With DCIP engaged in the syndication of its equipment bond, and Cinedigm gaining support for senior debt towards equipment, the wheels appear to be in motion for digital cinema to rollout. But has the technology advanced sufficiently to insure stable installations, or are we still moving forward with blinders on, as was the case in late 2005?
The difference between the technology available today and that available at the end of 2005 is significant. But there is still plenty of room for improvement. Inspired by the “iDon’t” ads from Google for its Android mobile phone operating system, below is a list of iDon’ts for digital cinema:
- Have DCI-compliant equipment;
- Have a ubiquitous security key management process that can support tens of thousands of screens worldwide;
- Have standards for the distribution of advertising content, including no support for advertisement reporting requirements;
- Have a cost of ownership that will allow exhibitors around the world to purchase and maintain digital cinema equipment indefinitely;
- Require modems. (Yes, Fox has come to its senses.)
With the exception of the modem bullet point and the absence of an “iDon’t” for closed captions, this list has changed little since 2005. Much of this list will remain intact in the near future as the energy to solve such problems on an industry-wide scale wanes. Studios are unlikely to extend the reach of DCI beyond its current boundaries. NATO has already pulled out of the digital cinema technology arena.
Support for standards development in areas such as workflow and commerce depends on the ability of commercial interests to justify such work. The only joint effort between distributors, exhibitors, and manufacturers today is ISDCF, an informal volunteer effort to manage day-to-day problems in digital cinema. Solutions for systemic issues require focus and intensity, qualities that the industry is rapidly losing.