Adlabs to digitally upgrade 500 cine screens

October 6th, 2008 - 7:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Oct 6 (IANS) Adlabs Films Ltd, a part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), will digitally upgrade 500 cine screens in India in the next 18 months, according to a senior group executive.Adlabs will use the 80,000 km of optic fibre cable (OFC) for telecommunication, laid by another ADAG subsidiary, telecom operator Reliance Communications, for transmitting movies directly to the screens, said Patrick von Sychowski, chief operating officer COO) at Adlabs Digital Cinema.

Von Sychowski said Reliance Communications already has the FLAG (fibre optic link across the globe) network for telecommunication, which would be used for transmitting digitalised movies globally once the cinemas are fitted with digital projection facilities.

Films are encoded at the digital cinema mastering facility at the Adlabds Film City in Mumbai, the first facility in Asia to receive the international FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) accreditation.

So far, only cinema halls in Ahmedabad, Vashi, Nashik and Gandhinagar have been connected to OFC.

“But the process to connect all Adlabs screens to OFC has already started,” von Sychowski said, adding: “ADAG has beat Hollywood in this respect.”

What he hinted at was that Adlabs Films has become the first entity in the world to use OFC to distribute movies directly to the screen on a commercial basis.

Currently, distribution companies such as UFO distribute movies through satellite.

Incidentally, it was as recently as last week that five major Hollywood studios worked out a $1-billion deal with a group of exhibitors to digitally upgrade 20,000 US and Canadian cinema screens from next year.

The studios involved in the deal are Walt Disney, Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, News Corp’s 20th Century Fox, General Electric’s Universal Pictures and Lionsgate Entertainment.

Von Sychowski said OFC-transmitted distribution system benefited all stakeholders: audiences on account of the clarity of images and better sound quality; distributors as print costs are cut and delivery time saved, and exhibitors as projection is improved, attracting more viewers.

Additionally, he said, the system eliminates piracy, and enables three-dimensional viewing, as well as live viewing of events such as cricket matches and music concerts without the aid of satellite.

“Of course, nothing will do away with piracy so long as people can walk into a cinema with a video camera. But the system we have installed will do away with piracy before the film is projected. Even after that, if a film is copied, we can trace back any digital copy to the cinemas, screen, day and the time it was recorded illegally,” von Sychowski said.

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