Exhibitor News

CinemaCon Technology: Evolution Has Arrived

There are two vendors which re-defined cinema this week.

Perhaps they only walked into where the trends were heading, but they did so in such an astonishing way that some significant segment of moviegoers will forever change their movie-going ways and some even more significant segment of cinema owners will change their buying habits forever.

First. Black. Dolby. Color Saturation. Dolby. Sound. Dolby. Movie Creators. Dolby. Nuance. Dolby. Striking. Dolby.

Laser replaces xenon. Barco. Now and wide-scaled. Retrofit existing projectors. Barco. Now. Addressing 50%-plus of the new and existing projector market for the next 2 years with retrofits or new buys. Barco. Better pictures for the majority of the world's audience...period...Barco.

IMAX is making its pitch with their new dual-laser light projectors. Unfortunately, unless one is in Toronto the only screen to make a judgement upon is the horridly dark silver screen with the gold reflections of the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Horrible green-grey cast to everything.

But the boutique niche of ultra-quality is what Dolby is moving into in an all-encompassing way. If all popcorn weren't already GMO-Free, perhaps they would have attacked that problem as well.

Barco meanwhile has launched a full range of non-xenon projectors that will have the same Cost of Ownership as xenon in something like 3 years...or 2 or 5 or some number significantly less than the 10 years of their warranty. And, for those 25 or 30 thousand owners of C Series Barco projectors, there is a laser retrofit, with an S Series retrofit later this year.

Why buy anything else? Big room with ability to share profits with Dolby, then the choice is Dolby Vision. Studios will be releasing a special High Dynamic Range DCP for them, and the question will be whether Barco Laser system owners can get that DCP as well and whether Barco can tweak for them a bit more HDR instead of their previous goal of "Let's keep everything at the DCI minimums until people know what they need and want."

What we want is more...

Barco Auro will deliver their new object oriented system soon which incorporates some technology from the IOSONO purchase. Time will tell, especially since they have been talking about this for 2 or 3 years...but it aligns with the push for a standard interchange of immersive mixes, driven by the studios desire for the One Master and Open Source where possible, which DTS:X is driving toward with MDA.

But there should be no confusion with any of the other brilliant products shown or discussed at the show. The evolution to the Dolby complete package and Barco's laser projectors is monumental.