Tampa Theatre debuts digital projection system - FOX 13 News

Tampa Theatre debuts digital projection system

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Audiences have been filling the seats inside the Tampa Theatre since 1926, but to keep that silver screen shining, something drastic had to change.

On Tuesday night, it did.

"This is a big milestone. The digital conversion was necessary for us to keep showing movies," said President John Bell.

Movies have gone high-tech and theaters must catch up to play them. Actual film is as obsolete as the old projectors upstairs.

To keep up with Hollywood, the Tampa Theatre went digital. Now, to start a film, the projectionist just pushes "Play."

The movies play off a hard drive, something hard to imagine when classics like "Gone with the Wind" played here.

"There were a lot of special engineering things that had to be done to get it to work correctly in the theater," Bell said.

Lasers balance the new digital sound system. They point past the 1920s décor to hang speakers in the perfect spots to rattle your sonic senses -- something unimaginable when the theater was built.

Ed Golly's been coming here since he was 7 years old.

"I've never felt the theater rumble from the sound system. That was simply fantastic," he said.

The HD picture is more crisp and vivid than ever before.

All this wasn't cheap to install. The theater raised $90,000 and took on even more in debt for the upgrade. It was worth it to the owners to keep the theater open at a time when digital equipment is required to play even the oldest films.

"You can sit on your couch and watch Netflix, you can watch movies on your phone, but you can't get the experience you get at Tampa Theatre at any other place," said Jill Whitecki.

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