A young American entrepreneur is leading a trend for bringing cutting-edge digital projection technology to drive-in cinemas.

Ryan Smith, 32, said he had invested “a sizable sum” to have digital projectors installed for all three screens at his Stars & Stripes Drive-In in Lubbock, Texas.

Mr Smith said the move to digital projectors has resulted in a dramatic improvement in brightness and image quality. This was achieved in part by the use of a 6,000-watt lamp with each projector.

“The digital picture on the screen is truly incredible, compared to what we used to have with film. The new picture is beautiful. People who began in the drive-in business years ago never could have dreamed that they could offer such a vivid picture.”

Mr Smith’s cinema and the Big Sky Drive-In in Midland, which also has three screens, are the first multi-screen drive-ins in the United States to go fully digital.

Updating his drive-in to digital has been a revelation for the businessman. “I had to learn how a digital content system works. There’s no more building or splicing film. No more threads, sprockets and gears. That’s all in the past,” he said.

“The movie now will always be perfectly in focus. It will look the same the first time and after it is shown 50 times."