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« ABI to Industry: No Worries | Main | Caught in the Squeeze »

January 25, 2005

WiMax Goes Hollywood

By Nancy Gohring

Well, I should really say, WiMax goes Park City, but that doesn’t quite have the same ring to it: A theater in Park City, Utah, premiered a film that was delivered to the theater wirelessly, in part. Surprise surprise: the effort seems to have been sponsored or at least orchestrated by Intel. Intel workers in Oregon encrypted the film, which was shot digitally. It was streamed to Salt Lake City, then wirelessly transmitted to Park City. A so-called “WiMax” connection transmitted the film to a mountain there where it was then sent to the theater. As we all know, WiMax equipment doesn’t yet exist, so let’s assume that the equipment used is made by a vendor that intends to try to certify the equipment.

Much of the conclusions drawn in this article regarding the affect this process could have on film distribution are more the result of digital filming than wireless technology. Nonetheless, wireless might make the process of digital film distribution that much easier if it makes hooking a broadband connection to the theater cheaper and faster than using wireline.

I saw a couple of digital movie previews at the Cinerama in Seattle. It was one of just a handful of theaters that could digitally show digitally shot movies—the first big film to be totally digitally shot and digitally shown was one of the new Star Wars films. At the time, I wrote a story for the Seattle Times about the first screening of the film and learned a bit about how digital filming can ease the pain of distributing actual film to theaters.

That Star Wars movie was wirelessly downloaded, via satellite, to the theater. The download took over six hours, so perhaps the wireless method used in the recent Park City experiment went quite a bit quicker. A broadband wireline connection could also be used to download the film.

Per the theater managers I talked to, there’s a bit of resistance to upgrading the theaters to accept and view digital films. The theater managers don’t see much benefit to them and so they’re reluctant to spend the money on the upgrade.

Posted by nancyg at January 25, 2005 12:39 PM

Categories: applications

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