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Event Cinema Automation and Workflow

Posted: Thu May 12, 2016 9:53 am
by japierce
At the last ISDCF meeting there was a discussion about event cinema - live presentations (sports, plays, red carpet events, etc.) and the workflow to integrate into the Cinema Technology in a theater. Are their best practices that folks have used to make event cinema seamless? Workflow examples? Best technologies?

Any input would be appreciated.


Re: Event Cinema Automation and Workflow

Posted: Sun May 15, 2016 10:52 pm
by jamiegau
This is a very broad question. The main issue is that there are so many ways to do this..

I have had some exposure to this. From my understanding a major problem around this is as follows.

Many organisations doing this use DVB type transponders to distribute the content.. This is because there are a lot of free transponders with this capability making it extremely cost effective compared to doing it properly ;)

DVB or typical MPEG2 transponders used with cable TV over the many years has many problems that make it incompatible with this form of use model.. Mainly, Cinema does this Ad-hoc. Ie cinema sets them up when needed. However, setting up STB with the right configuration, then making sure they are on long enough to pick up the rolling encryption keys.. Its just not compatible with this ad-hoc, turn it on 15mins before show mentality of cinemas.
This is so bad, encryption of event content is in general "NOT IN USE" as it lead to many dark screens.

How do we fix this core issue?
We simply need to move away from using this form of transponder/STB. Using IP-multicast with STB's that can be controlled from a NOC.. All very much more expensive, is the path forward. This is no secret, it is just they don;t want to pay for this far more expensive form of distribution.

At CinemaCon I did hear that in some European countries, this is catching on as the Satellites do offer cost effective IP based distribution. But then again, distribution over internet networking is also catching on..

The strange thing here is that most of this Event cinema is not live. "So why do it??" The business models change when it is streamed or broadcast. I am not over exactly how they change but it is lucrative explaining why they go to the effort over doing one of DCP-based events...
However, this is where the definition of streamed is also being stretched..
For example, some companies are saying they can reliably stream over the internet at very high bit rates.
Maybe so, but the internet is by no means a distribution system I would rely upon for this form of streaming.. Unless..
One can say, you can download a certain % of the content before you start showing the streaming picture..
If you make this percentage 50-90% of the content before you start showing the image.. you're still technically streaming but in reality it is basically store and forward. That is a trend coming out of Europe by companies saying they can do this over the internet..

This area is a bit cowboy land. I would discourage ISDCF from stepping into this arena. With no adherence to standards, an unknow/variablen business model behind it.. I expect each region will simply gravitate to the best and most cost effective solution available to it.

Last point, a vendor built a very good implementation of IP-broadcast around this many years ago. went nowhere.. It required using the right form of IP-multcast over satellite, or internet.. Not expensive relatively.. But could not touch $50 DVB set top boxes. So it failed. Great solutions do exist.. Its the business models that make this a crazy area of cinema exhibition.. ISDCF has no control of that.. So I don't see how we could help..