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World's First Network Distribution and Commercial Theatrical Exhibition Using Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) 4K Specifications To Be Held October 22nd.

Tokyo, Japan, Oct 12, 2005 - (JCN Newswire) - Five entertainment and technology pioneers from Japan and America-- Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Warner Entertainment Japan Inc., Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West Corporation, and Toho Co., Ltd.--today announced they would collaborate on a major new joint field trial to test the world's first digital cinema system for digital distribution and exhibition of feature-length motion pictures. The trial will use the newly published Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) Digital Cinema System Specifications at the highest quality standard of 4K, comparable to a professional 35mm film "answer print" and superior in many ways to traditional film "release prints" typically shown in local cinema theatres.

Chris Cookson, President, Technical Operations & Chief Technology Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.; William Ireton, President, Warner Entertainment Japan Inc.; Norio Wada, President and CEO of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT); Shunzo Morishita, President and CEO of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West Corporation (NTT West); and Hideyuki Takai, President and CEO of Toho Co., Ltd., explained their plans for a one year joint field trial to introduce Japanese movie-goers to what they have termed "4K Pure Cinema."

The first public showing as part of this international field trial will start Saturday, October 22, 2005, when "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride" opens commercially in Japan, with a digital release at "4K Pure Cinema" quality in multiple Toho cinemas in the Osaka and Tokyo regions. However, in a sneak preview for press and invited guests at the Virgin TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills theatre immediately following the announcement on October 11th, Rob Hummel, Senior Vice President, Production Technology, Warner Bros. Entertainment, introduced the world's first "4K Pure Cinema" screening of several scenes from "Batman Begins," the 2005 hit movie directed by Christopher Nolan, as well as a complete screening of "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride," both distributed by Warner Bros.

Subsequent digital cinema releases scheduled as part of the field trials through the summer of 2006 include "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Warner Bros. Pictures' fourth and latest installment of J. K. Rowling's celebrated novels.

The five companies participating in these field trials share a common conviction that the introduction of digital cinema has the potential for providing real benefits to theatre audiences, theatre owners, filmmakers and distributors. They have agreed to work together on this field trial because they also recognize that the potential benefits of digital cinema cannot be fully realized without industry-wide standards supporting interoperability and compatibility around the world, as detailed in the Digital Cinema Initiatives Specification that establishes and documents voluntary specifications for an open architecture for digital cinema that ensures a uniform and high level of technical performance, reliability and quality control.

The Digital Cinema Initiatives, LLC (DCI) was created in March 2002, as a joint venture of Disney, Fox, MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal and Warner Bros. Studios. In July 2005, after extensive testing and investigation by industry experts, all DCI Member Studios unanimously approved the publication of the DCI Digital Cinema System Specification v1.0.

The purpose of the year-long joint field trial announced today is to implement and test the DCI Digital Cinema System Specification. To make this possible, a fiber-optic testbed will be configured to send DCI-compliant digital cinema packages (DCP) containing feature-length motion pictures from Warner Bros. in Burbank, California to distribution servers at NTT's Yokosuka R&D Center and at NTT West's Dojima Data Center Japan. The DCP received from Warner Bros. will be then distributed via NTT's domestic fiber optic networks to Virgin TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills, Cinema Mediage, and TOHO Cinemas Takatsuki where secure digital cinema playback systems provided by NTT will be used to screen feature movies on a regular schedule for paying customers.

This field trial is designed to allow the participants to evaluate digital distribution and digital exhibition from various perspectives including image quality, viewer response, operational efficiency, security and reporting, network performance and reliability, and the costs related to both network distribution and theater management. The field trial will implement the DCI specifications for both the 4K format of 4,096 by 2,160 pixels (total resolution of eight million pixels) and the 2K format at 2,048 by 1,080 pixels (total resolution of two million pixels.)

The participants are each bringing to this joint field trial unique strengths that have made them leaders in their respective fields.

- Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (WBEI and WBJ) which played a major role in establishing DCI system specifications, will configure a D-cinema distribution-origination service center, provide operational management and supply D-Cinema content in accordance with DCI specifications.

- NTT, which has pioneered the development of highly secure networked distribution, DCI compliant digital cinema packaging and playback technology for super high-definition broadband content such as 4K digital cinema, together with its subsidiary company NTT West, will provide broadband fiber-optic links between the USA and Japan, between distribution centers in Japan, and from distribution centers to theaters. They will also establish two D-cinema distribution centers in Japan and a D-Cinema secure distribution system based on DCI specifications.

- Toho, which together with NTT West, conducted an earlier joint trial for digital distribution of the movie "Spirited Away" (produced by Studio Ghibli, distributed by Toho) in 2001, will provide movie theaters, manage theatrical entertainment content and operate the D-Cinema screening system used in this year-long field trial starting in October 2005.

Copyright [c] 2005 JCN Newswire. All rights reserved. A division of Japan Corporate News Network K.K.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Japan Corporate News Network K.K.
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Publication:JCN Newswires
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Oct 12, 2005
Words:911
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