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AMC, Sony ink pact for 1,700 SDDS units

Chain chooses DTTS over DTS and Dolby Digital

AMC Theaters has reaffirmed its commitment to Sony Cinema Products Corp.’s digital sound technology, inking a four-year pact to acquire a minimum of 1,700 Sony Dynamic Digital Sound playback units.

Under a previous agreement, AMC had already installed 1,700 SDDS theater sound units, and the next 1,700 units will cover the rest of the AMC circuit. The theater company will install the playback technology in every new theater it opens and in selected existing theaters, according to Sam Giordano, executive VP for design and construction of AMC Theaters.

Specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the list price of a single SDDS unit is $10,900 per screen.

Under the Sony agreement, AMC also committed to the purchase of a supply of other Sony hardware, including large-screen video walls, monitors, videocassette recorders and security systems.

AMC chose SDDS over competing digital formats DTS and Dolby Digital, though the company will continue to equip a small percentage of individual theaters with the other formats. Most major studios release their films in all three digital sound formats.

“Three years ago we recognized the potential of the SDDS technology, and we are now very pleased to be delving further into Sony’s vast range of cutting-edge audio, video and communication products,” Stanley H. Durwood, AMC chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Unique among the three major digital solutions, SDDS offers an eight-channel option that provides superior sound in very large theaters, according to AMC officials.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based AMC runs 2,276 screens worldwide, grouped in 226 theaters in the U.S., Japan and Portugal.

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