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Digital Cinema Passes a Milestone

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Texas Instruments announced that more than 50,000 movie screens around the world have been converted to DLP digital cinema, crossing a threshold of over 50 percent of the estimated worldwide commercial cinema screens. According to some estimates, the conversion to digital will near completion by the end of 2015. Texas Instruments first introduced its proprietary DLP Cinema system in 1999, and has licensed the technology to three manufacturers – Barco, Christie and NEC.

“Together with our licensees, DLP Cinema has always focused on the goal of providing audiences with the broadest digital projection technology options possible to match, and even exceed, the rich color, clarity and detail of 35mm and 70mm film answer prints,” said Dave Duncan, manager of DLP Cinema for Texas Instruments. “When the first DLP Cinema-powered projectors were installed in 1999, we knew we had embarked on something that would eventually bring positive change and opportunities not available in the film-based era. Today, we are thrilled to continue to be the driving force in making what was once considered a far off and unlikely future a clear, accessible reality, and are fully committed to helping exhibitors of all sizes around the world.”

To celebrate this achievement, DLP Cinema provided each of its licensees with a commemorative DLP Cinema chip representing the 50,000th 3-chipset manufactured, which will be installed at three cinemas. Barco has selected the Cinemark El Tesoro in Medellin, Colombia, Christie has chosen the Shanghai Film Group Corporation (SFG) in China and NEC has picked the Majestic Cinema in Milwaukee, WI USA as the worldwide representatives of this 50,000th milestone.

In the 12-month period between Dec. 1, 2010 and Nov. 30, 2011, the number of DLP Cinema screens worldwide grew to a total of 51,620 (up from 28,036) – nearly double the amount of such screens at this point in 2010 – for an increase of 84 percent. DLP Cinema 3D screens have risen 65 percent to 30,290 in total (from 18,367) during the same 12-month timeframe. The total DLP Cinema worldwide screens do not include IMAX digital powered by DLP Cinema, which separately grew to 410 sites globally (256 in North America, and 154 internationally).

The switch to digital projection has reached an especially fevered pitch in China, with 7,745 DLP Cinema screens – an amount that is nearly 60 percent of all digital screens in the Asia Pacific region, which includes India, Australia and New Zealand – and 4,409 of the screens are 3D-enabled. This latest research estimates that China will have a nationwide footprint of all-digital commercial cinemas by the end of 2013. In the Asia Pacific region as a whole, between Dec. 1, 2010 and Nov. 30, 2011, there was 92 percent growth in DLP Cinema screens to 13,365 (up from 6,972), and a 82 percent jump for 3D screens (from 4,583).

Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) experienced similar growth to Asia Pacific during this same 12 month period, with a 91 percent increase for DLP Cinema screens (17,670 total), and 56 percent increase with 3D (10,848 total). In Latin America, DLP Cinema screens grew to 2,424 (an 83 percent increase), and 2,343 (83 percent change) with 3D capabilities.

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