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Singapore Announces the World's First Full Digital Multiplex

last updated 03 November 2017

Singapore's Digital Cinema developments took another step forward today with local cinema operator, Eng Wah Organization, completing the world's first 2K digital cinema deployment in a five screen multiplex theater. This is ...

Las Vegas, Nevada, US, 22 March 2004 | For Immediate Release

Twenty 2K Digital Cinema Screens to be Completed by the Third Quarter of 2004 Singapore's Digital Exchange Initiative to Help Digital Cinema Take Root in Asia Pacific

Singapore's Digital Cinema developments took another step forward today with local cinema operator, Eng Wah Organization, completing the world's first 2K digital cinema deployment in a five screen multiplex theater. This is made possible by its collaboration with government agencies, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA).

The five digital cinema screens are the first of 20 digital cinemas and one outdoor digital screen that will be installed in Singapore by the third quarter of 2004. The multiplex include fibre and/or satellite connectivity to enable digital content such as movies and advertisements to be delivered to the theaters digitally.

"We are providing the cinema industry with the environment to process and distribute digital movies regionally. The world's first digital multiplex by Eng Wah is a testimony of Singapore's overall commitment to develop the local digital cinema industry." said Thomas LIM, Director, Games and Entertainment, IDA Singapore. "Singapore is now a step closer in our quest to be a leading global Digital Exchange where not just capital, people and ideas but also digital assets come together."

"The MDA is excited by the growth prospects of digital media. We believe that digital cinema has potential to take off in a big way as more filmmakers and cinema operators adopt the technology. Beyond screening movies, cinema operators can now deploy their facilities for a myriad of uses such as live telecast of concerts, sports event, lectures, educational programs and other digital content. This in turn will create new economic activities. Therefore, we want to position Singapore at the front of this new wave." said Mr Lok Yin SETO, Director of the MDA's Industry Development Division.

"Eng Wah Organization Ltd is proud to be the operator of the world's first 2K digital multiplex. We adopted this cutting edge technology with the view toward offering more flexibility, convenience, choice and even better quality movies in terms of audio and visual clarity to our patrons. We are also enthused by the prospect of revolutionizing theatrical and outdoor entertainment, through the screening of alternate content at our cineplexes as well as at our outdoor digital screen at The Legends Fort Canning Park respectively." said Ms Min Yen GOH, Managing Director, Eng Wah Organization.

"Rather than watch the future happen or wonder what happened, the IDA and MDA in their support of the Eng Wah Organization are making the future happen. We at Barco for whom innovation and visualization excellence is so engrained in our hearts are therefore very proud and happy to be part of this trail-blazing project, a first step in the process of truly establishing Singapore as The Digital Media hub of the region and one of the prime Digital Cinema countries in the world", Sjoerd De Clerck, Managing Director, Barco Digital Cinema said.

"We are pleased to partner with IDA Singapore to supply the most advanced d-cinema multiplex solution to Eng Wah Organization." said Dr Man Nang CHONG, CEO, GDC Technology. "We look forward to working with IDA Singapore and Eng Wah to turn Singapore into a vibrant d-cinema hub for the exchange of content." Dr Chong added.

Singapore's digital cinema developments are part of a larger government effort, called the Digital Exchange, to develop Singapore into the hub for managing, processing and distributing digital movies and other digital assets in the Asia Pacific region. Through this effort, Singapore aims to provide a greater variety of content and lower distribution cost.

In positioning Singapore as a regional hub for digital movie distribution, the Government of Singapore is leveraging a number of key infrastructure and regulatory strengths.

Singapore already has over 1 million square feet of advanced data center space. It is the most connected city in Asia with more than 10 Gbps of extensive and direct Internet connectivity to over 20 countries. This comprises 4 Gbps to the USA and over 140 Mbps to Asian cities such as Hong Kong, Japan, India, Korea, Taiwan and China. In addition, Singapore's direct Internet connectivity to major ASEAN countries is at least 70 Mbps.

Singapore's network infrastructure is also particularly well-suited for digital delivery of data centre space with its 21 Tbps of submarine cable capacity and international and regional telecoms connectivity to more than 100 countries. Today, Singapore is Asia's first neutral Peering Point for GPRS Roaming.

Recently, Singapore was ranked first in Asia for Intellectual Property Rights Protection by PERC 2004 and Global Corruption Report, 2003, making it an excellent location for companies to securely store and distribute digital gaming content. Singapore is also rated the Number One Business Environment in Asia Pacific, according to EIU, 2002.

According to conservative estimates, by transporting digital cinema via computers, the movie industry would save some USD700 million a year in transportation costs, making the economics for moving to digital cinema extremely attractive. Already, the first cross-border distribution of a digital movie has taken place in Asia Pacific through SingTel in December 2003. The Hong Kong movie blockbuster, Infernal Affairs III, was transferred from Hong Kong to Singapore as a digital file over SingTel's high speed ATM network, and then distributed to digital theaters in Singapore. This was made possible by SingTel's advanced infrastructure that includes 90 Mbps two way data connections to all key regional markets. Said SingTel USA's Managing Director Hwee Boon NG, "SingTel's ATM technology revolutionizes movie distribution around the world. Dispatching physical 35mm movie reels globally requires time and money from reel duplication and courier costs. Through digital distribution, American distributors can now reduce their potential risks to piracy, and lessen film quality degradation from repeated use of reels."

In September 2003, David Bowie's concert was also broadcast digitally at Cathay Cineplexes, a local cineplex circuit. "Cathay Cineplexes is excited about showcasing Digital Cinema within its circuit and we look forward to screening more digital content as we believe that Digital Cinema is the next step in making the movie-going experience more vibrant and enjoyable. With perfect audio and visual presentations at every screening, audiences can be assured that they are experiencing quality movie entertainment at its best." said Suhaimi Rafdi, General Manager, Cathay Cineplexes Pte Ltd.

For more information on IDA Singapore's Digital Exchange initiative, please write to dx@imda.gov.sg.


ISSUED BY CORPORATE COMMUNICATION DIVISION
INFOCOMM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE

About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) develops, promotes and regulates info-communications in Singapore, with the aim of establishing Singapore as one of the world's premier infocomm capitals. To nurture an internationally competitive infocomm industry, IDA offers a comprehensive range of programmes and schemes for both local and international companies. For more information, visit www.ida.gov.sg.

PR Contact:
Hwei Ling HO (US contact)
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
DID: + 65 9671 8262
Email : ho_hwei_ling@imda.gov.sg

Yin Mei WONG (Singapore contact)
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
DID : +65 6211 1724
Email : wong_yin_mei@imda.gov.sg

About the Media Development Authority

The Media Development Authority of Singapore was formed to develop Singapore into a global media city, in effect fostering a creative economy and a connected society. The agency's Media 21 strategy aims to create a vibrant environment for the industry and public, via five key thrusts: to establish Singapore as a media exchange; export 'Made-by-Singapore' content; internationalise local media companies; nurture local media talents and develop digital media.

PR Contact:
Yong Chuan TOH / Yvonne POH
The Media Development Authority of Singapore
DID : +65 6837 9362 / +65 6837 9894
Email : toh_yong_chuan@imda.gov.sg / yvonne_poh@imda.gov.sg

About Eng Wah Organization

Founded in the 1940s in post-war Singapore, the Eng Wah Group is the first cinema operator to be publicly-listed in the Stock Exchange of Singapore (SGX). The Group is a leading film exhibitor and distributor with 29 strategically located cinema screen halls with a capacity of over 6,700 seats. The Group's leisure and lifestyle entertainment investments and services include the management of modern entertainment complexes that offer modern multiple screen halls, amusement arcades, restaurants and lifestyle retail stores. The Group earned an annual sales turnover of S$20.9 million in FY 2003 and employs 140 staff. For more information on Eng Wah Organization Ltd, please visit www.wecinemas.com.sg under about Eng Wah Organization.

PR Contact:
Carina LEE
Eng Wah Organization Ltd.
DID: +65 6739 0121
Email: carinalee@engwah.com.sg

About GDC Technology Limited

GDC Technology Private Limited is a subsidiary of the Hong Kong Public Listed Company - Global Digital Creations Holdings Limited. GDC Technology pioneers digital post-production, delivery and presentation technologies. Known for its commitment to innovative engineering work, quality products and state-of-the-art technology, GDC Technology offers solutions on film transfer, post-production, delivery and presentation of digital content. For more information on GDC Technology, visit www.gdc-tech.com.

PR Contact:
Ms Sharon ANG 
GDC Technology Private Limited
Fax: +65 6222 1089
Email: info@gdc-tech.com

About Barco

Barco, an international company headquartered in Kortrijk, Belgium, is active in three key areas of imaging technology. Barco designs and develops solutions for large screen visualization, display solutions for life-critical applications, and systems for visual inspection. Barco has a network of subsidiaries, distributors and agents in almost 100 countries. Barco is quoted on Brussels/Euronext and is a BEL 20 and a Next 150 company. http://www.barco.com systems

PR Contact:
Sjoerd De Clerck
Barco Digital Cinema
Phone: +32 56 36 86 06
Fax: +32 56 36 88 62
Email : sjoerd.declerck@barco.com

About SingTel

SingTel is Asia's leading communications group with operations and investments around the world. Serving both the corporate and consumer markets, it is committed to bringing the best of global communications to customers in the Asia Pacific and beyond.

With significant operations in Singapore and Australia (through wholly-owned subsidiary SingTel Optus), the Group provides a comprehensive portfolio of services that include voice and data services over fixed, wireless and Internet platforms.

To serve the needs of multi-national corporations, SingTel has a network of 31 offices in 15 countries and territories throughout the Asia Pacific, in Europe and the USA. These offices enable SingTel to deliver reliable and quality network solutions to its customers, either on its own or jointly with local partners.

The Group also has major investments in India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. Together with its regional partners, SingTel is Asia's largest multi-market mobile operator, serving more than 44 million customers in six markets.

SingTel has been recognised Best Asian Telecom Carrier by industry publication, Telecom Asia, for six consecutive years since 1998. The Group employs more than 19,000 people worldwide and had a turnover of S$10.26 billion (US$5.80 billion) for the year ended 31 March 2003. More information can be found @ www.singtel.com and www.optus.com.au.

PR Contact:
Boon Chong CHIA
SingTel
DID: +65 6838 2022
Email: boonchong@singtel.com

About Cathay Cineplexes Pte Ltd

Cathay Cineplexes, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the SESDAQ listed Cathay Organisation Holdings Ltd, was incorporated in November 1998 in an effort to deliver a consistently high quality cinematic experience to movie patrons. Since then, Cathay Cineplexes had won awards such-as "Overall Best Screens in Singapore" and "Best Popcorn". In December 2000, Cathay Cineplexes became Singapore's first cinema operator to achieve the ISO9002 certification. It currently manages 9 screens at Cathay Cineplex Orchard and 7 screens at Cathay Cineplex Causeway Point.

PR Contact:
Veronica YONG
Cathay Cineplexes Pte Ltd
DID: +65 6736 7242
Email : veronica_yong@cathay.com.sg