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Digital Cinema Projection Standards Accord

Seven major Hollywood film studios announced that they have agreed on technical standards for digital cinema projection, laying the foundation for a money-saving transition from costly film prints to digitally-projected movies. Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI), a consortium that includes Disney, Fox, MGM, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros., will establish a financing entity that will borrow funds to bankroll the initial installation of digital projection systems -- which cost between $60,000 and $100,000 each -- in 3,500 to 10,000 screens nationwide. These costs would be partly passed on to theater owners, while the rest would be realized in savings from the digital conversion; while film prints cost around $1,200 each, and can deteriorate with use and time, digital movies maintain their quality and currently cost about $300 per copy. Previously, many theater owners were hesitant to pay to install digital projectors, for lack of a common standard. Among the standards set by DCI include specifications for digital cinema picture resolution, and methods of preventing piracy. "After three years of careful planning, discussion and reaching out to all the various constituencies who make up our industry, DCI member studios are pleased to have reached unanimous agreement on the necessary overall system requirements and specifications for digital cinema," said Walt Ordway, chief technology officer for DCI.

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