Kinoton History

The Forties: Starting Up

Kinoton GmbH is founded in 1948 as a service company for the movie theaters in Munich and its surroundings. Just one year later the start-up company is granted the German rights of sale for Philips projectors.

The Fifties: Winning New Markets

Kinoton is expanding its own sales and service offices in Germany and establishing first international ties, e.g. to France, England, Italy and the United States. In 1958 Hans-Peter Zoller, who has been with the company from the very first, takes over the company as a sole shareholder together with his wife.

The Sixties: Milestones of Film Technology

In the early 60s, Kinoton starts to produce switching cabinets, curtain machines and varied projection equipment in a small workshop in the heart of Munich. In 1963 Kinoton launches its first self-developed film projector: The Solo Automatic projector supersedes the time-consuming change-over operation which has been standard procedure in the projection booth till then. In 1968, the world's first non-rewind system, designed by Hans-Peter Zoller in cooperation with the German cinema operator Willi Burth, goes into serial production.

The Seventies: Expansion of Production

In 1972 Kinoton assumes all patents as well as the rights of production and sales for the Philips projectors which are highly renowned at this time. At that time Kinoton is already developing and manufacturing complete projection systems and marketing them worldwide. At the same time the company sets up its first production plant for mass production in Kaufbeuren (Bavaria), which will be extended several times in the years to come.

The Eighties: Development Work

In the early 80's, a new research and development department is created to engineer sophisticated projectors and other studio equipment. Among other products, the high-speed FP 30 EC and FP 38 EC projectors are designed which today are the standard in every major film studio worldwide. In 1989 the Kinoton headquarters (international sales, administration, construction and development) moves to new, more spacious quarters in the suburbs of Munich, accommodating the constant personnel growth caused by steady expansion.

1987: Scientific and Engineering Award for the development of the first non-rewind system 

The Nineties: Technical Innovations and a Change in Leadership

Kinoton current product line is taking shape: In addition to many other projection devices, the company launches the 35mm projectors of the D series, featuring the novel direct drive concept that offers superior running smoothness. In 1996 Renate Zoller and Christoph Dobler become managing directors and continue Kinoton's successful course. In the late 90s Kinoton is cooperating with Texas Instruments, Technicolor and Barco in a digital cinema technology project. The growing demand for high-quality products threatens to exceed the existing production capacities so a new 4-story production building is constructed in Kaufbeuren in 1997. Another new building will follow three years later.


2000 - Today: Digital Cinema and Display Technology

In 2005, Kinoton GmbH concludes an OEM agreement with Barco which is to supply light engines with the DLP Cinema® technology from Texas Instruments. Only one year later Kinoton installs the first Digital Cinema Projectors to their own DCP series in Germany and Austria. By mid-2009, DCP projectors are already represented in 25 countries. However, Kinoton never cold-shoulders film technology: In 2007, the PREMIERE and REFERENCE projectors are launched, featuring the further development of the patented electronic E drive concept.

With another self-development, the innovative Litefast 360 ° LED Displays for advertising and Digital Signage, Kinoton now is also present in the digital display market.

2004: Scientific and Engineering Award for the development of the electronic E drive concept of the FP 30/38 EC II High-Speed Projectors

2006: Advancement of Cinema Technology Award from the world-renowned British Kinomatographic Sound Television Society for the development of the first non-rewind system