PARK RIDGE, N.J. -- National Amusements is adopting Sony Electronics' 4K digital cinema technology for the majority of its U.S. screens. The Massachusetts-based exhibitor is rolling out 304 Sony 4K systems across 24 locations, with the implementation scheduled for completion by summer 2011.

Continuing its role of offering exhibitors a complete turnkey solution, Sony's Digital Cinema Solutions group is working with National Amusements on every aspect of its 4K conversion. The exhibitor is implementing the 4K systems through Sony's virtual print fee business model as part of a long term lease. The agreement includes full maintenance, service and warranty support for National Amusements, allowing them to reduce their operating costs over the term of the agreement. Sony will also manage and support National Amusements' existing 2K systems currently installed across the circuit.

National Amusements chose the Sony 4K technology for its proven track record, its unprecedented resolution and image quality, flexibility and ability to keep its operation at the highest current technology standards. The exhibitor is also currently working with Sony to roll-out 53 4K systems in the U.K. and 32 4K systems in Argentina and Brazil, with ongoing negotiations to convert a significant number of additional screens in those countries throughout 2011.

"National Amusements is committed to enhancing its operations from the auditoriums to the lobby to the lounge areas," said Gary Johns, senior vice president of Sony's Digital Cinema Solutions business. "They are an extremely creative and innovative exhibitor, whose ultimate goal is to continually deliver an excellent customer experience. Sony's 4K technology offers real and proven benefits for exhibitors and their customers, and we're excited to be working with them as they move to the next level of their digital future."

As part of its ongoing digital conversion, National Amusements also plans to outfit approximately 40 percent of all its screens for 3D digital projection, combining Sony's single-projector 3D lens system with RealD® 3-D technology, to enable the highest-quality 2D and 3D digital projection.

National Amusements also has the ability to use the Sony 4K systems to present alternative content programming, which can offer a broad range of media and entertainment content such as sports, music, and gaming -- creating new business opportunities and expanding its program offerings for consumers.

 

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San Francisco -- Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: DLB), MikroM GmbH, USL, Inc., and XDC together announced an alliance to promote greater interoperability within the digital cinema market. The companies joining in this collaborative effort, referred to as the Digital Cinema Open System Alliance (DCOSA), are working to establish open interface standards for core system components.

Initial goals of the DCOSA are to develop common interface specifications between digital cinema servers and integrated media block (IMB) products and to promote these specifications for use across the cinema market. By introducing these open standards, the DCOSA hopes to drive down the cost of development, to increase flexibility, and to provide a platform for innovation.

"The cinema industry is interested in moving away from having a tightly coupled server and media block available only from a single vendor and moving toward an IMB built using open interface specifications," said Robin Selden, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Dolby Laboratories. "An open platform will increase competition within the industry and encourage cutting-edge development."

"With the rapid pace of advancement in hardware technology, the DCOSA hopes to decrease time to market by enabling flexibility in the choice of core system components. These systems have not been designed for interoperability in the past because of the lack of interface specifications," said Holger Krahn, Chief Executive Officer, MikroM. "Effectively, this initiative will provide exhibitors with more options in the selection of system components."

"As the digital cinema industry continues to evolve, there is an increasing need for well-defined interfaces," said Larry Hildenbrand, Director, Engineering, USL, Inc. "The DCOSA will help to deliver open standards allowing for greater flexibility in system design and enabling exhibitors to create custom installations."

"As more and more playback technology moves into the projector, it is critical that the industry adopt common interface standards," said Jérôme Delvaux, Vice President, Technology, XDC. "We are excited to be a part of the DCOSA, since establishing interoperability will be instrumental in the ultimate success of this market."

The DCOSA plans to make its server and IMB interface specifications available as an open standard for use by the digital cinema industry. The specifications are expected to be completed and available in the first half of 2011. Information regarding specific product availability can be obtained directly from the member companies.

 

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OMAHA, Neb. -- Ballantyne Strong, Inc. (NYSE Amex: BTN), a provider of digital cinema projection equipment and services, cinema screens and other cinema products, announced today the opening of its 2,800 square-foot, state-of-the-art Digital Network Operations Center ("NOC"). The new facility, located at the Company's Omaha, NE headquarters, provides 24/7 remote monitoring services capable of tracking and managing a full range of digital equipment, including all makes of digital projection systems, audio, flat panels and the associated networks that provide the unifying connections and systems security. Ballantyne will highlight the NOC's capabilities next week at ShowEast in Orlando (Oct. 12-14th, Booth #401).

The NOC is staffed with a team of experienced hardware, network and engineering professionals. The NOC provides real-time support for technical issues, parts supply and dispatch of Ballantyne's nationwide Strong Technical Services (STS) team. By subscribing to Ballantyne's NOC service, customers will be better able to identify and address potential operational or maintenance issues before they can impact a theatre's operations.

Allen Coburn, President of Bedford, NH-based Chunky's Cinema Pub, an early adopter of Ballantyne's NOC service, stated, "Given the excellent job Ballantyne's service group has done with our NEC digital projection equipment installs, it was an easy decision to register for their NOC service. Having a team of skilled technicians available on a 24/7 basis provides early identification of potential issues and gives us the added confidence that we are well covered in the event of an emergency or malfunction of our digital equipment."

Ballantyne Strong President and CEO John P. Wilmers, stated, "The opening of Ballantyne's cutting-edge Network Operations Center is another important step in our evolution as a one-stop provider of a full range of digital cinema products and services. The NOC represents yet another operational advantage that theatre owners will gain in converting to digital technologies. We believe the NOC's capabilities, combined with our 70-person team of field technicians, provides our customers with the highest level of support available to keep their theatres up and running all year long."

 

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