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Kodak to Demonstrate Prototype Digital Cinema System

LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 7, 2001-- Eastman Kodak Company announced today that it will demonstrate a prototype of a higher-resolution, digital cinema system. The unique system will incorporate very high quality image projection, Kodak color management, anti-piracy protection, theatre automation, and multi-screen distribution.

Testing will begin in the next several weeks at the Kodak Imaging Technology Center (ITC) in Los Angeles. Kodak, which announced the demonstrations at the annual ShoWest conference of the motion picture industry in Las Vegas, said the system could be available in one to two years, although the company may test prototypes in cinemas before then. The system reflects Kodak's strategy of harnessing the best of traditional and digital technologies so people can do more with pictures than ever before.

"We intend to ensure that the evolution of a digital cinema system satisfies the diverse needs of distributors, exhibitors and filmmakers alike," said Robert J. Mayson, general manager of the Cinema Operations Group, a part of Kodak's Entertainment Imaging division. "It must be affordable and provide realistic financial benefits along with reliable anti-piracy safeguards. At the same time, if digital cinema is going to live up to its promise, it must accurately and consistently represent the artistic intentions of the creative community."

Mayson noted that the Kodak Digital Cinema System combines the company's extensive imaging experience and technology with components and systems of others.

"We are developing our system in collaboration with our customers," said Mayson, "and the input we gain during demonstrations will serve as a roadmap for guiding ongoing research and development efforts. Digital cinema is not a new piece of equipment, but a process for handling and distributing images."

The prototype Kodak Digital Cinema Projector will be supported by a custom operating system that will be used to manage loading, scheduling, control and playback of features, trailers and other pre-show content on multiple digital screens. The projector will incorporate proprietary Kodak color management technology and electronic drivers designed to ensure artistic integrity.

The company is also developing anti-piracy safeguards that will conform to encryption standards for digital cinema being developed by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). Mayson demonstrated simulations of some of these various technologies in his presentation.

"We will also incorporate best-in-class technology provided by other companies," said Glenn Kennel, Digital Cinema Program manager for Kodak's Entertainment Imaging division. "We are integrating a server and networking hardware from Sun Microsystems, and our digital projector will be the first to use the new JVC 2048 by 1536 D-ILA microchips."

Mayson said this is part of a concerted effort to enhance the movie-going experience.

"As television improves by providing more diverse sources of content and much higher-quality images and sound, it will become increasingly important to differentiate the movie-going experience," he says. "Our goal is to provide more creative freedom for filmmakers and more flexibility for projecting their images with true fidelity on cinema screens."

As Kodak develops its Digital Cinema System, Kennel noted, " We believe that film and digital technologies both serve useful purposes in all aspects of the creation, postproduction, distribution and display of motion pictures, and they will co-exist for many years. That's why we are engaging the creative community, distributors and exhibitors in this process."

For additional information visit the Kodak website at www.kodak.com/go/motion.

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