Finally! Someome else is getting on board with the concept of presenting theatre via television (albeit internet delivered) and it’s the Brits! Digital Theatre has developed a new system and player that lets you download theatre productions to your computer to view later on your HDTV. There’s even a video showing you how to connect everything!
Currently Digital Theatre only has one production, Thomas Hardy’s “Far From The Maddening Crowd.” This book is in the Public Domain and I’m sure they worked out something with the play’s adapter, Mark Healy. This means no royalties to authors. (Very similar to our concept; keep the authorship in-house or work on a buy-out.) The cast appears to be about 8-10 players allowing for a manageable talent budget. They’ve partnered with Almeida Theatre, so I’d guess their biggest expense would be the talent and camera crew/director/editor.
The trailer for “FFTMC” looks fantastic, especially in hi def. Having experimented with my MacBook plugged into an HDMI input on HDTV, I can testify the quality can be quite spectacular, depending on the algorithm they use. Judging from the file size, I’d guess it’s very close to DVD quality. Even the sound can be digitally transferred from the MacBook directly into the surround sound system. Bottom line? I think the experience will be akin to watching a “Great Performance” on PBS in hi-def.
Obviously the big question, “What will they come up with for other products?” Yes, I’ve contacted them to see if we might not create some synergy! Maybe our new show “American Muse” could be staged in Britain? (O.K. Maybe not.) 😉 But perhaps a production of a classic could be created here, staged and offered for sale? Stay tuned!