CEDIA Expo 2008: Sim2 Slates Better-Than-Blu-ray Systems

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Denver — High-performance home theater projector manufacturer Sim2 used CEDIA Expo to reveal an alliance with startup Entertainment Experience to market what they called better-than Blu-ray-Disc high-def entertainment systems that will use a new high-def media format.

Under the deal, Sim2 is expected to have an exclusive window to market a bundled system including Entertainment Experience’s “Better Than Blu” Digital Entertainment Center hardware along with a Sim2 C3X 1080 home-theater projector. The first products are expected to be available in January at prices to be announced.



Entertainment Experience owner/president Jim Sullivan, at the Sim2 CEDIA booth.

The Digital Entertainment Centers are essentially Hewlett-Packard-built high-performance PCs loaded with special Entertainment Experience software and a unique user interface that will playback “Beyond HD” 1080p high-def discs and files with up to three times the data rates of conventional HD disc movies. The advantage was said to deliver deeper colors and sharper images.

The center incorporates advanced video processing calibrated to the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) color standards recently adopted by most Hollywood studios and distributors, as well as removable-hard-disk data storage to accommodate multiple DCI standard motion-picture titles ready for immediate playback, Sim2 said.

“The system’s audio/video signal processing pulls the system together in the home-theater environment, allowing owners to easily integrate current digital media including broadcast/cable HDTV, Blu-ray discs, DVDs and Xbox gaming and media-PC systems, into the advanced digital entertainment solution,” according to a Sim2 statement.

Jim Sullivan, president/owner of Rochester, N.Y.-based Entertainment Experience, said he has partnered with Video Giants to acquire titles for the system from most major studios. He said the service is expected to have access to more than 4,000 library titles, plus many new movies that will be offered prior to the release of many Blu-ray Disc and DVD titles.

Software will be encoded in a number of advanced codecs including VC1, MPEG4 and H.264. The system will also support advanced audio formats, but the specific ones were not available at the announcement.

Digital Giants, which will control software distribution, is said to be working with content consolidators, such as HDNet, that mastered digital content at higher data rates for future distribution possibilities.

Movie titles will be shipped directly to system purchasers on double-sided dual-layer DVD discs. Movie studios will set title pricing, but Sullivan said he expects the average title selling price to be around $40. Titles will also be downloadable, but due to the huge file size, download times will be extremely long, making packaged media necessary for most practical applications.

“The studios are very concerned. They haven’t reaped the benefit from Blu-ray yet, and they don’t want us taking tickets from dealers,” Sullivan told TWICE in explaining the unique direct-mailing distribution system for software. “It’s a funny zone for them to be in.”

Pricing for the player through Sim2 is still to be determined, Sullivan said. The system will include a number of movies that will come preloaded on the system’s hard disc drives, which will be available in different capacities ranging up to 4TBs, Sullivan said.

The system will use Microsoft’s Digital Rights Management content-protection technology coupled with the AES256 encryption standard. This will use unique security keys to allow a title to be played back on and ripped only to the hard drive of properly recognized players.

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