• Status
  • Status date

The project ISIDE intends to develop, implement and validate a satellite based system of N-Cinema (N for networked), oriented at providing a range of services and applications in the field of D- (Digital) and E- (Electronic) Cinema.

Over a period of two years, the project will realise a permanent validation platform for N-Cinema, in order to cover the complete representation of the relevant service value chains. The objective will be to validate and promote different forms of exploitation of the theatres, ranging from featuring digital movies, digital advertising and alternative contents to live events, shows in virtual reality and interactive applications. The project would also optimize and validate new European standards in order to provide a complete and working platform for digital entertainment distribution.

A key point to be verified will be the applicability of specific business models which apply to the different opportunities for exploitation of the ISIDE system.

The project will be oriented at developing a sound technological platform adopting a set of specifications intended to maximise a combination of interoperability and sustainability. Using an interactive satellite-based delivery network, the ISIDE platform will be operated by a central facility, thus eliminating the need for the theatres to manage and control the various equipment.

ISIDE will be instrumental in launching a network of cinemas with a critical mass to allow the continuation of the operations after the conclusion of the ESA contract on a self-sustainable basis.

The N-Cinema platform will become an asset open to third parties interested in developing, testing and validating innovative applications targeted at digital theatres.

  1. Use Satellite connection between theatres and Cinema-Service-Centre (C-NOC):
    • Support of Push for contents delivery;
    • Support of Live Events for new contents and new business models.
  2. Establish a real connection between the cinemas, through a satellite bidirectional network for content delivery, with the relevant return channel and remote control;
  3. Create, through a dedicated uplink facility and a diffused network of receiving/interactive Networked-Cinema (N-Cinema) sites, a distribution/exchange highway for contents and events, overcoming the barriers between various types of cinemas;
  4. Create an "on-line" catalogue of contents to be requested from Cinemas and delivered through satellite;
  5. Set-up a permanent Validation Platform, located at BIC Lazio facilities at Tiburtino Technopole in Rome, able to represent a "reference ambience" for test-screening contents, testing technologies and facilities, checking innovative exploitation new business models. BIClazio shall also promote Incubation services for SMEs ( small and medium enterprises) from the audiovisual sector, interested in deploying testing and promoting their innovative services through the facility;
  6. Create a "Computer Aided Cinema", i.e. end to end digital solution with the improvement in the operation of the cinemas and in the distribution of contents.
  7. Perform, through the Validation Platform, a real market start-up through a PILOT Operation period of 12 months where projections open to paying public will be performed, with a wide range of innovative "digital" contents that seconds the ultimate international market trends.
  8. In the first year of the project, a major promotional event during the Festival named "Cinema - Festa Internazionale di Roma", bringing prestige and visibility to the project at the highest levels of the industrial and institutional bodies in the international Cinema and Audiovisual landscape.

Value Chain

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Preliminary market analysis and Content strategy.

Network design and implementation.

Conduction of a pilot phase inside cinema theatres.

Market development and definition.

Definition of a sustainable business model.

In 2 years, the project will create a network of digital screens ? 5 to start with, up to 35 in the project time frame, equipped with digital technologies and served through a bidirectional satellite connection.

Once the architecture design and implementation is achieved and, (simultaneously) the strategic analysis and commercial planning are completed, the Cinemas taking part in ISIDE will conduct a Pilot Operation, having minimum duration of 8 months, where projections open to the paying public will be performed.


The migration to digital introduces an important novelty: content can now be "delivered".

Regarding this, satellite is the only medium which can guarantee an effective coverage both at "macro" level and it is the most effective tool to second the current E/D-Cinema trends.

The emergent E/D-Cinema networks (in the U.S.A., but also in India and China) is changing economic models and ISIDE is committed to transferring and fulfilling these opportunities into the European scenario, creating the first European network for E/D-Cinema via satellite and, prospectively, attracting in its "orbit" other screens/circuits currently not linked to any telecommunications network.

Building up an efficient laboratory for SME's to implement and update new products around ISIDE validation platform to validate and certificate a ISIDE-STANDARD for the future in E-D cinema via satellite.

The theatre will become more flexible, introducing "on-demand" features which will not only allow a better offer/demand relationship, but also the availability of a more effective tool for network management.


The major innovations brought by ISIDE are:

  • Implementation of a web based service to order and buy contents COMBINED with an automatic digital delivery of the contents through satellite,
  • Use of the latest technologies for video compression and reproduction,
  • All digital, All easy to use , All automated and integrated:
    • No more mechanical elements,
    • Order, pay and receive a Movie with a simple "click",
    • Manage the theatre and the play list with a "PC",
  • Exploit the Satellite MULTICAST to reduce the costs and improve the value chain,
  • Bring new services:
    • Movies On Demand,
    • LIVE events.

Content, exclusively delivered via satellite, embraces the following:

  • Films (in store & forward mode, following the traditional cinema model), short movies, documentaries;
  • "One-way" live events: sports, concerts, operas (allowing cinemas and "cine-theatres" to deliver content currently on stage to the other sites of the network, in an interactive way);
  • "Bidirectional" live events: conventions and congresses, distance learning, interactive learning, special events (festival, premieres), collective gaming (enabling the various network nodes to be turned into interactive sites having live "dialogue" with each other);
  • Innovative advertising: accelerated frequency of adv break turnover, similar to the TV practice; advertising short movie with open end, to be chosen by spectators; concourses and awards with the participation of the viewers.

Reference Architecture ISIDE-Distribution

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Start (July 2007)

Opportunity analysis and Business Vision

System Architecture (till January 2008)
BDR- Baseline Design Review (end of September 2007)
CDR Critical Design Review ( January 2008)

Components Development and Integration (from January 2008)
PQR Pilot Qualification Review (end of April 2008)
Step 1, four movie theatres operative (May- June 2008)
Step 2, two theatres (June-August 2008)
Step 3, 18 theatres (June-December 2008)
Step 4, network extension to 2k theatres and networks (Jun-Dec 2008)

Special / Innovative events and contents

Pilot phase / Market validation (from October 2007)

System validation (from November 2008)

Final Review ( June 2009)

Current status

The pilot activities of the ISIDE n-Cinema system have been completed. The final data package with all the deliverables has been finalised and the Final Review has been successfully carried out on the 27th of April 2010.

Since the Digital Cinema industry is emerging and the satellite is a key asset, the ISIDE consortium has decided to make available to potentially interested projects the ISIDE validation platform (VP) at BIC Lazio for additional two years after the conclusion of the ISIDE contract with ESA. The ISIDE VP is made available, in association to a demonstrator of the digital cinema kit at ESRIN, as part of the ESA Charter for Applications Platform (C4AP).

It is worth noting that today the Digital Cinema is a reality, especially in the Italian market. The ISIDE project is already generating some important revenues to its partners.


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