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Thomson Partners on Digital Cinemas

French video equipment maker Thomson announced that it has signed agreements with a number of Hollywood movie studios aimed at accelerating the deployment of digital cinema projection systems in North American movie theaters.

Under the terms, DreamWorks, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Brothers will each pay a virtual print fee to distribute their films digitally through Thomson's Technicolor Digital Cinema systems in movie theaters.

Thomson said the studios will support the roll-out of digital cinema systems for up to 5,000 movie theater screens over the next 3-4 years; the company plans to deploy at least 15,000 digital systems in the U.S. and Canada over the next ten years, at an estimated cost of $90,000 - $100,000 per screen. Thomson plans to begin deployment of digital cinema systems under the agreement in the first quarter of 2006.

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