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October 6, 1999

Technicolor Invests in Digital Movie Technology

By CBR Staff Writer

The beginning of the end of the celluloid era in film-making was signaled last week when Technicolor agreed to pay $23m for a 49% interest in Real Image Technology Inc, which has developed a range of processes to compress, encrypt and store films digitally. The technology opens the way to transmit films by wire to e-cinemas.

For Camarillo, California-based Technicolor, which introduced color to the movies 80 years ago, the embracing of digital technology is a sign that it is almost mature enough to displace expensive celluloid. Technicolor distributes films for major studios to 34,000 cinemas across the US and digital transmission would offer huge savings.

Apart from its initial investment, Technicolor, a subsidiary of London, UK-based Carlton Communications Plc, will invest a further $60m to develop the business. Real Image is working with Princeton, New Jersey-based Sarnoff Corp, which has developed the compression technology for electronic delivery of digital movies.

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