Best in show

New products on parade at confab

From luxury seating to cutting-edge floor coverings, state-of-the-art sound systems to on-site ticketing devices, if it can enhance the moviegoing experience, chances are it will be found on ShoWest’s sprawling trade show floor.

With more than 500 booths spilling across 40,000 square feet of exhibition space, this year’s run is the biggest since 2001. And yes, there’s quality amid all that quantity. Here’s a look at some of the new products generating interest for their ShoWest coming-out party.

Company: Big Screen Digital
Product: High-definition digital theater network
The Details: High-def might be struggling to find a foothold in homes, but Big Screen Digital is banking that theater owners will be more welcoming. The reason? Its technology comes bundled with an advertainment package of stories, infomercials and other media that’s beamed directly into theaters to make the preshow experience more entertaining (and profitable, thanks to revenue sharing on those ad dollars). Big Screen installs and maintains the equipment, which features HD projection and Dolby 5.1 audio.

Company: Coca-Cola
Products: Full Throttle, Coca-Cola With Lime
The Details: With the biggest booth on the trade show floor, Coke is unveiling its two newest soft-drink offerings, the extreme-themed citrus energy drink Full Throttle and the descriptively monikered Coca-Cola With Lime. The beverage giant’s rollout plans for both products include onscreen ads, branded popcorn bags and in-theater tastings starting in April.

Company: Gold Medal Products
Product: Popclean
The Details: The smell of popping corn is as much a part of the moviegoing experience as oversized soda cups. Unfortunately, so are the resulting steam, smoke and occasional oil vapors. But the filtration system on every Popclean unit is designed to eliminate the downside of popcorn, while retaining the upside. The Popclean high-capacity “clean air” popper is available in two sizes and features a neon top (because even the newest technology benefits from an old-school touch).

Company: J&J Snack Foods
Product: Tio Pepe’s Churros Nuggets
The Details: If a churro can be considered the Hispanic equivalent of a long, straight donut, then churros nuggets would have to the Hispanic version of donut holes. These bite-sized treats are served warm, rolled in a cinnamon-sugar mix and come with an array of dips. Apparently for those times when a full-size churro is just too unwieldy.

Company: Pepsi-Cola
Products: Aquafina Sparkling and Aquafina FlavorSplash
The Details: Bottled water gets a makeover with these zero-calorie extensions of the nation’s leading water brand. Aquafina Sparkling offers moviegoers an unsweetened, carbonated dose in unflavored or lightly flavored varieties. FlavorSplash comes in Raspberry, Citrus Blend and Wild Berry and is made with natural fruit flavors and Splenda.

Company: Strong Intl.
Product: Simplex Apogee 35mm Projection System
The Details: For all the talk of an industrywide transition to digital, the reality is that traditional systems remain the lifeblood of the projection business — and likely will for some time to come. Which is why the latest offering from longtime projector manufacturer Strong is worth noting. An integrated projector and soundhead, it eliminates belts and pulleys, offers improved sound quality, superior image stability and ease of maintenance. All of which should tide over exhibitors until the next big thing arrives is.

Company: Taste of Nature
Products: Batman Begins Cotton Candy, Batman Begins Sour Candy Bats
The Details: From the company that gave the cineplex world SpongeBob SquarePants, Spider-Man 2 and Hulk candies come a pair of sweet little somethings for those with a taste for the Caped Crusader. The treats will arrive on snack bar shelves and retail racks in May, just in time for the countdown to Warner Bros. June 17 release of “Batman Begins.”

Company: Titan Technology Group
Product: Know-It-All
The Details: Which employees are currently on the clock? How are the concession supplies? What’s the latest ticket sales to revenue ratio? Find out all these answers and more with this software system, which can send info to theater owners and managers via computer, PDA, cell phone and any other Internet-ready device. Fully customizable to meet specific needs, the Know-It-All provides info in real time, whether it’s an on-demand request or a scheduled update.

Company: Tranax Technologies
Product: Ticketing Self-Service Terminal
The Details: It’s an ATM. It’s a ticketing kiosk. It’s two technologies in one. And Tranax is betting that the time is right for this time- and space-saving machine, which allows film fans to withdraw cash, purchase tickets via debit or credit cards or pick up tickets reserved online, all from a single device. And, of course, providing consumers with easier access to cash and tickets qualifies as a win-win for theater owners.

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