As cinema owners worldwide begin to embrace new digital technologies via satellite, audiences are being given more ways to enjoy an evening at the movies.
ESA has helped a consortium of Italian companies to develop a secure, cost-effective networked cinema system called Innovative Satellite Interactive Digital Entertainment, or ISIDE.
Cinema operators can browse a catalogue listing hundreds of movies, order their selections online and download these via satellite.
The network also supports new forms of entertainment like the live broadcasting of sporting events in 3D, opera and ballet, music concerts and other cultural events.
Satellite capacity is a costly resource but ISIDE brings the convenience of satellite technology within reach. To make distribution via satellite cost effective, the same content has to reach a sufficient number of cinemas. When multiple locations in the network download a film, the costs of satellite capacity are shared among them.
“This is possible thanks to the unique capability of satellite delivery, where movies and live events are multicast once and hundreds of cinemas receive them at the same time,” says Walter Munarini from OpenSky.
In 2010, Microcinema and OpenSky in Italy started using ISIDE. They are now European leaders, providing operating services to around 1000 digital cinemas in Italy – more than 90% of the national market. Most of these cinemas are equipped with the state-of-the-art ISIDE transceivers and players.
The two companies have different target audiences and this is reflected in how they use ISIDE.