SMPTE "B" V2.1 DCP test

In its capacity as watchdog and support for technological evolution, for many years now the CST has provided expertise to theatre operators.
With this in mind, along with the FNCF we have been very active within the EDCF to accompany the transition from the InterOp DCP to the SMPTE DCP.

This transition is now complete and the SMPTE DCP is compatible with all projection equipment in France.

In order to assist and prepare all theatre operators, we offer an SMPTE « B » V2.1 DCP test to check the compatibility of projection equipment.
To understand this transition, let’s quickly run through the history of the creation of the DCP:

  • The SMPTE began the standardisation of digital cinema in 2000, dividing the work between seven study groups.
  • The drafting of the famous DCI specification was completed 5 years later, in 2005.
  • In the spring of 2006, the deployment of digital cinema began but all the SMPTE standards were not yet finalised.
  • In 2006, the industry took a snapshot of existing standards and named this first phase of the DCP “InterOp”, for Interoperable.
  • Finally, in 2009, the SMPTE finished publishing basic digital cinema standards while continuing to work on improving them.

The DCP was designed to evolve, consequently its deployment was planned in phases spread over several years.
This new phase is now the SMPTE DCP.
The current standard is the SMPTE « B » V2.1 DCP.

DCP control video

Use the SMPTE DCP test

To install the SMPTE DCP test:
  • Download the ZIP file by clicking on the above icon.
  • Decompress the recovered file (zip) and then copy it onto a USB memory stick (Make sure your memory stick is formatted in ext2, ext3, FAT32 or NTFS).
  • Insert the memory stick into your server(s) or library(ies).
  • When the ingest window appears on your server, select the DCP and click on the “Ingest” option.
  • The ingest must be carried out on every server.

The DCP contains two versions of the test. The first CPL (version) of the test runs at 24 frames per second and the other at 25.

It is vital that both versions are tested.

How the test works:

  • Once the DCP has been ingested, you must create the Show Playlist
  • Adjust your projector’s macro to Scope – ratio 2.39 : 1
  • The DCP is only in 5.1
  • The test can now begin
  • Initiate playback
  • Check the following in the theatre:
    • The DCP playback must be continuous and uninterrupted
    • For a CPL whose frequency is 25 fps: the animation must be fluid and correctly projected
    • Sound channels: the assignment of sound channels as shown on the diagram must correspond with what you are hearing (e.g. the left screen sound channel must be broadcast by the left screen speaker)
    • Sub-titles: the text must be displayed correctly in the central rectangle at the bottom of the picture to coincide with the sound channel activity

This DCP must not be used for installing equipment. It is solely for verification.


The InterOp is coming to the end of its lifespan. Its characteristics will not evolve any further; no new functions will be added to it.

The characteristics of the InterOp DCP are restricted to:

  •  2K (2D and 3D) at 24 fps or 48 fps.
  • 4K (2D only) 24 fps.
  • 5.1 and 7.1
  • 2D and static sub-titles.

All the new functions such as HDR (High Dynamic Range), immersive sound or HFR (High Frame Rate) with frequencies greater than 48 frames per second will be supported only by SMPTE DCPs.

Unlike the InterOp DCP, the SMPTE DCP is designed to evolve.
Its evolution will take place in several phases, as described by the ISDCF. Every phase change will be accompanied by a test package DCP whose function is to verify the compatibility of equipment prior to new functions being deployed.
This DCP: CstEdcfSmpteBv21_FRENCH-DUB-SUB-TEST_FR_2D_51-HI-VI_ASSCLN is a « B » (2.1) test package.

It includes:

  • ISDCF conf 4 audio configuration –– with MCA certification
  • HI and VI tracks
  • CPL metadata (luminance, version, laboratory, etc.)
  • Markers (FFOC, LFOC)

They’re already here, the SMPTE “B” V2.1 DCP is now the standard, even if InterOp DCPs are still distributed.

It is important to test the whole of your projection path to detect any compatibility issues with the SMPTE “B” V2.1 DCPs.

First of all, check that the problem is not due to a bad copy of the DCP on your computer/USB memory stick (refer to “How to install the SMPTE DCP”).
Most playback and ingest problems can be solved by updating your equipment.

The first person to contact is your equipment installer, who will be able to update your projection equipment rapidly.