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Wednesday, August 24, 2016, 10:09

Wanda Cinema Line orders key digital equipment from Dolby

By Lia Zhu in San Francisco

Wanda Cinema Line Co, China's biggest cinema chain, will buy 1,500 key digital cinema servers units from Dolby Laboratories Inc to install in its new and existing cinema theaters by 2018.

The deal includes the Dolby ShowVault/IMB, a widely used integrated media "block" in the cinema industry, and the Dolby Integrated Media Server IMS2000, a next-generation product in the Dolby line.

The Dolby ShowVault is a dedicated storage server capable of playing JPEG2000 digital movies conforming to top technical specifications. According to Dolby, its integrated media blocks support high-frame 3-D playback formats.

Wanda Cinema Line President John Zeng said Dolby was Wanda Cinema Line's long-term partner in the cinema industry, and together they had a history of delivering to consumers in China.

Zeng added that Wanda Cinema Line would be leveraging the high reliability and performance of Dolby's cinema products to sustain high-quality cinema screenings.

Dolby senior director of cinema products, Jed Harmsen, said his company's media blocks incorporated a range of state-of-art capabilities that exhibitors may need and features to minimize potential dark screen incidents (where a movie stops playing and the screen goes dark).

The Dolby Integrated Media Server IMS2000 is a single board storage server that simplifies operations to save time and money and also allows access from anywhere on a theater's network, the company said.

It is Wanda Cinema Line's second major purchase this year from Dolby. In April, Wanda Cinema Line announced it would buy 800 Dolby digital cinema processors to use in all of its new cinema screens in China by the end of this year.

Dolby's footprint in China is expanding rapidly through its partnership with Wanda Cinema Line, which operates 330 theaters in more than 110 cities in China and accounts for approximately 14 percent of China's market share in terms of box office revenue, ranking it No 1 in China.

A recent drop in China's box office - the first in five years - is seen as making it harder for China to overtake the US as the world's largest cinema market next year as previously predicted. But, Dolby views China as a key market for its growth.

"There are many factors that may influence a territory's box office performance over a specified period of time, but China has been and continues to be a key market for Dolby's cinema business," said Harmsen.

"We continue to gain good momentum here for both our cinema products and Dolby Cinema businesses with support from our Chinese partners like Wanda Cinema Line and Jackie Chan Cinemas."

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