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Las Vegas, USA—Mar 15, 2005

Singapore Enables Digital Cinema Transmission Across Continents

Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, SiTF Digital Media Chapter and Entertainment Technology Center (USC) Bring Together Industry Partners to Pilot and Establish Viable Model for Digital Delivery
In a significant industry development, the Singapore government, and industry association SiTF Digital Media Chapter (Singapore), with the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at the University of Southern California (USA), brought together leading industry players to develop a viable model for digital delivery across continents from USA to Asia. Initial tests of the pilot, the ‘Cross-Continent Digital Content Transmission’ or CCTx, established a secure, reliable and cost-effective digital delivery workflow.

This was announced by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) at ShoWest 2005, Las Vegas, USA.

The CCTx pilot involves seamless end-to-end digital delivery from initial processing in the U.S. to appearance on a movie screen in Singapore. Partners involved in the initial tests of the pilot include SiTF DMC (for Singapore) and ETC at USC (ETC-USC) for project management, Thomson Technicolor for project consulting, GlobeCast, StarHub and 1-Net for international and local circuit and data storage, Christie, Dell, Texas Instruments and XDC (EVS Group) for technology provision.

Successfully hubbed and managed out of Singapore, the initial tests of the pilot involved the digital transmission of 3 movie trailers: Elektra, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and StarWars Episode 3 from Culver City, Los Angeles in USA to 1-Net Data Centre in Singapore. A total file size of 3.3 GB were delivered digitally via managed ATM fibre. These trailers were then played back from a XDC Cinestore Solo Server with Omega Decoder through a Christie CP2000 projector.

Singapore’s Digital Cinema initiative, part of its Digital Exchange (DX) program, has gained momentum with the success of CCTx pilot. The DX initiative aims to extend Singapore’s hub status into the digital realm to distribute, processing and management of content through Singapore to the Asian markets.

“The CCTx paves the way for a complete viable model that allows studios to deliver content digitally to Singapore, securely store it, localize it, and then distribute it to the region. As a Digital Exchange, Singapore has the capability to ensure reliable and accountable management, processing and distribution of digital content and assets from United States to the rest of Asia,” said Hock Yun KHOONG, Assistant Chief Executive, Industry, IDA. “The pilot is also attracting more industry partners and support to address the issues facing digital delivery.”

According to Motion Picture Association of America’s former Senior Vice President, Mike Connors, “the pilot allows the industry to identify and resolve process and business issues critical to commercial adoption of a worldwide digital distribution system.”

The pilot also marks the a first time joint government-industry collaboration with the Singapore infocomm Technology Federation Digital Media Chapter (SiTF DMC) to develop a viable worldwide digital distribution model that can be commercialized.

Pak Lum MOCK, Chairman of SiTF DMC said, “By clustering the strengths of digital industry players in Singapore, we hope to create more partnership and business opportunities for them in Asia. The CCTx opens the door for such opportunities.”

Charles S. SWARTZ, Chief Executive Officer of ETC-USC said “For digital cinema to take off worldwide, a global, interoperable distribution system is necessary. Pilots such as CCTx are crucial to international deployment and ETC-USC is proud to facilitate the transmission of digital files between Singapore and Los Angeles.”

More partners will be involved in the CCTx pilot as it progresses to include different forms of content, transmission modes and digital processes such as localization and sub-titling. Key learnings from the pilot will be shared with industry players keen to shape and play a role in the future of digital delivery.

Digital Cinema Developments in Singapore

Most Digital Cinemas in Asia, After China and Japan
In 2004, Singapore launched the world’s first full 2K Digital Multiplex. Singapore currently has the highest number of 2K resolution digital cinema screens per capita in the world. Today, there are a total of 21 digital cinema screens in Singapore which translates to 15 per cent of the cinema network in Singapore. On a worldwide basis, Singapore has the fourth highest number of digital screens in the world, after USA, China and Japan.

More Digital Content & Content Offerings
To-date, more than 13 first run digital features have been screened in Singapore’s digital cinemas. These movies include Shark Tales, The Incredibles, National Treasury, Elektra, Kungfu Hustle and Infernal Affairs III. A range of alternative content was screened at the digital cinemas, including the ‘live’ telecast of the Oscars Award Ceremony 2004 and 2005 at Cathay Cinemas. In August 2004, Singapore’s National Day Parade was transmitted “live” for the first time via satellite to The Legends Fort Canning Club, owned by Eng Wah Organization, a local exhibitor.

Apart from digital cinemas, Singapore can also provide value-added services such as digital subtitling, provision of infrastructure and digital distribution of content to desired locations in the Asia Pacific region.

Singapore as Ideal Location for Processing, Management and Distribution of Digital Content
Singapore is ranked first in the World for Networked Readiness Index 2004 - 2005 in World Economic Forum’s latest Global Information Technology Report. In January 2005, Singapore was ranked as one of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities in the World by Intelligent Communities Forum (ICF) for its Digital Exchange vision, excellent Infocomm infrastructure and global connectivity.

Singapore is well-placed as the regional digital distribution hub for content leveraging on its cutting-edge infocomms infrastructure, well-established status as a business hub, competitive regulatory policies, strong IP rights protection and ready availability of skilled manpower.

Singapore already has over 1 million square feet of advanced data center space. It is one of the most connected cities in Asia with more than 16 Gbps of extensive and direct Internet connectivity to over 20 countries. This comprises 6 Gbps to the USA and over 8 Gbps to Asian cities such as Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam. In addition, Singapore’s direct Internet connectivity to major ASEAN countries is at least 100 Mbps per country.

Singapore’s network infrastructure is also particularly well-suited for digital delivery of data centre space with its 26 Tbps of submarine cable capacity and international and regional telecoms connectivity to more than 100 countries.

Singapore’s recent launch of business continuity and disaster recovery standards means that the cinema industry can have a higher level of confidence in the security and reliability of the digital cinema data storage facilities.

Singapore was ranked first in Asia for Intellectual Property Rights Protection by PERC 2004 and Global Corruption Report, 2003, making it an excellent location for companies to securely store and distribute digital content.

About Entertainment Technology Center-USC: The Entertainment Technology Center at University of Southern California (ETC@USC) is a neutral, non-partisan research organization in the School of Cinematic Arts that studies entertainment technology developments that are critical to the creative community; production companies; content owners, distributors and exhibitors; and technology companies. ETC@USC's sponsors include USC-School of Cinematic Arts; Hollywood's major studios: NBC-Universal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Viacom/Paramount Studios, The Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros.; Lucasfilm Ltd.; Cisco; Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, Inc; and Thomson. Entertainment Technology Center-USC Directory page About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore: The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is committed to growing Singapore into a dynamic global infocomm hub. IDA uses an integrated approach to developing infocommunications in Singapore. This involves nurturing a competitive telecoms market as well as a conducive business environment with programmes and schemes for both local and international companies. For more information, visit Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore Directory page
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