Life after VPF
Life after VPF?
With the VPF-programmes now all coming to an end, and most unlikely to be repeated, what’s the appetite for a technology-refresh? Karl Anderson, CEO of DigiCine, offers a positive opinion.
Any new equipment purchases will need to be funded via banks, leasing companies or else from exhibitors’ own cash reserves. If equipment is still providing value, there is an argument to keep it deployed for as long as possible provided that any associated pains are tolerable. This in turn allows for a phased introduction of new technology at a pace controlled by the exhibitor rather than a ‘big bang’ approach which can expensive.
One of the biggest single-cost items from digitisation was the projector. The Series 1 projectors were built to last and have exceeded initial expectations of life-expectancy. Whilst the projector-manufacturers have sought to sell replacements before declaring end-of-life on the projectors, there’s growing conjecture that we’ll see a return of the ‘cottage industry’-type solutions companies use to keep the equipment viable for a number of years to come.
The absence of VPF changes exhibitors’ investment strategy and many will opt to have both the new and the old tech operating side-by-side (e.g. new laser alongside Series 1 projectors), electing to keep the bulk of what they have for as long as possible. This strategy allows an exhibitor to manage his technology-updates in his own time frames, and let’s not forget that most will want to squeeze profits from their assets. This is likely to lead to utilising VPF-stocks and the cannibalisation of equipment. For example, some of the OE-providers of D-Cinema servers don’t have a current replacement product; the number of spares available for those original cinema servers has dwindled, and functionality hasn’t kept pace with industry advances.
One such solutions company is Digital Cinema Systems Corp (DigiCine), which has been bringing innovate solutions to exhibitor over several years. The company’s portfolio includes a D-Cinema server (i.e. Media Player or Screen Management System). Its Series 1 solution is designed to replace those media players originally deployed with a feature-rich DCI-compliant measure that gives a new lease-of-life for the projector while giving exhibitors a genuine alternative to the projector manufacturer's replacement strategy.
The typical costs of a new Series 2 projector are in the order of $25k - $40k for small-to-medium-sized screens, and yet it’s often the original media player that’s failed and requires replacement, and not ITAL the projector itself. A DigiCine media player would cost around 20% of that of a new projector and can defer an expensive projector-decision for maybe five years. This gives enhanced functionality (such as Atmos and subtitling); enhances also the movie-goers’ experience, and reduces the cost of engineering call-outs – not to mention that, by extending the life of the Series 1 projector, the media player enhance the overall projectors’ resale-value.
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Tagged as: Media Player
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