Dolby Cinema fights back against IMAX and Sony 4K laser Premium Large Format dominance with UK Odeon deal

posted on Thursday, 14th June 2018 by Steve May

4K  Dolby Cinema  Laser  IMAX  Pro AV 

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The UK is finally getting Dolby Cinema. A deal inked with the Odeon Cinemas Group, will see seven Dolby Cinema theatres deployed “over the next several years.” Doug Darrow, SVP, Cinema Business Group, describes the deal as “a significant milestone." 

The announcement marks a belated fight back by Dolby against IMAX and Sony, who between them currently dominate the Premium Large Format 4K laser cinema market in the UK and Europe.

The deployment of Dolby Cinema is seen as a key element of Odeon’s strategy to upgrade its theatrical offering across Europe. In addition to laser projection and Dolby Atmos sound, Dolby Cinemas will also offer luxury recliner seats, themed bars and “innovative” food and beverage counters.

The Dolby Cinema experience is a combination of Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos technologies. Dolby Vision laser projection offers HDR and wide colour, along with perfect deep blacks, bolstered by proprietary image processing.

“This is a game changer in the UK, and our guests are going to love the stunning quality of Dolby Cinema,” says Mark Way, Managing Director of Odeon Cinemas Group. “We’re very excited to be partnering with Dolby to be the first cinemas to offer this experience in seven Odeon cinemas across the country.”

Germany is also breaking its Dolby Cinema duck, courtesy of Kinopolis. The first site is expected to open later in 2018 at the Mathäser Palast in Munich.

Meanwhile, rival IMAX Corp recently partnered with Cineworld to install IMAX laser screens in 55 more locations across Europe and the US between 2018 and 2022.

Like Dolby Vision, the IMAX 4K laser projection system features an advanced optical engine and proprietary technologies for increased resolution and contrast, delivered alongside a 12-channel sound system.

Sony’s own large format solution, Finity, is also gaining rapid traction. The dual 4K laser projection system has been adopted by Vue International, CinemaxX, Omniplex, Mars Cinema Group, CinemaPink and CineCitta.

IMAXProjector Main

In the UK, Vue’s flagship West End venue offers Sony Finity with Dolby Atmos in its two largest screens. In Germany, Cinecitta Nürnberg has committed to two SRX-R815DS dual 4K laser projection systems. Cineplex Münster has installed a single SRX-815DS system while CineSpace will use Sony phosphor laser projector for its Waterfront complex in Bremen, Germany.

In France, Cinéplanet has already installed the country’s first SRX-R815DS. Sony's latest Finity customer is leading icelandic operator SamFILM, which has invested in a Finity system for its largest screen.

At CineEurope, Sony Digital Cinema exhibited its HDR-ready phosphor laser light source projector, the SRX-R815, which offers 10,000:1 contrast ratio at all brightness levels. It represents an evolution of the R500 series projectors used for Finity installations.


Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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