European Digital Cinema Forum

Migration to SMPTE DCPs EDCF/UNIC Project

The Standard for Digital Cinema Packages is based on the Requirements Specification produced by Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) first published in 2005. The work by SMPTE to produce a dependable Standard that embraces evolving capability is nearing readiness for broad rollout and deployment. With most Cinemas fully digitised the switchover presents a number of challenges to avoid problems in the field.


EDCF and UNIC are working with industry representatives to help communicate the work that will be required to ensure that the conversion to SMPTE DCP version movies will be seamless to patrons and efficient for all those involved in the distribution chain. The group will try to obtain a full understanding of the technical requirements for Projection, Servers, Theatre Management Systems and Content Services (Terrestrial, Satellite and Physical). It is expected that rollout will be managed on a regional basis starting with those sites that have the most complete knowledge of their installed base. The essential role of the group is to improve the communications between all parties involved from creation of content to presentation in theatres.


The group will attempt to begin limited and monitored deployment immediately. These early trials will be supported by plans to provide rapid backup through 'Interop' version availability. Rapid conversion to full SMPTE deployment will depend on the cooperation of all parties which will inevitably involve some equipment upgrades, full software updating and open communications about problems and solutions.


Primary objective:

is to help Exhibitors achieve a smooth transition to SMPTE DCP with no lost shows.

Secondary objective:

is to help entire industry switch to a single format that enables better interoperability of equipment, consistent presentation of movies and lower cost of distribution.

Key actions

  • Description of Benefits of SMPTE DCP
  • Production of Test Material
  • Development of Required Results Feedback
  • Initial Communication to describe the need for conversion to SMPTE DCPs
  • References to equipment requirements for Projectors, Servers, TMS, Carriers
  • Reference to software versions required
  • News of Movie Release Plans
  • Results of first tests
  • Regular updates for Exhibitors
  • Presentations at appropriate conferences on Status and Challenges


Acting as an informational resource for the industry on the SMPTE DCP and its operational use, is a web portal providing a point of reference of on-boarding for those individuals/organisations willing to aid in the transitional process on a territory by territory basis.