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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

News items: Current digital cinema stats from Christie/AIX...Disney downloads with CinemaNow

- Buried in this press release from AccessIT are some interesting stats about how quickly the company's Christie/AIX subsidiary is digitizing movie theaters. Christie/AIX "has completed the installation of approximately 400 digital projection systems in 17 states with a goal of reaching at least 500 in-time for July 4th weekend. Complete digitization of the Emagine and UltraStar chains concluded early this year, as the first of multiple installations at Cinetopia and Galaxy Theatres, and the initial phase of up to 2,300 systems at Carmike Cinemas commenced."

- Disney is announcing that as of June 6, its movies will be available for purchase from CinemaNow as a digital download. Pricing will be similar to DVDs -- around $20 for new releases and $10 for library titles.

The big deal in this annnouncement is that Disney's movies (I'm not sure if this will apply to other downloads from CinemaNow) can be transferred onto a Windows Portable Media Center -- but not an iPod. Thus far, downloads from Movielink can only be watched on a PC or laptop. This puts Apple under pressure to start finding some movies to sell on its iTunes Music Store. (Disney's deal with CinemaNow is non-exclusive, so expect that studio to be one of Apple's first targets.)

To recap, Movielink is offering download-to-own titles from Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Paramount Pictures. CinemaNow is offering movies from Disney, Sony, MGM and LionsGate Entertainment.

(Here's the LA Times report..)