Greasing the Rollout of Digital Distribution of Movies

But it took more than the distribution costs savings to make the sale — but 3-D movies? Really? Hollywood studios agree to digital rollout (pdf)

Five Hollywood studios have agreed to help pay for a $1 billion-plus rollout of digital technology on about 20,000 movie screens in North America, a precursor to showing movies in 3-D.

Digital Cinema Implementation Partners, a consortium of major theater chains, announced the deal Wednesday. The rollout in the U.S. and Canada, covering about half of all screens, is planned to start early next year.

To help offset the costs — about $70,000 per screen — the studios plan to pay the consortium slightly under $1,000 per movie per screen, roughly the same amount it costs them to print and ship a celluloid film copy.

Adding digital equipment is the critical first step in the technological upgrade to being able to show 3-D movies.

Just Because You’re Paranoid

It doesn’t mean that someone’s not watching you. The technology that makes it possible to communicate makes it possible to monitor the communication, too. It all depends on how you decide to employ it: Huge System for Web Surveillance Discovered in China (pdf)

A group of Canadian human-rights activists and computer security researchers has discovered a huge surveillance system in China that monitors and archives certain Internet text conversations that include politically charged words.

[…] The researchers were able to download and analyze copies of the surveillance data because the Chinese computers were improperly configured, leaving them accessible. The researchers said they did not know who was operating the surveillance system, but they said they suspected that it was the Chinese wireless firm, possibly with cooperation from Chinese police.

Independent executives from the instant message industry say the discovery is an indication of a spiraling computer war that is tracking the introduction of new communications technologies.

“I can see an arms race going on,” said Pat Peterson, vice president for technology at Cisco’s Ironport group, which provides messaging security systems. “China is one of the more wired places of the world and they are fighting a war with their populace.”

And, hey, don’t hardware vendors market their equipments’ capabilities to “shape” traffic? It’s just a matter of how, and why. Of course, see also Jim Fallows on the Great Firewall on how a surveilled population devises response strategies.