It’s been three years in the making, and the team behind the Prima Cinema digital movie server is leaving nothing to chance as they prepare for their product’s launch this summer.
Prima Cinema, which enables the screening of Hollywood films in the home during a film’s theatrical release, is targeting only the best of the best custom installation professionals with a clients that can afford the movie server’s $35,000 hardware cost and $500 per movie download fee.
At the time of the product’s launch, there will be approximately 60 authorized Prima Cinema dealers in the U.S. that have met Prima’s strict criteria and were willing to sell the premium product. These dealers were chosen after exhaustive interviews with hundreds of potential integration partners in three years, according to Prima’s SVP of business development Shawn Yeager.
The Prima Cinema GUI on display in HomeTronics’ showroom in Dallas.
“We weren’t necessarily worried about size of a particular company,” Yeager said. “What we really wanted was quality, a commitment to service after the sale, and dealers who understood what our brand message was about.”
And during the process, he added, integrators around the country were integral in helping Prima fine-tune a product appropriate for the high-end of the market. Yeager said he went to key dealers and other high-end AV vendors, and asked them what would make the product successful and what should be avoided.
“We can’t possibly give them kind of love and credit they deserve,” Yeager noted. “These guys were incredibly generous with their time, and at the end of the day they had a great influence on what we’re bringing to market.”
The video server’s sleek design, by BMW Designworks, houses a powerful cinematic machine providing better than Blu-ray resolution, 3D support, and lossless digital surround sound. Prima Cinema automatically pre-caches and stores theatrical released movie content over a broadband connection. Members simply browse for a movie, select a movie, with no buffering, no streaming, and no unwanted interruptions, according to the company. Following the theatrical window, these films remain resident on the Prima Cinema Player for as long as they are playing in theaters.”
HomeTronics Inc., a veteran home integration firm in Texas, recently installed the first Prima Cinema digital movie server demo unit in its Dallas showroom. According to HomeTronics president Greg Margolis, the company has several clients interested in the product and one unit already spec’d into a job. Because each showroom is considered a commercial facility, Margolis said, Prima Cinema only allows 10-minute snippets of each theatrical release on those servers. Yet, he’s already very impressed with the quality he’s seen. “It’s great. We’re really excited about it so far,” he said.
As for Prima Cinema consumer models, each is designed with redundancy to avoid any single point of failure. “That’s important, because one of things we kept hearing about during product development was that if it doesn’t work every single time, it’s going to get ripped out,” Yeager said.
Prima’s proprietary security design, approved by the major Hollywood movie studios, utilizes advances in technology to provide one of the most secure consumer systems on the market, according to the company.
And speaking of approval, Yeager noted that the movie studios have been “great” to work with. It may not hurt that one of them, Universal Pictures, is also an investor in the company.
“Studios don’t get the credit for being as forward-thinking as they truly are,” Yeager said. “They have a very bright people who are dedicated to looking at new opportunities.”
In addition to Universal Pictures, Prima Cinema is also backed, financially, by Best Buy Capital, the investment group of retailer Best Buy Co, as well as and venture capital firm Syncom Venture Partners.
The company is the brainchild of CEO Jason Pang, who also was the first employee at digital video creation and distribution company DivX Inc., where he remained until its IPO in 2006.