Digital projectors poised to take over world's theaters by late 2015
Old-fashioned film projectors could be relics by the end of 2015. Texas Instruments Inc., which makes the DLP Cinema computer chips used in digital projectors, predicted Wednesday that the world's theater industry would be entirely digital in the next four years.
The Dallas company said that the number of its DLP digital projectors installed around the globe had reached 51,620 screens, an 84% increase over the last 12 months. Much of the growth has been in China and Europe.
Currently, more than half of the world's 125,000-plus screens and 62% of U.S. screens have been converted digitally as studios move rapidly to phase out costly film prints. The transition also has been accelerated by the popularity of 3-D blockbusters like "Avatar," which, in most cases, require digital projectors in order to be played in cinemas.
"When we started in 2005, we really thought it was going to take 10 or 15 years for digital cinema to be fully adopted, but in a matter of a few years we've gone past a tipping point," said Jack Kline, president of Christie Digital Sytems USA Inc. in Cypress, which licenses technology from Texas Instruments and has shipped and installed more than 26,000 digital cinema projectors to date. "It's astounded us at how quickly it was adopted."
-- Richard Verrier
Photo: Moviegoers at the Century 8 Theater in North Hollywood. Credit: Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles Times