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Digital Cinema Is on the Horizon

Photonics Spectra
Mar 2001
Digital Cinema On the HorizonDigital cinema is coming, but don't expect it to revolutionize the moviemaking process, said Larry J. Hornbeck of Dallas-based Texas Instruments Inc. at Photonics West in San Jose, Calif., in January. "We want to maintain the look of film that people are accustomed to," said the inventor of the Digital Micromirror Device at a plenary presentation. Rather, digital technologies, including the company's projectors based on the device, will target the postproduction and distribution processes to eliminate errors in the reproduction and screening of film-based movies.

Texas Instruments' DLP Cinema digital movie projector is slated for full-scale production by 2002, at which time 2000 to 3000 theaters will have installed the hardware, Hornbeck said. He qualified an estimate that the 100,000 screens worldwide will be retrofitted with the technology by the middle of the next decade. "The timetable of 10 to 15 years may be too optimistic," he said, "but the conversion process has definitely begun."

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