Sony and TOHO Cinemas ink deal for Total Digital Cinema System solution

MUMBAI: Sony Corporation and Japan’s TOHO Cinemas Inc. have reached an agreement to install a total digital cinema system solution. Through this agreement, Sony 4K Digital Cinema projection systems will be installed in all TOHO Cinemas sites for each of the exhibitor’s 545 screens, not including co-operated theaters.

The installation is planned to be completed by December 2012.

Sony will provide TOHO Cinemas with a total digital cinema system solution, which mainly consists of Sony 4K digital cinema projectors and projection servers. Specifically, a theater projection system is connected through a network and is composed of a Theater Management System (TMS), which centrally controls content, and a central server system.

Sony will also provide TOHO Cinemas with designated maintenance and service including a customer call center, remote hardware and system monitoring, and periodic maintenance.

TOHO Cinemas can also utilize Sony’s comprehensive hardware, system, and service while reducing initial startup and maintenance costs.

"We value Sony’s accomplishments in the digitalization of theaters, which it has achieved through cooperation with major Hollywood studios, domestic/overseas studios and distribution companies. Sony is also the only company which can provide the high-resolution 4K projector as well as a complete and future-proof projection system,” said an official from TOHO Cinemas.

Recently, digitalization in the movie industry has been rapidly accelerating, and the number of screens with digital projection systems has been quickly expanding. According to estimates by the research firm Screen Digest, the number of digital screens will increase globally from 16,000 in 2009 to 25,000 in 2010, while the number of digital screens in Japan will double from 400 to almost 800.

Through digitalization of theaters, content can be maintained in master quality without deterioration from scratches or dust. Also, theaters have the flexibility to show alternative content such as live theater, concerts, and sporting events, thus creating additional revenue streams and increased programming options for customers.

Since Sony introduced its “Digital Cinema Solution Service” in October 2009, there have been an increasing number of movie studios and distribution companies which have supplied digital film content as well as alternative content to theaters. Digitalization in the movie industry is expected to further accelerate, as a result of TOHO Cinemas efforts to digitize its theaters.