May 1st is the date that Sony hopes will usher in the era of digital cinemas. That's the date their CineAlta 4K digital cinema solution goes on sale in Japan. With the SRX-R220
at its core, the 5-foot / 660-pound CineAlta 4K system projects a 4,096 x 2,160 pixel image at 18,000 lumens off its 4.2kW bulb. The 300GB films are stored in an encrypted JPEG2000 format within Sony's 19-inch, LMT-100 "media block" RAID array. Sony is counting on about 1/3 of Japan's 3,000 cinemas taking on their ¥1.5 million ($12,651) per screen solution by 2010 with even higher hopes for the US market. They'll need lots of help since projection systems are just a tiny fraction of the total conversion costs required to move cinemas into the digital age.