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Byline: BRIAN DEAGON
The rollout of digital cinema in movie theaters has been far slower than many people expected a few years ago, a plot shift that's taken a toll on equipment suppliers.
Boeing Co., which had angled to be the company that would deliver the digitized pictures via satellites to theaters, put its digital cinema unit up for sale in November. Qualcomm Inc., which has technology that can encode and decode digital movies to help thwart piracy, ended a joint marketing venture with Technical Digital Cinema in August.
Some people thought about 2,000 of the new high-tech projectors would be in theaters by the end of 2002. Instead, 155 theaters worldwide, about one-tenth of 1% of all theaters, have them. And none of the top U.S. theater chains plan to add more digital projectors until they can work out better business terms with Hollywood studios.
Makers of digital cinema projectors and related servers, software and chips can do little more than hang on and hope for the best. Eastman Kodak Co., Texas Instruments Inc. and others …