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Kodak joins Qualcomm for digital

Duo announces digital plans at ShoWest

LAS VEGAS — Eastman Kodak, the king of film, said Wednesday it’s inked a deal with wireless giant Qualcomm, Inc. to create a fully-integrated system for digital cinema.

“Kodak intends to play an enabling role as ‘integrator’ in the development” of this system, said Eric Rodelli, head of Kodak’s Entertainment Imaging division. The company’s Imaging Technology Center in Hollywood will lead the push.

Qualcomm’s compression, encryption and watermarking techniques will be key technologies in developing a digital projection prototype. The pair will draw on the expertise of other partners as need dictates.

The collaboration, announced at the ShoWest, the annual gathering of movie theater executives from around the world, was Kodak’s way of letting the film and exhibition industries know it still plans to be a major player in their world even if the medium shifts to digital from film in coming years as many anticipate.

“Kodak is not just a film company, or a digital company. We’re a picture company, and we care a lot about the quality of those pictures,” said Bob Mayson, Kodak’s general manager for cinema operations.

The first step toward delivering digital pictures is a Kodak Digital Intermediate, which can be used to reproduce a movie in any form.

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