There's no doubt the public is sold on digital movie sound, said Tim Warner, president of the National Assn. of Theater Owners trade association of California and Nevada. But with the absence of a clear standard, exhibitors are investing in multiple formats, Warner said.
DTS has an exclusive deal with Universal that all of that studios' films will be on DTS. In addition, DTS has an exclusive deal with Spielberg's production firm Amblin Entertainment and with MGM/UA Distribution Co.
The DTS format has also been used on films from several other studios. So far, DTS has been on 39 movies; 2,368 theaters worldwide are equipped with DTS hardware.
Dolby reports that Dolby Stereo Digital Sound has been on 50 to 60 movies. Its hardware is installed at 700 to 850 theaters worldwide.
As for DTS's likely settlement with small French rival L.C. Concept, the firm's head, Elisabeth Lochen, may become a consultant at DTS, said DTS President Terry Beard. Lochen's involvement with DTS isn't part of the agreement, however.
With the purchase of L.C.'s patent, DTS has eliminated one competitor, albeit a tiny one.
L.C. wasn't successful in Hollywood, but its digital sound format had been used in an estimated 30 pictures in France, Belgium and Switzerland since 1991.
With the L.C. dispute behind it, DTS will renew its push in Europe. It's setting up a European headquarters in Brussels and it has put DTS recording equipment installations in five major European sound studios in four countries, said DTS' Neighbors.