Insight Media Survey Shows that 73% of the Respondents Think Less than 30% of Digital Cinemas will be Ready to Screen The Hobbit at 48 fps

The advantages of high frame rate (HFR) capture are reduced motion artifacts and a more immersive 3D experience

April 30, 2012 - In December 2012, Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, is scheduled to debut in cinemas worldwide (in 2D and 3D). This will be the first feature film shot with a 48 frames per second (fps) capture camera, instead of the normal 24 fps. The advantages of high frame rate (HFR) capture are reduced motion artifacts and a more immersive 3D experience.

As Warner senior VP of technology Wendy Aylsworth explained at the recent Technology Summit on Cinema, held just prior to NAB, "There are 70K digital screens worldwide, 40K of which are ready for 3D, but exactly zero are capable of showing HFR content today." To support HFR capture and display, a whole new set of editing, production, effects, mastering and distribution technologies need to be developed. In addition, digital cinema projectors must be upgraded to support projection using the new 48 fps data rate.

When visiting NAB and talking with the supply chain, we seemed to hear a diversity of opinions on the ability of the industry to support a massive roll out of HFR digital cinema projection to support The Hobbit. As a result, we decided to conduct a survey, soliciting responses from our database of display-industry professionals (including 3D) to answer a single question:

What percentage of digital cinemas worldwide will be ready to screen 48 frame-per-second versions of The Hobbit by December 2012?

The responses are in the chart below:

This data represents 100 responses to the survey, which is a small, but hopefully, representative sample. As we suspected, answers ranged from 0% to 100%. Most respondents see a modest percentage of the installed base being "Hobbit-ready" by December, but some are clearly very optimistic, too. About 73% of respondents believe less than 30% of the installed digital cinema base will be ready by December.

A number of experts also responded with email comments, which will be summarized in a longer article as part of the May issue of Large Display Report, our 100+-page subscription newsletter. These experts point out a number of related issues that make this a complex situation to forecast. For example, even if 20K or 30K screens were "Hobbit-ready," the film might only have a planned release to 8K or 10K screens - and how many of these will be "Hobbit-ready?"

Insight Media will continue to track industry progress toward this goal and we will be very curious to see if our survey results were a good predictor or not.

Contact: Insight Media, Annmarie Gabisch, 203-831-8404,

About Insight Media

Insight Media ( ) is a market research, publishing and consulting firm focused on the emerging segments of the display industry. We look for areas where display technology is in the early stages of commercialization, where market opportunities are emerging or where significant business and investment decisions are being made. This strategic focus leads us to several core areas such as 3D Displays, LED or Laser-based Display Systems, Green Display Technology, E-Paper and Large Area OLEDs, where we track the technology, components, products, markets, applications, manufacturing and business aspects of consumer and professional display markets. The company publishes daily and monthly news and analysis as well as in-depth annual technology/market reports. It also hosts industry conferences, provides strategic and tactical consulting services and offers industry education via webinars and on-site seminars.

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