Digital cinema is growing fast but the US is dominating screen building, a London conference heard.

Nancy Fares, businesss manager at DLP, claimed that of the 3,015 commercial screens currently installed, 1,988 are concentrated in the States.

The RAAM Conference was told that there were 585 in Europe, 406 in Asia and 26 in South America.

It's a trend that analyst Screen Digest has observed for some time.

'Commercial d-cinema standard screens grew globally by 250% during 2006, and yet the majority of this growth came in the USA which now accounts for 60 per cent of the d-screens worldwide.' said D-cinema expert David Hancock.

'While the UK is out ahead in Europe, with over 140 D-screens already installed, the reality of national cinema exhibition systems is holding up European progress, both at an industrial and a political level.'

There are a number of barriers to growth outside the US, some speakers suggested.

'If digital cinema is to benefit European films, cinemas and audiences it will require a far higher level of co-operation, preparation and long term thinking than has been demonstrated to date by most countries. Above all, the role of public support and intervention has yet to be articulated clearly,' said Patrick von Sychowski, Director of Digital Business Development, Deluxe Europe.

The question of payment for installation remains unresolved for many in the industry years after it was first raised.

'The main issue on people's minds at present around digital cinema is 'who is going to pay for it and how am I going to benefit'' said Steve Perrin, of the UK Film Council.

'This issue will be discussed with the recognition that until the questions is answered satisfactorily, no large scale commercial deployment is likely to take place.'