Cinema functions as a social institution providing a form of social contact desired by citizens immersed in a world of “mass culture.” It also exists as a psychological institution whose purpose is to encourage the movie-going habit by providing the kind of entertainment desired by popular culture. The digitization of cinema began in the 1980s in the realm of special visual effects. By the early 1990s, digital sound was widely propagated in most theaters, and digital nonlinear editing began to supplant linear editing systems for post-production. The origins of cinema as an independent medium lie in the development of mass communication technologies evolved for other purposes. Since the advent of cinema, filmmakers hoped for the chance to bring both pictures and sound to the screen. Although the period until the mid-1920s is considered the silent era, few films in major theaters actually were screened completely silent. Pianists or organists—sometimes full orchestras—performed musical accompaniment to the projected images.