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BURBANK, Calif.—Mar 8, 2006
Thomson Unveils World’s Largest Digital Cinema Test Center in Preparation For Extensive North American Digital Cinema Deployment
Company’s Technicolor Digital Cinema Unit Opens State-of-the-Art Testing Facility to Evaluate Performance, Reliability, and Functionality of Digital Projectors and Servers from Major Hardware OEMs
einforcing its global leadership in digital cinema, Thomson (Euronext 18453; NYSE: TMS) today announced that its Technicolor Digital Cinema business, part of the Services division of Thomson, has opened the world’s largest digital cinema research and equipment testing facility at the Technicolor campus in Burbank, Calif. The announcement was made by Joe Berchtold, president of Technicolor Electronic Distribution Services and head of Technicolor Digital Cinema, in conjunction with an official unveiling of the facility held this morning exclusively for business, financial, and trade media outlets covering the digital cinema space.
In preparation for the company’s North American digital cinema deployment, the Technicolor Digital Cinema Test Center was established to evaluate the performance, reliability, and functionality of digital projectors, servers, and related hardware from major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The results of the comprehensive testing and analysis conducted in the state-of-the-art facility will determine the projector and server configurations to be deployed during Technicolor Digital Cinema’s widely-anticipated commercial beta test, scheduled to begin in the first half of 2006 in 200-250 screens across North America.
“The opening of the Technicolor Digital Cinema Test Center represents another significant achievement for Thomson and its digital cinema plans, and stands as a critical benchmark for the media and entertainment industries as this major technology transition advances forward,” said Joe Berchtold, president of Technicolor Electronic Distribution Services, and head of Technicolor Digital Cinema. “Thomson firmly believes that the long-term success of digital cinema is dependent upon the consistent, reliable performance of digital projection equipment at the very high levels that studios, exhibitors, and moviegoers require. The Technicolor Digital Cinema Test Center was specifically designed with these expectations in mind. As a result, it is the primary objective of this facility to comprehensively evaluate digital projectors and servers from a wide range of manufacturers, and then determine which pieces of hardware meet these rigorous standards and are suitable for widespread deployment.”
The Technicolor Digital Cinema Test Center is located at the corner of Thornton Avenue and North Ontario Street in Burbank, Calif., immediately adjacent to the extended campus which houses the operations of Technicolor Content Services, Technicolor Network Services, and Technicolor Electronic Distribution Services/Technicolor Digital Cinema. The facility consists of small and large screening theatres serviced by a large equipment and projector bay containing various digital projectors, servers, and distribution and networking components currently undergoing evaluation and analysis. In addition, the center features sophisticated diagnostic devices used to measure equipment performance based on objective test criteria.
To ensure the integrity and transparency of its research methodology, Technicolor Digital Cinema first actively solicited the participation of major hardware developers via an open request for information (RFI) process, followed by the issuance of formal requests for proposals (RFP) based on OEM interest and the scope of equipment details provided to the company. Technicolor Digital Cinema then accepted projectors and servers into its facility for evaluation based on the quality of RFP submissions, and the willingness of manufacturer representatives to work closely with staff engineers on test implementations and their corresponding findings.
For the subsequent hardware analysis conducted in the laboratory, Technicolor Digital Cinema devised an extensive battery of 144 individual tests, principally based on the Digital Cinema Initiatives, LLC (DCI) Digital Cinema System Specification v. 1.0 and its MXF interoperability test plan. In addition, the comprehensive assessment sequence was also based on specific requirements set forth by Technicolor Digital Cinema during the RFP process, and proprietary test materials, including projector test patterns, server killer patterns, and network and disk-based content sources, exclusively developed to fully measure the capabilities of the equipment.
During equipment evaluation and analysis, Technicolor Digital Cinema engineers examine each device’s ability to efficiently handle such core digital cinema operations as subtitle display, simultaneous playout and movement, inter-server movement, automation, 2K and 4K interoperability, alternative content playback, remote management, 3-D capabilities, and on-screen advertising integration. Furthermore, the company also tests each unit’s ease of distribution and back-of-house systems integration, since projectors and servers are required by the DCI specification to work seamlessly with each other, and with different distribution and theatre management systems.
Currently, the Technicolor Digital Cinema Test Center is evaluating digital cinema equipment from the following manufacturers:
- Barco Digital Cinema (P).
- Christie Digital Systems, Inc. (P).
- Dolby Digital Cinema (S).
- Doremi Cinema (S).
- GDC Technology (S) [Not currently received, but interest expressed by GDC Technology].
- Kodak Digital Cinema (S).
- NEC Corporation (S) (P).
- QuVIS, Inc. (S).
- Sanyo (P).
- Sony Electronics, Inc. (P) (S) [Integrated projector with QuVis server].
- Sony Electronics, Inc. (P) (S) [Integrated projector with Sony server].
(S) = Digital Cinema Server; (P) = Digital Projector.
As previously announced by Thomson, Technicolor Digital Cinema, following the successful completion of the aforementioned beta test, plans an initial deployment of complete digital projection systems in up to 5,000 DCI-compliant screens over the next 3-4 years. It is the strategic intent of the company to introduce systems into at least 15,000 digitally-equipped screens in the United States and Canada over the next 10 years through the preliminary rollout and additional phases. The company recently reached an understanding with Century Theatres, Inc. which calls for the theatre chain to participate in the beta test, with the expectation that Century will then participate in the broader rollout.
In the fourth quarter of 2005, Thomson signed digital cinema equipment usage agreements with DreamWorks SKG, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros to advance its plans for the distribution of digital cinema content and systems throughout North America. Currently, Thomson is in late-stage negotiations with New Line Cinema and The Weinstein Company concerning similar deals, and it expects these studios to be part of the initial deployment. Thomson will also reveal its specific digital cinema plans for the United Kingdom and Western Europe in the coming months.
Technicolor, a worldwide technology leader in the media and entertainment sector, is at the forefront of digital innovation. Our world class research and innovation laboratories enable us to lead the market in delivering advanced video services to content creators and distributors. We also benefit from an extensive intellectual property portfolio focused on imaging and sound technologies, based on a thriving licensing business. Our commitment: Enhance media experience on any screen, in theaters, at home and on the go.
Technicolor Directory page
Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS) provides services, systems and equipment, and technology to help its Media & Entertainment clients — content creators, content distributors, and users of its technology — realize their business goals and optimize their performance in a rapidly-changing technology environment. The Group is the preferred partner to the Media & Entertainment Industries through its Technicolor, Grass Valley, RCA, and Thomson brands.
Thomson Directory page
About Technicolor Electronic Distribution Services:
Technicolor Electronic Distribution Services, part of the Services division of Thomson, is a leader in the preparation, distribution, and exhibition of digital theatrical content for customers worldwide. Its operations include those of Technicolor Digital Cinema. In addition, Technicolor Electronic Distribution Services provides managed services to enable content distribution over Internet protocol (IP) networks that allows customers to deliver a differentiated content offering. For more information: http://www.technicolor.com.
Technicolor Electronic Distribution Services Directory page
Technicolor Electronic Distribution Services (Wilmington)
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