and Iare going to see Episode II on monday in a DLP (Digital Projection) theater…. Since I am already going to see it in a “regular” theater on Friday, it will give me a good opportunity to compare and contrast this new digital crap.

I have some questions about these digital theaters…. How do they deliver the film to the theater (Hard Disk seems too unreliable for transport, but most tape solutions seem too small)? Has anyone read a good article on this tech?

I have to go to the dentist today…. This is not cool….

9 thoughts on “Cool….

  1. I believe right now it’s a hard disk. The eventual plan is to have the projectors download the movies from satellite the night of the release to their own storage I believe, but there aren’t enough theaters in place yet to justify the infrastructure. I think there’s 80 or so right now, Lucas was hoping for ~300 online by tomorrow, but it didn’t happen. However, once a large number of theaters are online, satelite delivery becomes cheaper than mailing out media, and with proper access controls, they don’t have to worry about prints ending up on ebay or not getting to the theater on time.

    1. It seemed to me that the MBTF for hard disks would be a problem in the long term… From the articles I have read the bitrate for the movies is around 40Mbps, which is pushing the disks pretty hard…

      1. Took me a while looking through TI’s DLP Site, but on the technical specifications page for digital cinema, near the bottom they have storage:

        The picture information is normally compressed and stored using a QuBit compression system produced by QuVis of Topeka, KS. The QuBit uses proprietary wavelet compression technology with a user selectable SNR. The compressed data is stored on four computer HD drives with a total capacity of 72 Gbytes. Other playback servers based on MPEG2 compression have also been used for a limited number of digital releases.

        So they do some compression and then (I’m guessing) stripe it across 4 disks, so the load coming off any one disk is tolerable, and I’m sure it’s a proprietary file system optimized for linear access.

        Somewhere else on the site (I think it was one of the white papers), they say the interface between the host and the actual projection assembly is about 2.1 Gb/s of image data. (1280×1024, 14 bits per color, 3 colors per pixel, 24 frames/second.)

        1. One of my coworkers found that page a few minutes ago as well….

          I had thought that they would stripe the data (as to not push the disks too hard), but striping the data also means that the overall driveset’s MBTF is divided by 4… Which seems pretty bad…. Assuming that one day the films are downloaded via satellite to the theaters storage array, those disks are going to see some serious abuse…

          In addition, when you consider the bandwidth required if these 18-plex theaters eventually move everything to DLP, they are going to need some serious arrays.. :P

      1. Actually, no. I’m with the educational division (calculators and schools and not-nearly-as-much-money and stuff). However, year-end profit sharing goes across the whole company (as far as I know), so keep spreading the word about DLP.

        I saw Monster’s, Inc. in a DLP theatre, and I agree with what Jon says below.

  2. I’ve only been in a digital theater once (the AMC theater at Downtown Disney in Orlando). I saw Monsters, Inc., which obviously looked good digitally.

    Aside from the excellent picture quality, I noticed:

    a) The lack of crap on the film (e.g. pops and flickers)
    b) The lack of cigarette burns; I generally notice them
    c) The lack of the projector sound, which you don’t really notice until you don’t hear it any more.

    I’m going to see Star Wars tomorrow afternoon with a bunch of people from the lab. I’ll try not to spoil it for anyone. =)

    1. i watched it already so i can spoil everything ;)

      i watched that crappy screener just cuz i already knew what was gonna happen so it wasnt like a surprise.. i’ll probably go see it after the fuss dies down, no need to crowd into a theater to see a movie that i already know isn’t that good ;)

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