ISDCF’s March demonstration has made significant gains two months before show time. The goal of the demonstration is to show standards compliance for both distribution and accessibility features. At least five manufacturers of digital cinema servers – Dolby, Doremi, GDC, Sony, and XDC – have stepped forward to say they plan to support the requisite standards by the March 9 demonstration. Even if they miss the date by a few months, much has been accomplished. With five servers capable of supporting the SMPTE DCP distribution standards, as well as the SMPTE CSP/RPL output for closed captions, the industry is on the cusp of a major transition. The next step, of course, will be incorporating these changes into the installed base of products in the field. The goal for completing that task is April 2011.
The only major component supplier that has not said they plan to support standards by the March demonstration is Texas Instruments and its DCP Cinema Series 1 and Series 2 projector cores. TI has yet to support the SMPTE open subtitle specification, which was published in 2007. Adding insult to injury, its failure to support this standard by the March demonstration has compromised the ability of Dolby and GDC to participate in the demonstration. Only Doremi and XDC have the ability to bypass the subtitle rendering engine in the TI projector and render open subtitles and captions in the server following standards.
Up until the last week of January, only one manufacturer, USL, had announced a closed caption product that utilized the SMPTE CSP/RPL standards. But now a competitor has come on line, Intelligent Access Systems (http://www.IntelligentAccessSystems.com/), that also puts to work the SMPTE CSP/RPL standards. The company was founded by Leanne West, Director of the Landmarc Research Center at Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech, however, does not have a stake in the company. Intelligent Access has accepted an invitation to participate in the March 9 demonstration. The fact that they were able to develop a product strictly from standards without having to enter complicated negotiations with server companies speaks highly for the standards approach.
Several months back, a few exhibitors pointed out the difficulty of sorting and finding emailed KDMs in email boxes. Presumably, the primary difficulty is in finding them in personal email boxes. This led to a study for establishing a recommended KDM naming scheme, the result of which has been posted at http://KdmNamingConvention.com. The effort was accomplished with input spanning two continents. It is a recommended naming scheme, as there is no one to dictate that this must be used. And it is likely to change as further inputs are received.