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Windows Media 9 in Digital Theaters

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the popup-ads-for-popcorn dept.

Movies 639

SpamJunkie writes "Feel like watching new releases in 7.1 surround sound with full digital video? It's coming, not with MPEG 4 but with Windows Media 9. Microsoft announced it is bringing Windows Media 9 to 177 screens in Landmark Theaters."

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Beware!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653543)

This article was posted by:

McDaniel, Scott,

McDaniel Development
2139 Old Highway 5 South, and..
637 Riverside Dr.
Ellijay, Georgia 30540, United States
Tel: (706) 698-5112

Scott McDaniel is my stalker. He has attempted to harass/make himself known to me for several years now. He lives with his mother, and that's her voice in the answering machine message. Every time Mr. McDaniel decides to harass me, another copy of his personal information will be posted immediately afterward. In the past, releaisng his personal information has proven to be an effective deterrant to his behavior. Once he changes his behavior, the posting of his personal information will be stopped.

1st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653545)


YOU FAIL IT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653607)



blue screen? (5, Funny)

net_bh (647968) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653548) screens that huge will be awesome to look at!!!!

Re:blue screen? (1, Funny)

ArthurDent (11309) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653580)

Yeah, except the screen wouldn't be blue anymore after everybody throws all their food at it!

Re:blue screen? (2, Funny)

Mr. Mai (587155) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653783)

Yeah I can see it clearly. System reboot at the middle of the film so you can go and refill your soda and popcorn =)

Re:blue screen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653644)

Should have posted it like this: "Wow...the blue screen of death in glorious technicolor."

Re:blue screen? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653647)

u r as creative as a box of rox

Re:blue screen? (5, Funny)

Gleng (537516) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653726)

This movie has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down

If the problem persists please contact the theatre manager

Other potential hazards... (5, Funny)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653764)

1. Screensaver kicks in
2. Projectionist plays an MP3 and it blasts out of the speaker.
3. Projectionist forgets to turn off Windows desktop sounds

and so on...... :)

Re:Other potential hazards... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653804)

Am I missing something? How are these unique to Windows? Last time I checked both Linux and OS X have screen savers, play MP3's, and have desktop sounds.

What's in a Color? (2, Funny)

Caraig (186934) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653549)

So instead of the Silver Screen, we'll be seeing the Blue Screen?

Re:What's in a Color? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653712)

BSOD: Because In Redmond No One Can Hear You Scream
BSOD II: This Time Its Personal
BSOD III: The Fully Refunded Movie Showing

Let's give a collective... (-1, Flamebait)

motardo (74082) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653553)


This is screwed up, I don't see how the video would actually look good, but whatever, MS just pushing their strongarm on everyone.

Re:Let's give a collective... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653596)

Why is it screwed up?

Don't be the stereotypical Slashdot jackhole (2, Interesting)

cscx (541332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653604)

This is screwed up, I don't see how you can respond without even taking three seconds to think about what you are saying. WM9 is actually pretty impressive, but of course you already knew that, right, cause l1NuX r0x0rz!! Right??

Ha Ha, jackhole... (0, Flamebait)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653683)

Ha Ha, "jackhole" - what a classic word.

I agree completely with your post. Just because Microsoft is doing something doesn't mean that everyone needs to set up their soap box. If the parent of this parent had read the article he would see that Microsoft is actually giving a leg up to the little guy in this case. Digital theatres have previously been reserved for only the largest theatres in the largest cities and only the biggest blockbusters were shown on them. Microsoft's foray will change that and give a chance to indie films to get on screen at a much cheaper rate.

As it currently stands, digital filming is cheaper than the old way BUT you have to be big time in order to get into a theatre that shows digital films. Thus, the cost savings of digital film are only available to the guys with the money. Clearly Microsoft is aiming to make a buck with this but they're also helping to create competition for Hollywood.

So, since the MPAA represents Hollywood we have a situation here where Microsoft is going against the MPAA. Who will the Slashbots support? The MPAA of course! Microsoft is the most evil company in the universe, right? The MPAA is just a lackey of evil.

Re:Let's give a collective... (3, Insightful)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653643)

WTF is right, but WTF are you talking about. Looking good? The big thing here is the infrastructure that this all represents. Being able to distribute and display completely digitally at a somewhat reasonable price is the news here. I guess MS should not attempt to move into any new markets or find new uses for their technology?

Re:Let's give a collective... (2, Interesting)

1337_h4x0r (643377) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653719)

This is just a way for microsoft to champion their own codec.. this has been done for some time in DLP theaters across the country with MPEG-2 format movies. Star Wars Ep2, Lilo & Stitch, etc etc were shown in digital theaters. Now it's a Microsoft (!) digital theater. Great.

Re:Let's give a collective... (5, Informative)

Ooblek (544753) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653694)

So you are under the assumption that the crappy, poorly compressed captures that float around the internet are what would be projected? Just an FYI - digital video doesn't have to be compressed so that it will only look good at 640x480 resolution.

I guess you also never watched a DVD? That video is compressed with a lossy compression scheme, yet it still looks good. Why? Variable compression. Someone just didn't pop a tape into a tape player, hit play, then click the record button on a computer. There are actually people that go through and master these things over a period of weeks or months to make the video stream as small as possible while trying to make it as quality as possible. There are also all sorts of measurement and analysis tools applied to it along the way to remove scratches from the film transfer, and to make multiple streams of audio (for foreign languages, commentary tracks, and I've even seen some DVDs that not only support the AC3 digital surround, but will have a Dolby Prologic encoded stream.)

One more thing... (5, Funny)

Geekenstein (199041) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653559)

Due to DRM restrictions, your eyes must be gouged out after the showing for reprocessing. That is all.


Re:One more thing... (5, Insightful)

johneee (626549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653757)

On the other hand, I can see how the DRM restrictions would be the number one reason why this is the format the distributors are looking at...

I mean, with film, it'd be pretty cost prohibitive and difficult to smuggle out thousands of feet of film to get a screen quality transfer done to export to the middle east to run on hundreds of screens over there.

On the other hand, if it's in MPEG4, you just bring in a firewire hard drive, copy the movie over, and not only can you send it off to wherever to run on actual movie screens with no money going to the distributors and movie makers, but you have a perfect quality thing to do black market mass duplicated DVD's with the same quality as the ones the studios will eventually release in six months within days of the movie coming to the theatre - not to mention real nice DIVX versions on Kazzaa.

Yeah, they'd never go for it. Without DRM, you will never get digital movies on any large scale. Won't happen.

Comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653561)

I refuse to download Media 9... I don't trust it

Re:Comment (1)

esper_child (515754) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653700)

WMP9 is pretty bad, but the codecs are good. So good infact that you can get them seperately and still use WMP6.4

Now Showing (-1, Redundant)

Technician (215283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653574)

Blue Screen of Death in widescreen showing soon in a theatre near you.

Did they hype it? (1, Funny)

neurostar (578917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653623)

Blue Screen of Death in widescreen...

Is that why they took it out of XP? So they could hype it up for a bigscreen release? :)

Re:Did they hype it? (1)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653690)

But they didn't take it out. It is still there. I beleive if you right click on My Computer, choose Preferences, then Performance, there is a button for Debug or something. It's the last one and it deals with how XP should handle crashes, error reporting, etc. There is an option to automatically reboot on a BSOD. Uncheck it and wait. I had an unstable system that would routenely get a Not_Less_Than_Or_Equal error and BSOD.

Re:Did they hype it? (1)

neurostar (578917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653782)

Ah ok. My bad. I'd never seen the bluescreen on XP so I figured they'd taken it out... I guess the setting is the real reason why. :)

My Computer -> Properties -> Advanced Tab -> "Startup & Recovery" Settings


Re:Did they hype it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653691)

The BSOD is still in XP, but they prettied up the font. It now uses Lucida Console. Mmmm perty.

DRM crawling its way as much as it can (1)

urbieta (212354) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653575)

not surprised here, where is the linux based mpeg4 alternative?

Great quote... (5, Funny)

shroudedmoon (533918) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653576)

The newly outfitted theaters will be able to screen films encoded digitally in Windows Media 9 Series, which enables high-resolution,theater-quality experiences with up to 7.1 channel surround sound. The network rollout is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Umm... shouldn't it go without saying that it's theatre quality if they're rolling it out?

Re:Great quote... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653606)

I see your point, but M$ is an American company...

Re:Great quote... (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653789)

"Umm... shouldn't it go without saying that it's theatre quality if they're rolling it out?"

They're trying to set your expectations appropriately low. ;)

please excuse us while we reboot the theater... (2, Funny)

avi33 (116048) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653577)

[overheard from the booth] ...dammit, where the hell is that installation cd-rom?

if the theater is running windows for movies (1, Funny)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653578)

I wonder if theyll start renting them out for lan parties? Imagine playing UT or halflife on a 40 foot screen.

Re:if the theater is running windows for movies (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653702)

At least with the digital cinema system I was working with, that won't work. The projectors use a decoder card so the compressed media goes right to the projector which then decompresses it and displays. So to play games on it, the video data would have to first be encoded, then sent to the projector and then decoded. The reason for this is that the digital media they play is incrediably huge uncompressed (40 terabyes I think?) and even compressed it is still between 60-30 gigs for a 2 hour movie.

Re:if the theater is running windows for movies (1)

unicron (20286) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653706)

Remember this: 24 7&mode=thread

Halo..8 stories high.

Which reminds me..I really need to go watch another omnimax movie, the everest one was the shit.

WM9 Is a good codec (4, Informative)

1337_h4x0r (643377) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653583)

WM9 is a good mpeg-4 implementation. It has slightly better results than Divx 5 or X-vid from what I've seen (with the same file size). If they start doing High Definition transfers of movies and showing them digitally in the theaters, thats a great thing. I don't understand why you'd need a super-advanced codec to do it other than publicity, though. Mpeg-2 works for High Definition just as well, the file sizes are about 30% larger though.

Re:WM9 Is a good codec (1, Flamebait)

jeeptj (463368) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653649)

True, especially with support for resolutions up to 1080i. Could this be the start for widespread digital movies in north america? I sure as hell hope so! More info about NAB 2003 here [] .

Re:WM9 Is a good codec (2, Insightful)

1337_h4x0r (643377) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653745)

I can't think of a single codec thats resolution limited. DIVX, X-Vid, MPEG-2.. all are capable of any resolution you want to throw at them.

Digital movies have been around for a while, they are sent to the theaters on like 12 DVD's and played back on TI DLP projectors. You've probably unwittingly sat in one and couldn't tell the difference. :)

Re:WM9 Is a good codec (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653759)

Oh, come on, man, it's Microsoft, what's wrong with you? We all know they never do anything right, their software never does anything useful but crash, and anyone that ever uses it is a flaming idiot!

But, now, if they installed Linux in theaters, we'd probably all transcend right up to heaven- wouldn't that be just swell?

Odd... (2, Insightful)

Chicane-UK (455253) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653585)

Well reading the article, it seems like the movies are going to be compressed into some kind of MS proprietry format from now on at these digital theatres, but regardless of whatever quality I have seen these files in, MPEG has always seemed sharper & generally better all round.

No I wont make the usual 'is that BSOD supposed to be in the middle of that film' type gag, but I do find this quite a weird move. MPEG has always been, in my opinion at least, one of the more superior video formats. VideoCD uses MPEG, and doesn't DVD?

Re:Odd... (1)

eht (8912) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653674)

DVD and SVCD use MPEG2

Re:Odd... (1)

chrisseaton (573490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653806)

You are clearly talking absolute bollocks, as WM9 is MPEG. How does MPEG look "sharper & generally better all round" than MPEG?

The upside... (1)

verloren (523497) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653586)

Promoting the release of independent films onto the "Direct to VCD" market. :)

Cheers or jeers (2, Insightful)

401k (640574) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653587)

Remember when people used to cheer the THX Lucasfilm logo? That was before Phantom Menace. I hardly expect anyone to cheer the Microsoft logo, but after the first big public fiasco with Palladium, the jeers may come.

Woo. (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653589)

I wonder if people will notice the subliminal "OBEY", "CONSUME" and "REPRODUCE" messages from MS..

Re:Woo. (3, Funny)

Enrico Pulatzo (536675) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653678)

Truly, "They Live" would be such a fitting movie to show.

If it was an GPL'd codec, I'd suggest the Communist subversion speech form Dr. Strangelove.

Re:Woo. (2, Funny)

sharkey (16670) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653681)

"One Soylent Green, extra butter."

Movie goers don't care... (4, Insightful)

suman28 (558822) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653592)

They don't care what tech is actually playing the movie. They just care about the movie. So, I am not sure what MS is trying to accomplish? Besides, now they will be competing with industry gaints that have been supplying to the theaters for decades.

Re:Movie goers don't care... (4, Interesting)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653684)

MS is trying to grab the theater so that when on-demand online movie broadcasting (I forget if there is a more specific term...the theaters will just not have to keep the data, it will be pumped to them on demand) comes to theaters, they are all in place to charge fees and licenses and have lock-in.

Hey, isn't it ironic how hollywood sponsored DRM could cut their own throats?

Re:Movie goers don't care... (1)

Chicane-UK (455253) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653685)

Well I dont know if Microsoft is on some kind of suicide mission spree lately.. their latest effort to try to take on Google [] seems like a total waste of time. They consider Google to be a threat to their business, and plan to release a better search engine.

But Google are masters at the search engine now - everyone loves them, they have an (almost) clean image, and they are fast becoming sure fire IPO candidates even in this shaky .com era. I dont know what Microsoft are going to achieve from taking on Google, OR the industry giants you mention in your post.



Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653740)

Also the poster is gay and lame and stupid and intellectually-lacking

Fuck him.

Quote of the day: "They can iron my balls into a pancake and eat them with pure Vermont maple syrup and butter." -me

Piracy? (4, Insightful)

Student_Tech (66719) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653599)

It doesn't mention this but woulnd't this make the stuff easier to pirate? Just copy the movie off the hard drive, reencode to desired format, distribute.

Re:Piracy? (0, Flamebait)

chrisseaton (573490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653667)

DRM, you idiot.

Re:Piracy? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653779)

Learn some manners, idiot

Re:Piracy? (1)

Student_Tech (66719) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653705)

Don't like to reply to myself, but 2nd read brought up the DRM part. But if people want to pirate it they will find a way arround that DRM, right?

Re:Piracy? (3, Interesting)

UpLateDrinkingCoffee (605179) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653716)

I'm sure Windows Media 9 has all sorts of DRM protections build in... This is their foot in the door, movie studios want to use it for distrubuting in digital because they dont have to worry about the files getting propagated all over the internet. After their used to that, it won't be long before this is the only format you can get your DVD's in...

If this isn't abuse of a monopoly... (-1, Flamebait)

dethl (626353) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653600)

then what the hell is? Although, 177 screens isn't alot now, but if it catches on quickly, more theaters will be using it. I don't have to worry about my town's only walk-in theater because the owner refuses to go digital.

So I wonder whats going to happen in the event that the computer decides to freeze.....Reboot....Get back to last part....rinse...repeat.....I would want my money back...

Re:If this isn't abuse of a monopoly... (-1, Flamebait)

cscx (541332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653639)

If this isn't abuse of a monopoly then what the hell is?

You're really pathetic.

Re:If this isn't abuse of a monopoly... (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653673)

I would want my money back...
So you saw Phantom Menace too?

Re:If this isn't abuse of a monopoly... (1)

zsmooth (12005) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653723)

Please explain how theaters using WMP9 to distribute digital movies equates to Microsoft abusing their monopoly on the desktop OS.


Re:If this isn't abuse of a monopoly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653736)

Even if it does catch on, there are plenty of other companies that are doing the same thing, both of which are bigger than MS in the media dept. Two that I am positive of are Kodak and Sony.

New motto (1)

portwojc (201398) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653602)

What shall we stick in our nose in next?

I can see it now... (1)

st0rmcold (614019) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653603)

A headset passed out at the door that will keep your eyes open during the commercials at the beginning of the movie, DRM enforcement of course :P

Maybe a tiny integrated chip into each popcorn to make sure you don't share the license agreement.

Caution - Prepare for Bad MS jokes (0)

aflat362 (601039) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653612)

Before the flood of Blue Screen of Death / crashing during the movie jokes gets out of control I would just like to say that the Anit-Microsoft jokes have been beaten to death lately on ANY microsoft related article.

Please, post responsibly and any modding of "funny" for these pathetic jokes is irresponsible.

who's gonna pay to watch a BSOD ? (-1, Flamebait)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653614)


millions of windows users, maybe ?

seriously now, ppl. is M$ software reliable enough to such operation ?

heck, the software they supplied to ISS caused serious problems to astronauts and cosmonauts before, and a movie theatre isn't as close as sensitive as a space station. I'd hate go to a movie and leave frustrated because the projector BSoDed, even if I receive my money back.

before I wiped WinCE in my ipaq to install linuux I noticed several anoying bugs, one of them the shor lived battery. owners of top-of-the-line BMWs also are being annoyed by bugs in the M$ software that runs on the car. M$ code simply cannot be trusted to drive some things.

Re:who's gonna pay to watch a BSOD ? (2, Insightful)

fetta (141344) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653701)

seriously now, ppl. is M$ software reliable enough to such operation ?

Given a static, known platform, I'll bet they can make it reliable. One of the biggest challenges for operating sytem reliability is that in the typical PC or server, the OS vendor has to try and make allowances for combinations of hardware and software that they have never even thought of. In this scenario, as long as the boxes are dedicated for the purpose of displaying digital video I'm sure they can figure out how to overcome any bugs that come up.

Having said that, it would be nice to see Red Hat or one of the other Linux distributions try to compete in this space. Certainly Linux does well in these sort of dedicated applications (e.g. Tivo).

"Theater-Quality" experience... (1)

verloren (523497) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653620)

... in Theaters! Only a company as great as MS could make that leap!

Though I wonder if this is the same "-Quality" brand they used when describing 64kbps wma files as CD-Quality?

no, seriously... (1)

hicktruckdriver (29349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653624)

Seriously, guys, those BSOD jokes (constituting something like 95% of the posts) are just so funny!

Does anybody have any more info on this? Are there other standards for digitally showing film?

Standards (2, Informative)

nitpick1 (649272) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653763)

The standards for digital cinema are still being worked out. The major studios have a consortium named Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) which is developing standards, and recently announced a minimum of 2k lines of resolution as their goal. The National Association of Theatre Owners has a general list of User Requirements for digital cinema here: Windows Media 9 tops out at 720k currently.

Freakin great... (1, Funny)

TheWickedKingJeremy (578077) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653625)

"Unable to play Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Unable to download the appropriate codec."

*slaps head*

The guys in the back? (1, Funny)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653626)

How will the copyright protection of Windows Media Player 9 effect the guys with the camcorders sitting at the back?

got cheap web site hosting [] ?

WMP Codec problems (-1, Offtopic)

cybercrap (319182) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653629)

Yay now we can listen to the movie but not watch it because WMP is stupid and can't ever d/l the right codecs.

Quailty... (1)

MrLint (519792) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653631)

Perhaps I am behind the times, But to this day I havent seen a WMP file that didnt really look crummy. *shrug*

On the other hand, digital projection upgrade for theatres cost a fortune. Ihave to wonder if this WMP 'upgrade' at these theatres are gonan lock these guys into some future non fuctional system.

Choosing a propriatry format when there are equally good ones is almost always a bad idea. But as we all now, some slick salesman walks in and talk to some business school graduate management who still hasnt mastered Instant messenger and says "hey look at the shiny object!"

Re:Quailty... (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653664)

That just means they were overly compressed.

Uhm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653633)

When they start top thin the line between the theater and the home computer, doesn't "piracy" become more popular as theaters seem to be using the same stuff as you do at home...

Oh sure, editors (0, Funny)

Snork Asaurus (595692) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653642)

Now you find the April Fools material.

So... (1)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653650)

Who will start boycottinng new movie releases because of TEH EVIL M$ ?

Re:So... (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653787)

Everyone who's already boycotting new movie releases because of TEH EVIL MPAA.

Re:So... (1)

TKinias (455818) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653795)

scripsit dnaumov:

Who will start boycottinng new movie releases because of TEH EVIL M$ ?

Um, I already boycott most new movies because they suck. Not much will change :/

WM9 *is* MPEG-4 (5, Informative)

1337_h4x0r (643377) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653655)

WM9 is an implementation of MPEG-4, it's just a proprietary one. It uses the same I-frame and compressed p-frame concepts as mpeg-4. DIVX is another well-known implementation. Also X-Vid.

Re:WM9 *is* MPEG-4 (0)

darkblade1782 (311252) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653790)

It would appear you forgot the obligatory BSOD reference.
*blows whistle*
Informative post! Ten yards, replay of down.

Screensavers on the silver screen!!! (1)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653660)

I can't wait to see someone's latest bitchin' GL screensaver interupting Episode 3!!!

Re:Screensavers on the silver screen!!! (1)

NastyGnat (515785) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653798)

Better yet, the disgruntled employee renames his debbie does dallas VCD to "poohs new adventures" and gives all the little kiddies a little more "pooh" than they bargained for...

This isn't such a good idea... (1)

dan4606 (588756) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653677)

After a few weeks the whole screen will be covered with patches...

At least... (1)

xRelisH (647464) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653679)

Windows media player isn't part of office. How "entertaining" it would be for that annoying paperclip to pop up in the middle of the movie and give its little own critique on the movie.

Independent film distribution (4, Interesting)

Lechter (205925) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653686)

This could be a great boon to the independent film "industry!" As they mention in the article, the costs of getting your movie out to distributers would be much much more copying and mailing huge film reels to each theater (but no more spliced-in single frames of porn either :-( ). Of course, this would only be the case if the encoding software were similarly inexpensive, and with MS cuddling up to Hollywood for DRM, I don't see this happening.

Perhaps, this will provide the impetus to upgrade to digital projection equipment on which someone will implement an open codec...

Article Text (-1, Redundant)

1337_h4x0r (643377) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653689)

LOS ANGELES and REDMOND, Wash., April 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today Landmark Theatres and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT - News) announced that they are equipping 177 screens in all 53 Landmark Theatres across the United States with digital cinema playback systems based on Microsoft® Windows Media® 9 Series. This unprecedented agreement represents the largest digital cinema theater circuit installation to date in the United States. (Photo: OGO ) For the first time, a critical mass of the independent film industry's infrastructure will be wired for digital distribution. This helps address the escalating costs of releasing theatrical films, which weighs heaviest on the independent sector, as it must pay the same costs to release a film as the major studios. The creation of a complete digital alternative represents a major breakthrough in these economies that will help guarantee greater diversity and access to the marketplace for independent filmmakers and distributors alike. "Landmark's mandate has always been to build an alternative infrastructure dedicated to the enhancement and proliferation of independent film," said Bert Manzari, executive vice president of Landmark Theatres. "We exhibit over 250 films a year, and all too many of these films succeed or fail due to market economics rather than artistic accomplishment." The newly outfitted theaters will be able to screen films encoded digitally in Windows Media 9 Series, which enables high-resolution, theater-quality experiences with up to 7.1 channel surround sound. The network rollout is expected to be completed by the end of this year. "Landmark Theatres' commitment to specialty film and its established leadership in the independent exhibition space offers Microsoft the perfect opportunity to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to the independent film community," said Dave Fester, general manager of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft. "Moviegoers get the high-quality theatrical experience of Windows Media 9 Series, while producers and distributors benefit from the cost savings associated with mastering and releasing films digitally." Landmark President and CEO Paul Richardson was a featured presenter at a symposium on digital cinema at this year's Sundance Film Festival. "What has impressed me most is the enormous breadth of interest in digital cinema that has been generated since the festival. I've been contacted by key distributors, investment bankers and members of the creative community, all of whom want to know when we can deliver a complete solution to digital distribution," Richardson said. "I believe that we will look back at this moment as one when we were able to fundamentally change the business model in a way that will allow far more of these films to compete successfully." Working with Microsoft and Landmark to deploy the network will be Digital Cinema Solutions (DCS). DCS will supply its solution, the Cinema System, which has powered the BMW Films Digital Cinema Series in 25 theaters since November 2002. The DCS Cinema System employs a networked PC architecture that integrates into existing theater infrastructure. Once the network is in place, Windows Media 9 Series allows films to be sent to theaters over private networks, on CD-ROM or on DVD-ROM, all protected with Windows Media Digital Rights Management technology. "The independent film space has largely been ignored by digital cinema," said Jim Steele, president of DCS. "The small, current base of digital cinema installations targets the largest screens and multiplexes focused on mainstream Hollywood blockbusters. The program announced today by Landmark and Microsoft will change all that because it creates a nationwide network of independent digital cinemas, effectively solving the 'chicken and the egg' problem for the independent film community by allowing them to move forward for the first time with wide-scale digital distribution."

The flames in this thread (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653722)

So guys what's with the ridiculous amount of flames in this thread? Is "micro$hit suX0rz" the best you can come up with or are you just afraid that this is a good product and your open sores shit just can't compete?

You penis lickers amuse me.

The screen (2)

st0rmcold (614019) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653743)

Sure this sounds all peachy on the outside, but is this quality really due to the film and not the projector?

Great if we start getting digital films, but unless they make 30 foot plasma screens, I really don't expect to see much of a difference.

The Films (1)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653803)

Well, you've got a point BUT...
a digital feed is a lot cheaper to produce than rolls and rolls of film. This means that theatres could become much different places - they won't be limited to just showing what the big buys have churned out with all their money. Want to watch home movies or you and your dad playing baseball? Rent the theatre for an hour, pump your digital feed in, and enjoy. The possibilities this opens go really far beyond that but there's an example. The difference isn't coming from the quality but from what is being shown.

New business model for Theaters - not just movies (3, Insightful)

fetta (141344) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653746)

The exciting aspect of digital video in movie theaters (regardless of whether the underlying technology is MS or not) is the flexibility that becomes available.

With digital projection, why not rent out a movie theater for a super bowl party? maybe we'll start seeing Monday night independent film festivals in suburban theaters? In theory, digital projection could open up all kinds of new possibilities for the theater industry.

Bluescreen (1)

termos (634980) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653750)

I have always wanted to know how a BSOD would look in a movie theatre.

Oh wait, I forgot to post as Anonymous Coward.

money back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653758)

Do we get our money back if it blue screens?

Just Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653765)

I can see all the candy being hucked at the larger-than-life pause/play button, now.

And you thought the laser-pointers were annoying!

Oh goody! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5653780)

Now they will be digital but they will be encoded in the crappy quality WMV format!

now instead of the big screen (1)

dan4606 (588756) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653784)

we can call it the blue screen

Unconditional Microsoft Hate? (-1, Insightful)

cybergibbons (554352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653800)

Again, all the people come out of the woodwork, complaining how it's going to crash all the time, how it's going to be shit quality, how it's a monopoly (which, it isn't), etc. etc.

You want to know why there isn't an open source/linux/whatever you promote solution? Probably because it doesn't even compare in stability, support, reliability, or features. I watch movies under Windows, because it is easy. I don't have to fuck about for hours installing this and that, having the right hardware...

The movie goer does not care how the movie is projected, how it gets to the cinema, or whatever. The prices of tickets are unlikely to change much when it all goes digital, popcorn and drinks will still cost a fortune, only they won't have to courier huge reels of film about, or employ trained projectionists.

And at the end of the day, it has to be sold to the theatres. Any money, Microsoft went out and started trying to sell their product. Other people don't. That's why they are the ones in this position.

Lower cost to consumer? (2, Interesting)

vandelay (413358) | more than 11 years ago | (#5653801)

I would hope that the ticket prices do down with the film in digital format. I get a bit upset when $20 doesn't cover a night at the movies.
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