Windows Media Player 9 coming soon, to theatres near you

Windows Media 9 Series Expands Opportunity for Independent Distributors And Filmmakers With Tangible Cost Savings and Flexibility

Today Landmark Theatres and Microsoft Corp. announced that they are equipping 177 screens in all 53 Landmark Theatres across the United States with digital cinema playback systems based on Microsoft® Windows Media® 9 Series. This unprecedented agreement represents the largest digital cinema theater circuit installation to date in the United States.

For the first time, a critical mass of the independent film industry's infrastructure will be wired for digital distribution. This helps address the escalating costs of releasing theatrical films, which weighs heaviest on the independent sector, as it must pay the same costs to release a film as the major studios. The creation of a complete digital alternative represents a major breakthrough in these economies that will help guarantee greater diversity and access to the marketplace for independent filmmakers and distributors alike.

"Landmark's mandate has always been to build an alternative infrastructure dedicated to the enhancement and proliferation of independent film," said Bert Manzari, executive vice president of Landmark Theatres. "We exhibit over 250 films a year, and all too many of these films succeed or fail due to market economics rather than artistic accomplishment."

The newly outfitted theaters will be able to screen films encoded digitally in Windows Media 9 Series, which enables high-resolution, theater-quality experiences with up to 7.1 channel surround sound. The network rollout is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

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