Tokyo, Japan/Burbank Ca U.S.—Oct 11, 2005
World's First Network Distribution and Commercial Theatrical Exhibition Using Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) 4K Specifications To Be Held October 22nd
Event Marks One Year Field Trial Announced by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Warner Entertainment Japan Inc., Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West Corporation, and Toho Co., Ltd.
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
- 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.