Berlin (Germany) - Three German companies yesterday demonstrated what could be considered the ultimate movie experience of the future: If you thought it just doesn't get better than a 1080p high-definition home theater, think again: Cinevision 2006 runs at a stunning 10 megapixel resolution and promises to improve to 16 megapixels down the road: Extra: slide show.
Movie theaters around have seen better days than these. Movie goers aren't coming back quite as often as theaters and film studios would like them to; stalling and declining revenues across the nation is an often reported story and the nearing high-definition home theater may only worsen the outlook - at least if companies such as Intel, which envision consumers to enjoy more and more movie premieres in the comfort of their own home.
But high-definition isn't just a technology for the home theater. In the U.S., the "Digital Cinema Initiative" (DCI), which includes Disney, Fox, MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal und Warner Bros., develops a "4K" digital movie theater, which is able to scale a JPEG2000 code stream to a resolution of up to 4096 x 2160 pixels. Considering the size of the movie theater screen, this resolution however may not be enough to impress spoiled movie enthusiasts.
How far resolution can scale was demonstrated yesterday by Fraunhofer ISS, known as the developer of the MP3 digital audio format, the movie camera developer Arri and the German movie theater projector manufacturer Kinoton. According to a report published by Golem.de, a technology dubbed Cinevision 2006 was shown in a "5K" version, which is capable of delivering 5000 x 2000 pixels and ran in a 5000 x 1480 version during the demo. Despite the sheer size of the screen, the resolution of the broadcast - a soccer game - were crisp and clearly outpaced currently available the digital TV we know here in the US and also the European DVB-T standard. Christian Klass, editor-in-chief of Golem.de told TG Daily that the 5K broadcast did not reveal any artifacts within the picture.
Cinevision project participants said that a typical 90 minute 5K movie will require about 45 GB of storage space, which calls for a substantial bandwidth to transmit the data to theaters. For now, Cinevision 2006 is expected to use regular hard drives to bring those movies into theaters; for the future secure satellite connections are expected to supply movie theaters with movie content.
The technology behind displaying the 5K movie included five projectors, which achieved a combined 10 megapixel resolution. Overlapping image parts were synchronized by technology provided by Fraunhofer IIS, and - according to Klass - the approach did not result in any visible deteriorations of the image quality.
According to Golem.de, a 4K or 5K movie experience will take some time to make its way into reality. Representatives of Fraunhofer IIS expect that we will have to wait another five years until 5K projectors will be available on a commercial basis. Another ten years may go by until the movie theater industry will adopt the technology. Once implemented, however, HD movie theaters may improve at a faster pace - the Cinevision 2006 participants already talk about 8K movies with resolutions of up to 16 megapixel.