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Oslo, Norway—Mar 1, 2006

World's Largest D-Cinema Interoperability Trial Starts in Norway

NORDIC project will put the country on the path to complete digital switch-over in 2007
Norwegian cinema trade body FILM&KINO has approved funding for the NORDIC (NORway's Digital Interoperability in Cinemas) project, which will prepare the country for a complete migration to digital cinema, in line with DCI-specifications and future SMPTE standards. The project brings together Norway's leading experts in the field, including on-line ticketing portal Filmweb, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, telecom and pay-television operator Telenor, installation and service company Hjalmar Wilhelmsen and digital cinema advertising pioneers Unique Promotions/Unique Digital, as well as all of the major exhibitors and cinemas across Norway.

The twelve-month project will explore issues arising from a country-wide networked installation of digital cinema equipment. It will explore multi-platform distribution of digital film and other content, using all major projector and server technology available in the market. The purpose of the NORDIC project is in line with the call for a Beta Market prior to the initiation of a wide-scale digital cinema roll-out, as issued by the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) last year and supported by the European cinema trade body UNIC. Projector and server manufacturers have already been briefed on the project and expressed their strong support and approval.

The total budget for the NORDIC project is NOK 14m ($2.1m), with the majority funding coming from the individual project partners and NOK 1.5m ($0.22m) from FILM&KINO. A total of 12 new digital installations will complement Norway's four existing digital cinema screens, which include the world's first Sony 4K SXRD projector installed in a commercial cinema, in Trondheim. Servers from all major manufacturers will take part in the testing, with a strong emphasis on researching JPEG2000 compression and security issues. Films tested will include both local, European and Hollywood features, as well as archive material, advertising, alternative content, business applications and other new uses.

Speaking on behalf of the Norwegian D-Cinema Alliance (DKA – D-kinoalliansen), an industry body working for the digitisation of Norwegian cinemas, exhibitor Stein Sandvik of Bergen Kino comments, “We believe that there is important groundwork to be done in preparing Norway for the looming digital cinema switch. That is why we look forward to the results of the NORDIC project, which we strongly believe will help guide the Norwegian film and cinema industry.”

As one of the co-authors of the JPEG-2000 image coding standard and a lead partner in the NORDIC project, NTNU's Professor Andrew Perkis, sees wide international relevance for the project. “We will not only be consulting with the international standards institutions and Hollywood studios about the issues involved in testing D-Cinema interoperability issues,” Professor Perkis affirmed, “but we will also be sharing the outcome and data of the NORDIC project as widely as possible.” Speaking on behalf of the NORDIC project partners, Unique Digital's Director of Technology Dave Spilde noted that “As the first country in the world where every cinema has already been digitised for cinema advertising as of 2002, we look forward to working with our partners Filmweb, Hjalmar Wilhelmsen, NTNU and Telenor to give exhibitors the means and confidence to take the cinema experience to the highest possible digital level.”

The NORDIC project will be complemented by another local project investigating digital film distribution over broadband, mainly of art-house films to smaller cinemas, but also Kristiansand and Oslo. In total around 25 screens across Norway will be digitised as a result of the two projects.

Details of the NORDIC project will be announced at the ShoWest 2006 cinema industry trade show in Las Vegas, on Monday 13 March.

For further information, please contact:

Patrick von Sychowski, Director of Business Development, Unique Digital Ltd.
tel: +44 (0)20 7993 2719, mob: +44 (0)7951 898 329, pvs@mailudc.com
Unique Digital Contacts:
Unique Digital Ltd
ph: +44 7961 187331

Logo: Unique Digital Ltd. About Unique Digital Ltd.:
Unique Digital Limited, based in Dublin and London, has developed a suite of leading software solutions for the management and delivery of digital cinema content, including a full featured Theatre Management System (RosettaBridge™ TMS), content delivery system (Movie Transit™), advertising back office system (Advertising Accord™), KDM delivery solution (Basekey™), Trailer Management (Smart Trailering™) and VPF management software (Cinema Accord™).

Unique Digital Ltd. Directory page Unique Digital Ltd. Web Site About Filmweb : Filmweb operates Norway's leading film portal and is the IT-company for the whole of the country's film and cinema industry. It is responsible for the operation of the sector's various Internet services and brings together more than 90 organizations from the industry. Every month filmweb.no has more than 500,000 unique visitors. Filmweb has developed a higly advanced system for on-line ticket transactions. Filmweb Directory page About Videvox Norge AS: Videvox is one of Scandinavia´s oldest cinema technology companies and has supplied equipment to the cinemas since 1978. The company has, during the technology shift from analog to digital screenings, been the leading integrator in the Swedish cinema market. Videvoxgruppen now includes departments with considerable expertise in network architecture and content distribution, with a broad market segment as target. The core business has always been around professional screenings, but to meet the ever growing demands for flexibility and system integration Videvox has developed into a full-service digital video and audio distribution company. 
  
Videvox is also manufacturer of Digital Signage solution, Incode which was become the market leading cinema related digital signage system in Norway.
Videvox Norge AS Directory page About Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Midgard Media Lab: The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU, is a centre for technological education and research in Norway. NTNU's research staff are engaged in about 2000 R&D projects each year and the university also host 20-30 major scientific conferences annually. Norway is a full member of the framework research programmes run by the European Commision and in the 5th Framework Programme, NTNU has around 85 project contracts. NTNU has formal cooperation agreements with all the leading Norwegian industrial companies. Midgard Media Lab is a multidisciplinary project with goal to facilitate advanced new digital media research and find different ways to use new digital media. Midgard Media Lab cooperates with the leading actors within telecommunication, technology, media industry and research in the world and in Norway. Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Midgard Media Lab Directory page About Telenor : Telenor is the largest provider of telecommunications services in Norway, and has substantial international operations, as well as being the parent company of Scandinavian pay television operator Canal Digital. Telenor was listed on Oslo Stock Exchange and Nasdaq on 4 December 2000. Telenor's market value as of 31 March 2005 was NOK 100 billion - the third largest company listed on Oslo Stock Exchange. At the end of 2004, the Group had 21,750 employees, 9,750 of whom were employed outside Norway. Telenor Directory page About NORway's Digital Interoperability in Cinemas: Norwegian cinema trade body FILM&KINO has approved funding for the NORDIC (NORway's Digital Interoperability in Cinemas) project, which will prepare the country for a complete migration to digital cinema, in line with DCI-specifications and future SMPTE standards. The project brings together Norway's leading experts in the field, including on-line ticketing portal Filmweb, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, telecom and pay-television operator Telenor, installation and service company Hjalmar Wilhelmsen and digital cinema advertising pioneers Unique Promotions/Unique Digital, as well as all of the major exhibitors and cinemas across Norway. NORway's Digital Interoperability in Cinemas Directory page
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