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Sunday, December 07, 2014

Dolby is launching its super-vivid IMAX competitor in the Netherlands

Dolby has just announced a huge new project, but it's not about audio
as you'd expect -- it's about the upcoming launch of its IMAX
competitor called Dolby Cinema. This giant screen format will be able to
project movies using the "Dolby Vision" technology (something it's been working on for years),
which combines high dynamic range videos with something else that the
company's keeping a secret. High dynamic range or HDR videos, as you
might know, can show shadows and light as you'd see them in real life
(take this Disney Research video,
for example). Dolby goes as far as to claim that its technology's
"contrast ratio far exceeds that of any other image technology on the
market today."

The company plans to open its first outlet this December in the
Netherlands, but it will temporarily use 4K laser projectors until the
Dolby Vision-capable ones are ready to ship out next spring. Of course,
venues will eventually open in the US, but probably not in the very near
future, as Dolby's still busy negotiating with both theater owners and
Hollywood studios. For the format to reach audiences, the company will
not only need to convince local movie houses to shoulder part of the
cinema's construction costs, but also to persuade studios to make their
films Dolby Vision-compatible during postproduction. It needs to
convince a whole lot of people, in fact, for the technology to be
financially viable and be able to compete with IMAX.

The Hollywood Reporter believes Disney will likely be one of the first to use Dolby Vision, and that Star Wars VII
is a possible candidate for the format. Dolby didn't mention how much
it'll cost you to enter its giant screen cinemas, but the theater owner
in the Netherlands says his customers will have to pay $18 each, up from
the typical $12.50. We guess it's safe to say that just like for IMAX
theaters, you'll need to pay a sizeable premium on top of regular ticket
price if you want to enjoy Dolby Cinema's tech.

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