The announcement follows Imax’s agreement in October to license Kodak’s snazzy laser projection technology — which some analysts say could give it an edge over RealD’s 3D projectors. This release suggests that Imax is still on track to roll the new technology out in late 2013 in dome theaters with screens larger than 80 feet.
NEW YORK, Feb. 7, 2012 /CNW/ – IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX; TSX: IMX) today announced it selected Barco (NYSE Euronext Brussels: BAR) to co-develop ground-breaking new laser projection technology for IMAX® theatres. The new IMAX digital laser projector will present greater brightness and clarity, a wider color gamut and deeper blacks, and consume less power and last longer than existing digital technology. This state-of-the-art solution, which will implement the patents IMAX exclusively licensed from Eastman Kodak Co. last year, will allow IMAX’s entire global theatre network to show the highest-quality digital content available.
Under the 7-year agreement, Barco will be IMAX’s exclusive worldwide partner in the development of digital projection technology for use in IMAX theatres. As part of the partnership, the companies will collaborate to co-develop cutting-edge, next-generation laser projection technology based on IMAX intellectual property in image quality, Barco’s unique laser innovations and the Kodak digital laser patents, which IMAX will sub-license to Barco.
The companies expect to deliver a joint solution to the market in the second half of 2012 for use in IMAX’s current backlog and new system signings. Simultaneously, the companies will work together exclusively to manage the transition from Xenon-based to high-performance, laser-based projectors, which are expected to be deployed in 2013.
“As we continue to expand globally, it is critical that our technology partner keep pace with our ambitions around innovation and growth,” said IMAX Chief Business Development Officer Robert D. Lister. “Barco is that partner. A leader in advanced digital and laser technology, Barco is well-known for its quality and integrity. We believe the result of this collaboration will further differentiate The IMAX Experience® for consumers, strengthening our value proposition for studios and exhibitors.”
“We are honored to have been selected by IMAX as their worldwide and exclusive digital cinema technology partner,” said Wim Buyens, Senior Vice President of Barco’s Entertainment Division. “Together, we are committed to bringing the full weight of our operational excellence, integrity, and ability to deliver cutting-edge technology to bear in order to redefine the movie-going experience.”