UK Cinemas To Get 250 Digital Screens

Around £13 million (€19 million) of National Lottery money will be spent on installing 250 digital projectors in UK cinemas.

Apart from some quality improvements, the main benefit here is that distribution costs for films plummet – there are no expensive reels of film to cart around, and the number of screens a film can be shown on is not limited to the number of prints in existence. At upwards of £1000 (€1472) a print, it can be very costly to get enough copies together to secure a decent cinema release.

Hopefully, this means we’ll be able to see Wings of Desire in the cinema a bit more often.

Anyone who has seen a digitally projected film knows that improved quality is not always the case – there can be digital artefacts and some colour washout, so it’s not a case of digital better than film yet.

To qualify for the money, cinemas will set aside a portion of screen time to niche films, so that customers will have more rewarding fare to watch than the usual brain-devouring noise.

This new move will put the UK well ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to digital projection – there are currently only 190 digital cinema projectors around the world, with about a dozen in the UK.

UK Film Council

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?