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Ballantyne of Omaha Helps Illuminate Digital Premier of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Press Release  |  Jun 18, 1999

Provides Light Source to Prototype Digital Projectors Used in Historic Cinema Event

OMAHA, Nebraska -- June 18, 1999 -- Ballantyne of Omaha, Inc. (NYSE:BTN), the world's largest supplier of commercial motion picture projection equipment, is helping illuminate the digital premiere of Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace through its Xenon-powered Strong Ultra 80(TM) lamp houses, which are part of the Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN) DLP Cinema(TM) projection technology displaying the film at select theaters in Burbank, California and Secaucus, New Jersey. Sponsored by Lucasfilm Ltd., the digital exhibition of Star Wars represents the first-ever, fully digital premiere of a feature-length movie.

John Wilmers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ballantyne, commented, "As the motion picture projection equipment industry's largest supplier, Ballantyne is thrilled to serve as a link between the movie-going experience of yesterday and the digital cinema of tomorrow. Our 68-year industry presence and unrivaled Xenon light expertise make us a logical partner for any company wishing to advance their digital cinema technology to the next level. Texas Instruments is at the forefront of this emerging revolution, and we're excited to support their efforts."

By providing the power to cast digital images over 100 or more feet onto a 30-60 foot display surface (a typical environment in multiplex theaters), Xenon light technology enables digital projectors to provide image clarity and color comparable to that provided by traditional film-dependent projectors. Xenon technology was first developed for military applications during World War II and was later used by NASA for space exploration purposes. Today Xenon lights are used for a wide variety of purposes including television and film production, cinema exhibition, architectural lighting and outdoor entertainment events.

Ballantyne's collaboration with Texas Instruments is part of the Company's strategy to position itself for the expected transition to digital projectors. Earlier this year, Ballantyne formed a strategic alliance with Digital Projection International - a DLP vendor and Emmy Award-winning manufacturer of large-venue theatrical, presentation and multi-media projection systems - to collaborate on the development of high brightness, large screen displays featuring DLP technology, a prototype of which was introduced last week.

Ballantyne of Omaha is the world's largest supplier of commercial motion picture projection equipment utilized by prominent theater chains including Regal Cinemas, AMC and Loews Cineplex, and specialty projection equipment used by location-based entertainment providers such as The Walt Disney Co., Universal Studios, IMAX and MegaSystems. Ballantyne of Omaha also manufactures, rents and leases specialty entertainment lighting products used at top arenas, television and motion picture production studios, theme parks and architectural sites.


Ballantyne of Omaha
Brad French


Jaffoni & Collins Incorporated
Stewart Lewack
Joseph Jaffoni

Business Wire Story BW1189  JUN 18,1999 is protected by copyright and other applicable laws, treaties and conventions.  Information in the release is furnished by Business Wire's member, who is solely responsible for content, accuracy and originality.  All reproduction, other than for an individual user's personal reference, is prohibited without prior written permission.