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Digital technology for Irish cinemas

The new system promises better access to films and improved quality.
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Technology (general)

Ireland is to become the first country in the world to have entirely digital cinema, thanks to new technology being installed in theaters by American company Avica.

Digital projectors will be fitted in 500 cinemas nationwide, and will replace the traditional 35mm film projectors.

The technology allows new films to be downloaded to a computer server, from a satellite, at the press of a button and will give a much higher picture quality, eliminating flickers and scratches on screen, which develop when 35mm film degrades with age.

The cost of getting a film in digital format will also be much lower than the current price of up to 2,000 euro ($2,584) for a single 35mm print, the UK's Press Association reported.

Moira Horgan, spokesperson for The Irish Film Board, told PA that the new technology would lead to sharper images and a greater variety of films.

"We're very excited about it. It's pure digital projection and picture perfect quality," she said. Ms Horgan said this would be positive news for small Irish films.

"We don't have big Hollywood budgets to market those films so any way we can save money on distribution costs and actually spend it on promotion and advertising can only be a good thing," she said.

Minister for Sports, Arts and Tourism John O'Donoghue told PA that it would ensure that cities throughout the country would have equal access to films.

The introduction of digital projectors is being supported and paid for by cinema distributors. Irish Film Board and Avica were in talks for more than two years about to digitalizing every cinema in both the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.

Ms Horgan said the company chose Ireland because of the manageable number of cinema screens and the level of cinema attendance.

Irish cinema goers have the second highest level of cinema attendance in Europe, with an average of 4.5 visits each per year, PA reported.

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