dCine FAQ

Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions document before contacting digitAll support (support AT digitall.net.au)

What type of media can a dCine playback?

How do I make eCinema content or Media files for a dCine player?

What BitRate does the dCine Support? What is Recommended?

How do I control a dCine over a network?

How do I protect my content?

What type of screen or projector can I plug a dCine into?

What audio output does the dCine support?

Does the dCine support the playback of 3D content?

How to make 3D stereoscopic media files for playback with a dCine?


What type of media can a dCine playback?

The dCine is tested with a limited range of codec support.  It is not possible to cover all possible codecs, however, for certain partners needing specific needs, custom codec support can be used.  For example cineform with uncompressed audio has been implemented for a specific partner.

In general, we support the following.

  • MPEG2 with MPA (Mpeg 2 channel Audio) in a MPEG-program or MPEG-transport stream/container.
  • MPEG2 with AC3 (2 channel or 5.1 surround) in a MPEG-transport stream/container.
  • H.264 with AAC audio in a mp4 or MPEG-transport based container/stream.
  • MPEG2 in 4:2:0 and 4:2:2 are supported, however, we would recommend staying with 4:2:0 due to it leading to less problems in general.
  • H.264 in its most common form. For example it is what is used for Apple Trailers. Apple Trailers are used for testing h.264.  H.264 has, however, been proven to be far more prone to problems based on how it is created.  We would recommend that any H.264 content be created internally under known working parameters.
  • up to 80mbit for MPEG2, up to 40mbit wit H.264
  • All common bitrate values  for the audio codecs will work.  (Ie keep the bitrate in spec, otherwise you may have problems)

MPEG2, is far more robust and in general is most likely to work.  It is also the standard for eCinema for advertising and feature release.

Following is a LINK to the SAWA (Screen Advertising World Association) paper on standard for producing content for cinema in digital format.  This covers the standard for producing eCinema type files. << http://www.fdw.de/downloads/SAWA_02.pdf >>

Its recommnedation in short is:

Image coding system:
MPEG2 MP@HL
Image coding max bit rate:
Min 19.7 Mbps – Max 80 Mbps
Image resolution:
1920 x 1080
Audio channel count:
6 channel
Image frame rate:
To match image frame rate of the Screen Advertising Contractor’s Digital Advertising Distribution Master
Audio level:
Maximum 82 dBLeq(m) as per International Standard ISO 21727 (British Standard BS5550 7.4.2)
Audio coding system:
AC3 as per Rec. ITU-R BS.1688
Audio coding bit rate:
448 kbps
Audio coding sample rate:
48 kH
Audio coding embedded:
TC No
Content packaging:
MPEG2 Transport Stream

H.264 is becoming more widely accepted.  The latest playback engine in the dCine is more robust and accepts more H.264 varients.  However, it is recommended that when sing H.264, if possible, media should be vetted if not produced in accordance with our suggestions.

H.264 is the future.  MPEG2 is no longer being developed.  H.264 profiles have been updated to support 10 bit colour and up to 4k resolution files. These features are coming in the near future.


How do I make eCinema content or Media files for a dCine player?

There are countless ways to make or encode content to file formats supported by the dCine.  These programs all implement the same codec slightly differently.  This can lead to media files not working or, even worse, causing a player to lockup half way in.  If you plan to make content for use in eCinema, it is recommended that you test your workflow.  Otherwise, we would recommend outsourcing to a company with this skill. (digitAll also supplies this service)

To help you with this, digitAll recommends the following.

  • Do not use FinalCutPro/Compressor:  Apple’s fixation to making things easier also leads to removing the buttons needed to make a eCinema file correctly.  You can make files that will work, but not with optimum results.  It is recommended that you render out a master then use a better encoding program with more control.
  • Adobe Media Encoder: This is a very good program to use. It gives you plenty of control and allows to you make eCinema files exactly as you need, and as such, following the recommended codec parametters as mentioned in the FAQ is easy.
  • Sorensons squeeze.
  • Telestream Episode.
  • The use of free-ware based encoders is also possible but generally is much harder and has mixed results.

What BitRate does the dCine Support? What is Recommended?

As mentioned in a previous answer, 80mbit MPEG2 and 40mbit h.264 are possible.  However, never really used.  Going to such high bitrates producers larger files taking more resources to deal with.  (Some partners actually distribute content over the internet, so size is an issue).

Also, in recent years, the efficency of the codecs have also greatly improved, meaning that a lower bitrate is able to archive similar results.

digitAll recommend the following.

MPEG2 at 35mbit minimum.  Going above this bitrate has little effect in quality. (When using a good modern MPEG2 encoder)

However, there are issues with this recommendation.  eCinema is not a new technology, there are many older eCinema systems in the filed that are too old even to deal with 35mbit.  25mbit is the recommendation for eCinema in Australia as there are many older eCinema systems in the field that cannot deal with anything higher.  Due to this it is not uncommon to distribute multiple files.  A lower quality file and a higher quality file.

Please keep this in mind when sending content to unknown/non-qualified locations for presentation.

H.264 is much newer.  Few eCinema systems support H.264.  The recommended bitrate varies, but in general, a 15mbit file has shown excellent results, even at such a low bitrate.  However, our experience is less with this codec and we suggest you establish your own recommendations.


How do I control a dCine over a network?

The dCine player can be controlled in a number of ways.

  • Simply operator control from a web terminal: if you type the IP address of the dCine into a web browser (And you have access to it over the network) the interface as seen on the touch screen control panel will appear in your browser.  It will have all the exact same capabilities but with some differences. For example, the on-screen-keyboard will no longer pop up when entering text.  The latest version of the Flash Player is required in the Web Browser.
  • Admin or Support control over a network: For administration tasks, Training or remove upgrades, the system also supports a VNC server, giving a remote user control of the system.  This allows the support engineer to see what you see. To do remote training or software upgraded.  A password is required to access the VNC service.

If you are not sure of the IP address you need to input into the web browser, it is easy to find as it is displayed on the control screen in the top right corner as “IP:192.168.1.10” for example.  Also you will see the “VPN:10.0.0.10”  This IP is used by a remote support engineer.  He may ask for it over the phone to ensure he is controlling the right system when helping with a support issue.


How do I protect my content?

digitAll supports a set of proprietory technologies to protect the content of our partners.  These technologies are:

  • iCinema encryption:  This allows any supported codec to be encrypted.  The dCine Player will then need a iKey generated for that content on that dCine Player before it can be played.
  • Watermarking: This imprints a small visual mark into the video stream that can be pickup up of pirated content and used to work out where and when the content was pirated.
  • CineLOCK: This ensures that the dCine is plugged into a certified playback device and that there are no “man-in-the-middle” piracy attempts.  For example it is not possible to use HDMI splitters that can overcome HDCP protection.  The use of any form of technology to tap into the signal is not possible.

With the combination of these technologies, a full end to end content protection system is available.


What type of screen or projector can I plug a dCine into?

The dCine comes with a output video card that has:

  • typical RGB 15pin (Any typical over Computer based monitor)
  • DVI (the most commonly used.  Best as has screw in plug so cannot fall out)
  • HDMI (Equivalent to DVI but does not have screw in attachment)

The dCine has a hi-end Video out card that can support most monitor resoutions and frequcies. In general, it will work with any modern screen or projector. (Even Cinema Grade DCI projectors).

The admin screen lets you configure the output as required and if the screen/monitor supports EDID (A protocol that lets the dCine talk to the screen or projector), the optimum resolution will be detected and displayed in the configuration screen.


What audio output does the dCine support?

The dCine supports 2 main outputs:
  • On board Analog
  • AC3 optical

The use of tpical 3mm stereo plugs are sed for the analog out.

The recommended audio method is to use the OPTICAL audio out using AC3 pass through or real time hi-quality convertion to AC3.  This can then be plugged into any amplifyer.  This includes domestic all the way to cinema grade audio processors.  AC3 optical is all supportded.  This implements a full digital path and the best quality possible.

(NOTE: If using optical SP-DIF, you MUST make sure this option is trued on in the audio configutation screen.)


Does the dCine support the playback of 3D content?

Yes. The dCine can playback MPEG2 or H.264 based stereoscopic files.  This is based on creating a left and right eye MPEG2/H.264 stream, and adding them into an MPEG-Transport stream. The dCine will need an upgrade to support the second video output.  The security systems are all still supported as to protect the content if needed.


How to make 3D stereoscopic media files for playback with a dCine?

The dCine supports the playback of 3D content.  3D is made up of a left and right eye video source playing at the same time.  The 3D media files the dCine supports is based on the open standard of multi channel transport stream.  For example, similar to how DVD’s can have multiple video channels but in this case we are using both channels at the same time.  To do this, you render each eye to MPEG2 or H.264  elementary streams (Meaning just the video only) then use a transport stream muxing tool to bring them all together (LeftEye, RightEye, Audio).

To help with this, digitAll has made a simple HOW-TO package.  In it you will find everything you need to build a 3D stereoscopic file that the dCine can playback.

<< Click here to download the Example File >>

In the Example you will fine an example 3D AfterFX 5.5 project.  Example renders of the Left and Right eye to MPEG2 and H.264 streams.  An mpa audio stream.  And finally example scripts using FFMPEG, a common free tool, showing the command line arguments needed to create the final 3D stereoscopic media file.

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