SightSound Technologies and Microsoft Debut Digital Cinema Trial Using Windows Media

MOUNT LEBANON, Pa., REDMOND, Wash., and LOS ANGELES, March 19, 2001 — SightSound Technologies, Microsoft Corp. and Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Co. today announced that they are working together on a digital cinema trial in Pittsburgh, where audiences can watch a movie commercially delivered over the Internet and projected onto a movie screen using Microsoft® Windows Media™

On March 19,
“Quantum Project,”
the Internet feature film produced by Metafilmics and starring Stephen Dorff, Fay Masterson and John Cleese, will have its theatrical premiere at Pittsburgh’s Star City Cinemas.

“This is a natural extension for SightSound Technologies, as it has been our goal from the beginning to create digital distribution solutions for the motion picture industry,”
said Scott Sander, president and CEO of SightSound Technologies.
“We see this as an opportunity to implement an economically efficient solution for the content owners as well as the theater owners.”

SightSound Technologies Digital Cinema System is an extension of the system SightSound originally developed to distribute movies to homes over the Internet. Digital cinema offers significant benefits for the movie industry, including reduced distribution costs and higher quality without breaks or jitters. Key obstacles to the adoption of digital cinema — picture quality and security — are resolved with Microsoft’s Windows Media Video 8, which offers high-quality pictures and integrated digital rights management.

“Windows Media Video 8 unlocks the potential for the distribution of high-quality video, both in the home and in theaters,”
said Dave Fester, general manager of marketing for the Digital Media Division at Microsoft.
“SightSound’s innovations make it cost effective for cinemas to deliver an enjoyable digital cinema experience to moviegoers today.”

The SightSound distribution system takes advantage of Internet protocols and widely available computer hardware. Eliminating the necessity for special equipment lowers the cost of deploying digital cinema technology to the more than 100,000 theater screens around the world. This trial represents the first step to assist these theaters in the adoption of digital cinema delivered over the Internet.

The SightSound system manages the security of the film using Windows Media digital rights management. The encrypted Windows Media video is downloaded from SightSound Technologies’ media servers, with the license for the theatrical showing of the movie purchased and served over an Internet connection. A computer workstation with twin Pentium III processors plays the movie through a Panasonic PT-D9600U DLP™

This projector is designed specifically for large-screen digital cinema projection with its 12,000 ANSI lumens light output and digital image processing. Its superb image quality is the result of projecting the native format of the source.

For the theatrical exhibition of
“Quantum Project,”
SightSound exploits the advanced compression technology in Windows Media Video 8, the latest video codec from Microsoft. SightSound prepared the film for large-screen display using two-pass variable bit rate encoding at an average bit rate of 4.1 Mbps, yielding screen resolution of 1280×1024.

About SightSound Technologies

SightSound Technologies is a video and audio download and file-share electronic commerce company supporting the motion picture and music industries as they adopt digital distribution. SightSound Technologies provides its services to the motion picture industry through relationships with companies like Miramax Films, which has released the first of 12 movies for Internet download; Comedy Central, which is distributing collectible episodes of
“South Park”
; and Metafilmics, the producers of Quantum Project, the first movie created exclusively for worldwide Internet distribution through SightSound Technologies. SightSound Technologies is also distributing episodes of
for Lyrick Studios and movies for Franchise Pictures, Unapix Entertainment and more than 40 other independent producers and special-interest companies.

SightSound Technologies continues to make Internet history. It did so first in 1995 by selling the first music online; then in 1999 by renting the first full-length movie online; and then in the summer of 2000 by releasing the first Internet feature film.

About Panasonic’s PT-D9600U Large-Venue DLP-Based Projector

Panasonic’s PT-D9600U large-venue DLP-based projector offers true 1280×1024 SXGA resolution (maximum 1600×1200 U-XGA resizing) and delivers a spectacular brightness of more than 12,000 ANSI lumens and a greater than 550-to-1 contrast ratio. The PT-D9600U is fully HDTV compatible and displays 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080/24p images in 4-to-3 or 16-to-9 aspect ratios. Using available optional lens, the PT-D9600U can project an image from 100 feet to 600 feet in 4-to-3 and from 100 feet to 550 feet in 16-to-9. The projector’s universal format converter features a moving picture resizing circuit to reformat video signals carrying massive amounts of data without being able to perceive individual pixels. HD cinema presentations, for instance, can be displayed in their natural 16-to-9 size with vibrant colors.

About Windows Media

Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, providing unmatched audio and video quality to consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations. Windows Media offers the industry’s only integrated rights-management solution and the most scalable and reliable streaming technology tested by independent labs. Windows Media Technologies includes Windows Media Player for consumers, Windows Media Services for servers, Windows Media Tools for content creation, and the Windows Media Software Development Kit (SDK) for software developers. Windows Media Player, available in 26 languages, is the fastest-growing media player. More information about Windows Media can be found at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft and Windows Media are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

Related Posts