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Kodak Demos E-Cinema Solutions at CineExpo

Shows expanded array of digital cinema solutions (June 21, 2004)

Eastman Kodak Company is showcasing an array of current and future digital solutions here at the annual Cinema Expo International conference. Included are Kodak's fully networked systems and services being used to deliver pre-show advertising to hundreds of screens in the United States.

The company is also demonstrating a prototype digital system intended for showing independent features, documentaries, local language movies, and other moving image content on independent cinema screens in rural or community locations.

"The prototype demonstrations are designed to gain customer feedback we can use to fine tune our future offering for different market needs," says Bill Doeren, general manager of Kodak Digital Cinema and vice president of Kodak's Entertainment Imaging business. "Kodak is committed to being a full solution supplier, serving every phase of the digital cinema market as it develops."

Kodak, working with ad suppliers Cinema Screen Media and Hatch Marketing, has become the number three supplier of digital pre-show systems worldwide during the past eight months. The pre-show advertising is sold and designed by Cinema Screen Media or Hatch, using the Kodak Network Operations Center (NOC) to distribute the content.

Kodak Digital Cinema pre-show systems are currently installed on Century, CineArts, Harkins, Marcus, Classic, Eastern Federal, and Great Texas Movie Company screens in major metropolitan areas of the U.S. Kodak-distributed pre-shows are currently seen by more than a million movie-goers a month.

"Our pre-show solution is finding good acceptance in the marketplace," says Denis Kelly, Operations Manager for Kodak Digital Cinema in Europe. "The prototype solution we're demonstrating is the next phase but clearly not the final phase of our growing digital involvement."

In commercial form, Kodak's solution will be part of a fully networked system with content managed by Kodak. First, using a secure Kodak Internet portal, studios or distributors will provide security keys for movies; exhibitors will input schedules for trailers and shows; and ad suppliers will post pre-show content and metadata. Separately, studios or distributors also will provide a digital master of the motion picture. Kodak Digital Cinema Services, the company's NOC, will encode, encrypt, compress, and assemble, duplicate, and distribute the content to Kodak systems in the cinemas, according to the terms of the exhibitor-distributor contract. In the cinemas, Kodak system servers will receive, load, and stage the content, securely decrypting it and playing it through a range of projectors. The Kodak system will handle multi-language audio tracks, subtitling, and closed captioning. It will also include Kodak Color Management, so movies are consistently projected as filmmakers intend them to be seen.

"The market is at a stage when product capabilities and customer expectations are evolving rapidly," says Kelly. "The customer insights we gain from our demonstrations will help to guide our on-going advancement efforts, as they always do in Kodak product development."

Kelly expects digital cinema to evolve in phases, with varying standards and operational capabilities for different applications and markets.

Kelly noted that digital pre-show advertising is generally projected at standard TV resolution. "But for independent, local language and documentaries, the market is looking for resolution at a minimum of SXGA and up to HD and 2K," he adds. "And for full digital cinema, studios will require cinemas to use high resolution projectors capable of delivering the full dynamic range and colors recorded on film."

Doeren reemphasized Kodak's long-term commitment to offer the right solution, at the right resolution, for market needs. When the market requires a 4K projector, it will be part of Kodak's offering.

"In the entertainment arena, Kodak continues to set the 'gold standard' for motion picture film," Doeren says. "We expect to do the same for all phases of digital cinema. For us, this will be a long and exciting journey."

About Eastman Kodak Company
Kodak is the leader in helping people take, share, print and view images for memories, for information, for entertainment. The company is a major participant in infoimaging, a $385 billion industry composed of devices (digital cameras and flat-panel displays), infrastructure (online networks and delivery systems for images) and services & media (software, film and paper enabling people to access, analyze and print images). With sales of $13.3 billion in 2003, the company comprises several businesses: Health, supplying the healthcare industry with traditional and digital image capture and output products and services; Commercial Printing, offering on-demand color printing and networking publishing systems; Commercial Imaging, offering image capture, output and storage products and services to businesses and government; Display & Components, which designs and manufactures state-of-the-art organic light-emitting diode displays as well as other specialty materials, and delivers optics and imaging sensors to original equipment manufacturers; and Digital & Film Imaging Systems, providing consumers, professionals and cinematographers with digital and traditional products and services.

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