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Ultra Star to deploy 20 DLP cinema projectors

UltraStar Cinemas and American Cinema Advertising Network to deploy 20 new DLP Cinema™-based projectors.

UltraStar becomes first circuit to employ DLP Cinema™ technology for exhibition of all media.

UltraStar Cinemas of San Diego, California, and American Cinema Advertising Network of San Jose today announced they have reached an agreement by which all UltraStar theaters, beginning with 20 screens in selected sites, will be converted from film to DLP Cinema™ projection technology between now and the end of 2005. UltraStar currently owns 81 screens at 11 sites throughout San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, with an additional 44 screens in development. In a groundbreaking announcement at ShoWest, Alan Grossberg, President & CEO of UltraStar, and Alex Gorovitz, President & CEO of ACAN addressed a room of gathered press.

“This agreement puts UltraStar Cinemas on track to become the first exhibitor in the world to be 100% equipped with DLP Cinema™ technology. The theatrical presentation will be state of the art, employing the most current digital technology for picture and sound,” stated Grossberg.

“UltraStar Cinemas will be the first exhibitor in North America to be equipped with the necessary equipment, Texas Instruments DLP Cinema™-based projectors, to show all-digital programming, from pre-show through features, using one projector. The quality of the theatrical presentation will be the absolute best, including the pre-show,” said Alex Gorovitz.

DLP Cinema™ is a Texas Instruments technology which digitally projects images to the screen, offering moviegoers rich colors, incredible depth and consistent images. With hundreds of theatres around the world, DLP Cinema™ technology is bringing the best picture to movie audiences worldwide. Digital Cinema is achieving gradual penetration into the exhibition industry.

“We've been a leader in the adoption of digital cinema and are hopeful that other exhibitors will follow our lead by making the jump to DLP Cinema™ technology for all applications. ACAN obviously shares our vision and commitment to superior digital presentation as evidenced by their willingness to provide this technology without any financial or technological risk,” said Grossberg.

In 2002, together with Boeing Digital Cinema, UltraStar installed 6 DLP Cinema™-based projectors in 4 sites for the release of Star Wars: Episode 2- Attack of the Clones, which at the time was the highest regional concentration of digital cinema auditoriums in the world. Since then the exhibitor has not looked back. Today's move by UltraStar will bring them the largest inventory of digital cinema auditoriums of any exhibitor in North America. UltraStar is also slated to be the first exhibitor in North America to be fully equipped for digital cinema throughout its entire circuit.

Larry Cervantes of Performance D-Cinema assisted in negotiating the agreement between the parties.

Traditionally film, rolling stock advertising and other content is exhibited from a 35mm projector, with static transparencies running from a separate slide projector. As of late, other exhibitors have opted for LCD or other non-digital “e-cinema” grade projectors for their advertising and pre-show requiring additional equipment as well as the 35mm film projector to exhibit feature films. The new system will generate greater creativity for pre-show (advertising and promotion), and allows UltraStar to continue to pursue alternative entertainment content such as live and taped concerts, Broadway shows, sporting events and business conferences with two-way tele-conferencing in addition to exhibiting digital movies and trailers.

UltraStar's partner in this venture, American Cinema Advertising Network, specializes in cinema advertising since 1982 and for this project has assembled a team of leaders in the field of Digital Cinema including Texas Instruments, Digital Projection International, Inc. (projection systems), WilTel Communications' Vyvx division (content delivery & systems), and EVS, Inc. (storage & playback systems).

“With the announcement of 20 DLP Cinema screens UltraStar is moving forward with a significant deployment that demonstrates their commitment to the best presentation quality for theatrical applications,” said Doug Darrow, Business Manager, Texas Instruments DLP Cinema™ Products.

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