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North Korea embraces 4D cinema

If you thought North Korea was impervious to western entertainment technology, think again. The seclusive Communist state released a promotional video highlighting visitor experiences at the recently-opened Runga 4D Simulation Cinema in the capital Pyongyang.

The video, posted on the country's international shortwave service, Voice of Korea, shows the rough treatment the motion cinema seats synchronized with the film - the 4th dimension in "4D" - metered to unsuspecting, but apparently enthusiastic visitors.

The 4D programme listing includes Winner, a race car-themed film, and Don't Wait For Us, a 1985 war film portraying the lives of North Korean Air Force pilots.

"The glasses, 3D scenes, music effect, and rhythmic facilities enable the viewer to feel a vivid reality," Ri Un-hyang, a Runga People's Pleasure Ground caretaker says in the promotional video. The 4D cinema, part of a large entertainment complex, was visited by Kim Jong-un on 14 September 2013.

According to state media outlet The Korea Central News Agency, monitored by NK News Report, the Dear Leader asked about the quality, sound effects and 4D element of the films and also suggested that additional 4D cinemas be built in each of North Korea's provincial capitals.


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On predicting the future

Predicting the future, let alone the future of packaged media, is a perilous exercise, and possibly counter-productive, as the exercise closes doors rather than keep them open, argues JEAN-LUC RENAUD, DVD Intelligence publisher. Consider that: Apple was left nearly for dead 15 years ago. Today, it became the world's most valuable technology company, topping Microsoft.

Le cinéma est une invention sans avenir (the cinema is an invention without any future) famously claimed the Lumière Brothers some 120 years ago. Well. The cinématographe grew into a big business, even bigger in times of economic crisis when people have little money to spend on any other business.

The advent of radio, then television, was to kill the cinema. With a plethora of digital TV channels, a huge DVD market, a wealth of online delivery options, a massive counterfeit underworld and illegal downloading on a large scale, cinema box office last year broke records!

The telephone was said to have no future when it came about. Today, 5 billion handsets are in use worldwide. People prioritize mobile phones over drinking water in many Third World countries.

No-one predicted the arrival of the iPod only one year before it broke loose in an unsuspecting market. Even fewer predicted it was going to revolutionise the economics of music distribution. Likewise, no-one saw the iPhone coming and even fewer forecast the birth of the developers' industry it ignited. And it changed the concept of mobile phone.

Make no mistake, the iPad will have a profound impact on the publishing world. It will bring new players, and smaller, perhaps more creative content creators.

And who predicted the revival of vinyl?

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