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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ignoring the licensing problems, would it be possible to with a high-end DLP projector and quality DVD player show a movie at an actual theater?


If so what projectors would be capable of doing it and what would the quality of the display be like?


Thoughts and opinions…
 

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I don't think it would work very well. Assuming you use a really bright projector to properly illuminate a big screen, the resolution of DVD would be the limiting factor. DVD only has 480 lines of resolution. I suspect that you would really see the pixels.


--Burke
 

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Well, they already do use DLP projectors in some theaters. They are typically 3-chip units, very expensive. I don't know what they use for source material though... mabye HDTV?
 

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Here's are a few good article about digital theaters...

http://www.kcstar.com/item/pages/fyi...de6c.331,.html

http://www.blackflix.com/articles/digital_cinema.html

http://www.forbes.com/2000/09/23/0923newmedia.html


The economice seem to be there. A couple of the articles say that a digital projector costs $100,000 ($70,000 more than a regular film projector.) If one print of a film costs $2,000, the projector pays for the incremental cost after just 35 films.


That assumes that prices and attendance don't change. With digital movies, theaters could change the movies on a screen daily. Heck, they could show several different movies on a single screen in a single night.


--Burke
 

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Ah yes, but remember that the theater owner pays for the projector and the studio pays for the 35mm prints.


Therefor, there is absolutly no incentive for a theater owner to convert to digital based on the costs you have provided.


The real incentive to the theater owner is the removal of the projectionist (I use that term loosely) from the projection booth.


Also don't forget that the theaters use a different system for recording the video and that it takes a minimum of 40GB for a feature, far more than will fit on a DVD today.


Vern Dias
 

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DVD images have 720x480 pixels, which actually gives 540 lines of horizontal resolution.


The DLP projectors currently used in digital cinema are 1280x1024 pixels in a 5:4 aspect ratio. They are driven by a video server that provides 1280x1024 @ 24 fps digitally via a serial digital connection. The projector uses an anamorphic lens to stretch the picture out the correct aspect ratio. The digital presentation I saw certainly looked as good as most multiplex film presentations, which are admittedly pretty poor. That's one of the big advantages of digital cinema. It should look more consistently decent regardless of how poorly the theater is maintained, as long as they can focus the projector! I can't believe how bad multiplex movies have become. When I saw "Castaway", the picture was vibrating up and down during the whole movie. I had a splitting headache by the end! My DVD-based home theater definitely has more fine detail than some multiplex presentations I've seen. I bet that if a quality anamorphic DVD was run through a quality scaler and played through one of the 3-chip DLP projectors, most people would think it was fine.


Digital movies are currently delivered to theaters on a stack of DVD-ROM discs.


Dave



[This message has been edited by Dave W (edited 07-19-2001).]
 

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Quote:
Ah yes, but remember that the theater owner pays for the projector and the studio pays for the 35mm prints.
It's the consumer who pays for the whole thing. If the studio saves $2K, hopefully that is passed to the theater. Or, there are plenty of ways for the studio to finance the projectors for the theaters.


--Burke
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My thoughts in posing this question we to pick peoples brains to see if it was possible and because I was contemplating the pipe dream of running a “classic†theater with digital quality.


Thank you for all your insightful responses.



[This message has been edited by Sirgumby (edited 07-19-2001).]
 

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The whole 1280x1024 panel is used, and an anamorphic lens expands the image to the correct aspect ratio. So the total resolution is somewhat higher than 720p, but nowhere near 1080p. The compression technology used is also much superior to the MPEG-2 compression used for HDTV and DVD. The movie content is actually mastered at 1080p, but it needs to be scaled down to 1280x1024 in order to be used on the projectors currently available. That's one of the things holding back digital cinema. Once a quality 1080p projector becomes available at a comparable price, I think digitial cinema will begin to really take off. The advantages are just too big to ignore, and at 1080p, the quality should be equivalent to the average multiplex film, except without the degradation on each showing.


Dave
 

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1280x1024? With 1.85 movie that is closer to 720p. What I saw at the zeigfeld sure seemed more detailed than that. If that's the case, I guess with the right HDTV source on my g11 I could have a "home theater".
 

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I've run this scenario through my mind many times.


I can't get past the licensing issue unless you could negotiate something with the studios, or just have it for personal showings.


And the second point would be media resolution quality, which would be dependent on the DVD transfer and scaling ability, screen size and viewing distance range.


I think that you could support up to a 20' wide screen (mine's 13' with a HTPC/G15/ISCO) with 16:9 enhanced DVDs and a D-ILA, or 3-chip DLP combined with an anamorphic lens.


You could use one of the new JVC 5000SC projectors and a Rock or Faroudja scaler onto a perforated Grayhawk screen and probably get a good looking picture that is roughly comparable to the average 20-plex theaters.


With a DVD source it would look decent, but with a HD source it would be MUCH better for the larger screen size.


The E-cinema theaters are as good, or better than most film theaters that I've seen and they use a 3-chip DLP projector ($120K), but they have a digitally mastered 1280 X 1024 @24Hz HD video source with only 4 to 1 compression, which is why it looks so good on a 50' wide screen.


-Dean.
 

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On my last hop through SE Asia (next one in 5 days and counting http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif probable emigration at the end of this year..) I noticed that quite a few DVD cinema's had sprung up in tourist areas mainly as just another way of luring people into that Bar or Cafe etc...


The only one I walked into was a poor quality CRT with very mediocre sound but I like the idea (licensing issues aside)... of course licensing issues becomes a bit of a joke when 80% of street stalls are hawking VCD's, PSX games, Gameboy Carts, CD's, etc etc etc


Who among us does not like the idea of having their own Cinema with the ability to set the frame of what they show... Blockbuster for early evening crowd... Classics for the night owls... If you could be sure that the equipment would not be confiscated (and its always possible to have the local Police chief as a 'friend') then the outlay would be minimal and the satisfaction large...


Plus it would give you a 'real' reason to spend hours tweaking it all to perfection and also reason to get 90% of releases ASAP http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/cool.gif !!


------------------

[email protected]
HTPC without using windows... GUI Front Ends for Home Theater
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I decided to ask an "expert" at Digital Projection and this was his take on the tech.


"We have tested DVD on a number of different size screens with all of our projectors. You can use DVD as a source but your concerns are valid, once it gets bigger than about 10' wide it can look pixilated. This for the most part is dependent on the quality of the compression used to "record" the DVD. The overall quality is also dependent on a number of other conditions, viewing distance to the screen, lighting within the theater, size and format of the video and type of screen."
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The idea for a classic theater came to me at a showing of Casablanca. It looked like I was watching the film through a screen door and then the “projectionist†cut off the movie in the middle of the classic last line.


Movies for the kiddies and seniors during the day

Action movies that need the big screen

Date movies that don’t suck

Cult classics at night


(Who wouldn’t want to watch a good midnight full screen showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail?) Now if I only had endless venture capital
 

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Noah-


Horizontal resolution is specified in relation to the vertical resolution. Or in other words, the horizontal resolution is specified as though the screen was square. In the case of DVD, it's total resolution is 720x480, so that gives a horizontal resolution of 720 x 3/4 = 540.


So the pixels of a 4x3 DVD are slightly taller than they are wide, and the pixels of an anamorphic 16x9 DVD are wider than they are tall.


Dave



[This message has been edited by Dave W (edited 07-20-2001).]
 

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SirGumby


"It can look pixilated"


Not from the DVD. If it's pixilated, it's from the projector.


I run a 12' wide screen, sit 15' from the screen, and I can assure you that I have never seen any sign of pixilation on any DVD. Of course, I am using a Runco DTV-991 projector with both a Rock and a HTPC.


Now, the licensing issues are definitely another story. The FBI (in the US anyway) tends to get involved with anyone showing films for profit without a signed contract from the film studio.


Vern


[This message has been edited by Vern Dias (edited 07-20-2001).]
 

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"If the studio saves $2K, hopefully that is passed to the theater. Or, there are plenty of ways for the studio to finance the projectors for the theaters."


The studios are already taking 90% to 95% (even 100% on opening week) from the theaters gross. Do you really think the studios would cut the theaters a break?


In addition the above issue, another issue rears its ugly head.


Today, when a theater has a lamp failure or a mechanical failure, they are forced to repair the problem.


How many dead pixels do you think the average theater owner would tolerate before repairs are made? 100? 250? 500? 1000? Seems farfetched, you say?


How many holes does it take in a screen before the theater replaces the screen?


Vern




[This message has been edited by Vern Dias (edited 07-20-2001).]
 

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Vern,


The studios are currently paying millions to process, distribute, and dispose of the films every year.


So changing to digital will benefit them the most, and I think that they will be able to easily cost justify subsidizing the theatrical retrofitting.


I agree that the cheesy theaters ignore holes in their screens until enough people walk out or demand their money back. But digital projector don't develop dead pixels (at least none that I've seen) and I'd be surprised if the studios didn't have periodic checkups and quiality evaluations to make sure that the picture quality is up to snuff (or maybe I'm being idealistic).


All of the digital E-Cinema presentations that I've seen have been flawless. But I'll admit that they are essentially pilot programs at this stage, and get much more care and attention that any cineplex would give.


But I was impressed enough with our local E-Cinema theater to help sway me toward the digital-side for my HT.


-Dean.
 
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