TGV goes digital all the way

GOING DIGITAL: (l-r) Redberry Ambient managing director Tho Tuck Woh, Christie Asia Pacific vice-president Lin Yu, Gerald V. Dibbayawan and KRU Studios chief marketing officer Johan Lucas at the announcement that the cinema chain is going 100% digital projection.

Leading cinema chain TGV has just announced that the company’s cineplexes have moved away from traditional film projection systems and have now gone 100% digital. 

According to Gerald V. Dibbayawan, chief executive officer of TGV Cinemas Sdn Bhd, the company has installed an additional 164 units of the Christie DLP Digital Cinema projectors in its halls around the country and is now the first cinema chain to fully embrace digital projection here. 

Moving to digital projection represents a major shift in how a cinema works. Logistically, for example, instead of having to hire trucks to transport loads of heavy (and room-filling) film cannisters to the cinema, the film is distributed as a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) which is similar in size and function to a hard disk drive containing the encrypted digital copy of the film. 

Although these digital films are currently being physically transferred to the TGV locations, the advent of digital cinema also means that digital films can be wirelessly transferred directly to cinemas using satellite transmission technology. 

“That future is not too far away,” Gerald said, adding that some cinemas in the United States already employ satellite transmission to deliver their films. 

According to Gerald, the cost of setting up digital projection halls is about RM200,000 to 300,000 per screen. 

In addition to the current 164 units of the Christie CP2220 digital projectors already installed, TGV has also extended the partnership with Christie Digital Systems Inc, USA to acquire another 200 units of the Christie digital cinema projectors as part of TGV’s ongoing expansion plans in this country. 

The Christie CP2220 digital cinema projectors currently project at 2K resolution (2,048 x 1,080pixels) although they are upgradeable to 4K (4,096 x 2,160-pixels) if needed. 

Gerald said that the company has no plans to upgrade the cinemas to 4K since Hollywood films are mostly distributed in 2K, for now. 

“The benefits of 4K are right now debatable — we feel that going digital already offers more tangible benefits such as higher brightness, better colour, support for 3D and higher frame rates,” said Gerald. 

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