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Regal Cinemas to Install Sony 4K Digital Cinema Systems in All Locations in 3-5 Years

Posted on Tuesday, May 19th, 2009 12:16 PM by Scott Jentsch

Sony SXRD Digital Cinema ProjectorRegal Cinemas announced yesterday its plans to install Sony 4K Digital Cinema systems in all of its locations in the next 3-5 years.

According to its press release, Regal operates 6,763 screens in 547 locations in 39 states and the District of Columbia, which makes this the largest rollout of the Sony 4K equipment to date. Back in March, AMC Theatres announced a similar deal with Sony, where they would be converting all 4,628 screens in 309 locations nationwide by 2012.

"The rollout of these Sony 4K systems gives Regal the opportunity to utilize the latest technology to provide our patrons the best available presentation," said Amy Miles, Regal Entertainment Group's incoming chief executive officer. "Sony's state-of-the-art 4K systems produce the highest levels of resolution, contrast and overall image quality."

Approximately 1,500 Regal screens will also be getting 3D capability. The announcement did not include details of when the installations would begin, or which theaters would be first on the list.

Digital Cinema Projection systems replace the traditional film projector with a computerized server playing a digital copy of the movie to a digital projector. Sony's 4K system has a resolution of 4096 pixels by 2160 pixels, which is four times the amount of the more common 2K systems in place at many theaters equipped with Digital Cinema Projection systems. To give you a comparison, a 4K system results in a picture containing 8.8 million pixels. A 2K system has 2.2 million pixels, and your home HDTV has either 2.1 million (1080p) or 922,000 (720p) pixels.

This deal marks the second large agreement for Sony and its 4K equipment, which has had challenges in getting adopted by movie theaters as they begin their transitions to digital cinema over traditional film projection. Last summer, I mentioned that the improvement between 4K and 2K may not be as much as one would think merely by doing the math. As more and more movie studios do their post-production work in 4K and above instead of 2K, hopefully the extra performance potential of 4K projection systems will be revealed.

As long as the projected image is bright enough to create the proper light levels for the size of screen, I'm all for the extra resolution! With more than 11,000 screens involved in the AMC and Regal deals alone, I think more studios will be looking at 4K production processes more seriously, but the chains will have to demand it from them, too.

As home theater becomes more and more popular with audiences, being able to provide four times the resolution on a large screen with lossless sound will definitely help movie theaters compete with home video for the hearts, minds, and wallets of moviegoers!

The full press release appears below.

Related News Coverage

Press Release

Regal Entertainment Group to Install Sony 4K Digital Cinema Projection Systems Across Entire Circuit

Sony's state-of-the-art 4K projection systems produce the highest levels of resolution, contrast and image quality for Regal's patrons

Knoxville, Tennessee and Park Ridge, New Jersey, May 18, 2009 - Regal Entertainment Group, the largest motion picture exhibitor in the world, and Sony Electronics announced an agreement for the installation of Sony 4K digital projection systems across its entire circuit over the next 3 to 5 years, which will create the most extensive 4K deployment to date.

"The rollout of these Sony 4K systems gives Regal the opportunity to utilize the latest technology to provide our patrons the best available presentation," said Amy Miles, Regal Entertainment Group's incoming chief executive officer. "Sony's state-of-the-art 4K systems produce the highest levels of resolution, contrast and overall image quality."

Approximately 1,500 of the Regal screens will also be outfitted for 3D digital projection, using Sony's newly introduced dual-lens adaptor technology.

"Regal has always been at the forefront of merging technology with entertainment to create a dynamic movie-going experience," said Gary Johns, vice president and head of of Sony Electronics' digital cinema business.  "The innovative design and capabilities of the 4K projectors' are a perfect fit for supporting their commitment to deliver not only the highest-quality 2D and 3D digital projection, but also alternative content, live theatrical events and more."

Sony 4K projectors offer the highest image resolution of all projection technologies, producing 8.8 million pixels. 4K technology provides image resolution four times greater than 2K projection systems and slightly more than four times greater than high-definition.

The Regal and Sony agreement is part of an initiative being led by Digital Cinema Implementation Partners, LLC (DCIP), an organization formed in 2007 by Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Entertainment and Cinemark USA, Inc. DCIP is charged with planning and implementing the deployment of digital cinema.

About Regal Entertainment Group

Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC) is the largest motion picture exhibitor in the world. The Company's theatre circuit, comprising Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theatres and Edwards Theatres, operates 6,763 screens in 547 locations in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Regal operates theatres in all of the top 33 and 44 of the top 50 U.S. designated market areas. We believe that the size, reach and quality of the Company's theatre circuit not only provide its patrons with a convenient and enjoyable movie-going experience, but is also an exceptional platform to realize economies of scale in theatre operations.

About Sony Electronics

Sony Electronics Inc. is headquartered in San Diego, Calif. and is a leading provider of audio/video electronics and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. Operations include research and development, design, engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing, distribution and customer service. Sony's Broadcast and Business Solutions Company develops and manufactures video and audio technologies for professional applications including its 4K projectors for digital cinema, as well as technologies for broadcast television and motion picture production, event videography, ENG/EFP, digital cinematography, videoconferencing, IP surveillance and security, digital signage, and remote system diagnostics and monitoring. For more information about Sony's 4K projectors, visit www.sony.com/digitalcinema.



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