a new copy of the move could be express-shipped to the theater.

      Drives crash far less often than film breaks, but even then, TFA indicates that theatres would copy the data to their own system before showing it. It seems reasonable to either have RAID 5 on these systems, or just have a hot backup.

    • It's likely that a multiplex would screen the same film on two different screens with overlapping times, so would require more than 1 copy of the film anyway.
      • It's likely that a multiplex would screen the same film on two different screens with overlapping times, so would require more than 1 copy of the film anyway.

        In fact some multiplexes have systems where the film comes off the reel, through a projector, onto a clever buffer reel, through another projector, then onto the takeup reel. This way they can show the same film on two screens, with overlapping times and a time offset to make the most efficient use of the lobby.

        There's a working exhibit of one at th
  • 2048x1080 is lousy resolution ... ok, yes, it may be lossless, but that's little consolation considering that native film resolution far exceeds that by at least several times.

    From a viewer's perspective, the comparative picture quality of a good HDTV (even a DVD shown on a TV with a good upscaler) will likely equal or exceed that of a "digital" movie theater, since resolution relates to screen size/viewing distance. In a nutshell, an inferior picture is only going to encourage more people to stay home.

    Ro
  • Just got to thinking, with all the concerns about security, I wonder if theaters, such as those classified as "high risk" of theft and/or located in certain areas, will be provided a lower downgraded resolution version ... hopefully not as degraded as that space shuttle pic that was going around after the Challenger explosion, but I digress.

    Anyways, it seems to me that resolution could by varied from theater to theater for various reasons ...

    And finally, perhaps even custom ad placement may be inserted in
  • by zymano ( 581466 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @02:14PM (#11788403)
  • In sweden.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lordsilence ( 682367 ) * on Saturday February 26, 2005 @02:27PM (#11788502) Homepage
    There's been lots of fuss about this digital cinema system. Appearently the projectors last 3-5 years before the technique is "outdated". Sure it cost much less to get a digital cinema projector. But the analog last for 15 years or more.
  • by NeedleSurfer ( 768029 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @02:27PM (#11788503)
    Consider the screen size, for a rather small 15x45 screen the pixels will be 1/4inch x 1/6inch tall. It might seem little but its not, you see the pixels if you start looking at the picture quality, plus you need one very powerfull projector (6000 lumens and up) to get decent contrast. Using systems like Watchout [dataton.com], Blend Pro [folsom.com] or whatever else you choose you can have resolution 4 time higher as source, make each projector project 1/16 of the source at native resolution of 1280x1024 (to date no projector have a native resolution of 2048x1080), 16 relatively cheap projector of 1500 lumens later you end up with a projected resolution of 5120x4096 in which you may fit as many lower resolutions as you wish, each pixel is damn small and you have a very well spread 9000 lumens projection. Cheaper and better...
  • I can do that here, at home, on my Viewsonic P815 monitor. It's only 50cm diagnal and I can see pixels and artifacts.

    It's sure gonna look like crap at 20m diagnal.

    It would be a good rez to download however.
  • ... is TivoToGo on a bigger scale.

  • by alphakappa ( 687189 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @03:09PM (#11788772) Homepage
    China has around ~100 (plans ~1500 by 2009) and India already has over 130 cinemas with digital projection and distribution [ida.gov.sg].
  • Perhaps this is news for the UK, but I recall seeing Star Wars: Attack of the clones [imdb.com] more than two years ago, in a South Western Ontario theatre [cineplex.com] (Galaxy cinema at Conestoga Mall for the locals) that has DLP digital technology [dlp.com].

    I am not sure how the movie was delivered to the movie, but I vividly remember that I was close to the screen (crowded theatre), and seeing the pixels on some scenes, like on a low res monitor. Another guy told me that he too saw the pixels.

    Perhaps for the UK, it makes sense to tru

  • by Dzimas ( 547818 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @04:30PM (#11789268)
    Some really good film has a brightness ratio (that is, darkest black to brightest white) of approximately 1024:1. When projected, the effective brightness ratio falls to about 128:1, and on TV the ratio is a much smaller 32:1.

    I suspect that digital projection will not provide anywhere near the rich brighness gradient we have come to expect from film.

  • by DaveJay ( 133437 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @05:31PM (#11789696)
    2048x1080 resolution is BETTER QUALITY than analog film? Not likely. They are likely referring to the absence of scratches and whatnot that build up over time, but I have a hard time believing that 2048x1080 projected on a large screen will not look pixelated.
  • Financial institutions, such as banks, credit agencies, and payroll processors, should learn something from this aspect of the motion picture industry. Data about people should be treated as just as valuable (because really, it is).

  • Film has been an impressive technology for quite some time, this I grant. Kodak did some amazing things.

    But Digital is going to overtake it. Not might, not could, and not just because the public is full of stupid people. Digital will overtake film, because digital will enable video with proper frame rates.

    It's kind of funny talking to film people about frame rates. Given the general cluelessness of computer people about all things AV (I spent a few weeks working on low latency audio under standard ope
  • How much processing power do you get with a 150-node Beowulf cluster of digital cinemas? Wouldn't the movie projection eat too many cycles?

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