Small Theaters Face Challenges in Shift to Digital Distribution

As Hollywood studios are shifting from distributing movies on film to digital distribution via hard drives and satellite, many small theaters cannot afford $60,000 or more to upgrade and support the new technology. Theater owners are faced with the difficult decision between investing in new equipment or closing down their theaters. Meanwhile, most major U.S. cinema chains have already converted to digital cinema, many with the support of Wall Street-financed programs. Continue reading Small Theaters Face Challenges in Shift to Digital Distribution

Pixelworks Enables Content Owners to Upscale HD/2K to 4K

The advent of 4K TVs presents much the same conundrum that HD did when it arrived: fabulous new display technology but very little content. One solution is to upscale HD and 2K content to 4K, but the result isn’t always ideal. “Generally, any form of scaling creates an adverse effect on the image, even though the 4K display is better,” said Graham Loveridge, Pixelworks SVP of strategic marketing and business development. “That’s because the pixels are being stretched. You’re creating a ramp rather than a sharp transition.” Continue reading Pixelworks Enables Content Owners to Upscale HD/2K to 4K

Seiki Pairs Low-End 4K Displays with Up-Res Converter Chip

Seiki has come up with a unique and effective way to offer consumers a high quality 4K viewing experience at a mass market price. The company pairs good, low-end 4K displays made in China with an HDMI 1.4 cable that contains a high-end up-res converter chip. The booth rep freely said that the 55-inch 4K set (MSRP $899) has a mediocre built-in up-res chip. They licensed Marseille’s high-quality up-res tech and built it into the Seiki-branded HDMI 3.0 cable (MSRP $49) to provide a superior experience at a low price point. Continue reading Seiki Pairs Low-End 4K Displays with Up-Res Converter Chip

Globalstar Seeking FCC Approval for Ambitious Wi-Fi Plans

Globalstar may get the FCC’s permission to convert its satellite spectrum into a private Wi-Fi network. On Friday, the FCC began its review of the satellite company’s Wi-Fi proposal. If the plan is approved, Globalstar would be able to sell its assets to companies like Amazon that need bandwidth without 4G mobile broadband capabilities. The FCC has rejected similar requests from other satellite companies, but Wi-Fi is low-powered enough that it might pass. Continue reading Globalstar Seeking FCC Approval for Ambitious Wi-Fi Plans

3D Conversion: PFW Provides New Depth for ‘The Wizard of Oz’

“The Wizard of Oz,” originally released by MGM in 1939, will make its 3D debut in celebration of the film’s 75th anniversary. Prime Focus World developed a stereo conversion process to convert the classic film into modern 3D, while honoring the original, now part of the classic Warner Bros. library. The process, which took 14 months to complete and involved 1,300 staffers, was especially challenging due to the amount of detail in the original. The 3D version will have a run in IMAX theaters and be made available on Blu-ray next month. Continue reading 3D Conversion: PFW Provides New Depth for ‘The Wizard of Oz’

New Acer Monitor and Projector Auto-Converts 2D to 3D on the Fly

  • Acer has introduced a home theater projector and 27-inch monitor that can show 3D content from Blu-ray players, camcorders and smartphones.
  • Both devices can also add 3D features to 2D content, according to the company.
  • “Not only can you enjoy 3D movies and other multimedia content at 1080p full HD on both devices, you can also see get your 2D content automatically enhanced with 3D effects without any additional software,” reports ZDNet.
  • The new monitor requires that users wear polarized (passive, no batteries necessary) 3D glasses, while the Acer projector requires Active Shutter 3D glasses (that require charging).
  • The 3D projector is priced at $1,999 and the monitor is available for $599. One pair of glasses is included in each purchase.

Aging Hollywood Movies to get 3D Makeover: Will Audiences Respond?

  • Hollywood is moving to convert its previously-released blockbuster hits into 3D. James Cameron is spending a year and $18 million to convert “Titanic” to 3D; “Star Wars” and “Top Gun” are two others in production.
  • “Like a bunch of aging starlets, some older blockbusters are undergoing major cosmetic enhancement to prepare for their comebacks,” reports Los Angeles Times.
  • Disney recently spent $10 million on the 17-year-old animated feature “The Lion King,” whose surprising box office success during the last few weeks may lead to additional conversions.
  • “For studios, it’s easy to see why spending $10 million or so to render a beloved film in three dimensions holds appeal: There’s a built-in fan base,” suggests the article. “But there are risks too: As the number of 3D films in theaters has ballooned, American audiences have become more selective about which ones they deem worth the premium ticket prices.”
  • Software improvements have made 3D conversions less expensive and, as a result, makes the prospect more difficult for Hollywood to resist.
  • Yet despite its big-name public champions such as Cameron, George Lucas and Tony Scott, there are still those who remain skeptical. The 3D conversion “undercuts the quality of the film and the verisimilitude of the film,” believes Wheeler Winston Dixon, professor of film studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “It’s to re-direct it and destroy it. This is a poor idea artistically and a poor idea financially.”
  • Either way, the movement is underway and we should expect to see more 3D “makeovers” of older films in the near future.