AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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Barry Willis Posted: Apr 11, 1999 0 comments

If you want to be the first on your block to see <A HREF="http://www.starwars.com/"><I>Star Wars: Episode I---The Phantom Menace</I></A>, you'd better get in line soon---if you can figure out which theater is going to show the film. Theater allocations for the long-awaited May 19 debut hadn't been decided as of last week, but exhibitors eagerly agreed to some strict requirements for running the film. One restriction---that no tickets be pre-sold---will thwart ticket scalpers and deprive ticket agencies of sizable fees.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Apr 04, 1999 0 comments

G<I>ary Oldman, William Hurt, Matt LeBlanc, Mimi Rogers, Heather Graham, Lacey Chabert. Directed by Stephen Hopkins. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic, 16:9 enhanced). Dolby Digital 5.1. 139 minutes. 1998. New Line Cinema N4667. Rated PG-13. $24.99.</I>

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Barry Willis Posted: Apr 04, 1999 0 comments

In the film industry as elsewhere, digital technology marches on. Eventually, movies will be downloaded to theaters by satellite, as they are now to many private homes. Film reels delivered by truck will become as anachronistic as excursions through the countryside on steam locomotives. Now, one of Hollywood's oldest and most important film studios has seen the light and formed a division to steer it in this direction.

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Posted: Apr 04, 1999 0 comments

Industry leaders met in Virginia last week to discuss convergence trends in the consumer-electronics, telecommunications, and computing industries, and how these trends are affecting manufacturers, retailers, and consumers. The Convergence Forum, hosted by the <A HREF="http://www.cema.org">Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association</A>'s Communication and Information Technology (CIT) and Integrated Home Systems (IHS) divisions, took place at the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) Spring Conference.

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Barry Willis Posted: Apr 04, 1999 0 comments

Money changes everything. <A HREF="http://www.circuitcity.com/">Circuit City</A>, parent company of <A HREF="http://www.divx.com/">Divx</A>, has enjoyed a stock run-up recently due to rumors of a possible equity partnership deal with video-rental chain <A HREF="http://www.blockbuster.com/">Blockbuster</A>. In the deal, Viacom-owned Blockbuster would buy into Divx, considerably strengthening the pay-per-view startup's financial footing and giving it instant credibility in the video-rental market. Blockbuster has more than 600 stores nationwide.

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David Henderson Posted: Apr 04, 1999 0 comments

T<I>he staff of </I>SGHT<I> would like to thank reader <A HREF="mailto:davidh@rochester.rr.com">David Henderson</A>, who provided this spreadsheet file in response to an article about room acoustics written by Russ Herschelmann in the March/April 1999 issue. Below are Mr. Henderson's notes for using the file.</I>

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Posted: Mar 28, 1999 0 comments

Eventually, a few multinational conglomerates will own 90% of the world's businesses. Case in point: Cable companies <A HREF="http://www.comcast.com/">Comcast</A> and <A HREF="http://www.mediaone.com/">MediaOne</A>, already among the largest in their field, made a move in that direction last week when they announced a merger valued at between $53 and $60 billion. Comcast will acquire MediaOne, described by the <A HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/"><I>New York Times</I></A> as "the sole surviving independent cable company." The resulting company will be the nation's third largest.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Mar 28, 1999 0 comments

K<I>eir Dullea, William Sylvester, Gary Lockwood, Daniel Richter, Daniel Rain as the voice of HAL. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Aspect ratio: N/A widescreen. 5.1-channel Dolby Digital. Two layers. 139 minutes. 1968. MGM Home Entertainment 906309. Not rated. $29.95.</I>

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Posted: Mar 28, 1999 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.platinument.com/">Platinum Entertainment</A> and <A HREF="http://www.pioneer-ent.com/">Pioneer Entertainment</A> announced plans to jointly develop and create <I>Animetronic</I>, a series of multiple-format music and video releases that combine Japanese animation with original, new electronic-music compositions. Terms of the partnership were finalized at the Winter Music Conference in Miami by Steve Devick, Platinum president and CEO, and Yosuke "James" Kobayashi, president of Pioneer Entertainment.

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 28, 1999 0 comments

The legal wrangling over television broadcasting got much more complicated last week with the introduction of a bill to the US House of Representatives that would allow direct broadcast satellite (DBS) services to beam local TV stations' signals into the stations' own territories. The practice is currently banned by <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov">Federal Communications Commission</A> regulations, despite the fact that cable companies have carried local signals since the beginning of the cable industry.

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Posted: Mar 21, 1999 0 comments

In an effort to regain full control of its video library worldwide, <A HREF=http://www.mgm.com">Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer</A> announced last week that it has entered into an agreement with <A HREF="http://www.warnerbros.com">Warner Bros.</A> for an early termination of its existing video-distribution agreement with Warner Home Video. The original agreement with WHV was to end in May 2003.

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 21, 1999 0 comments

S<I>tar Wars</I> is with us as much today as it was 22 years ago, when the first film of the series was released. In fact, it has been around so long that it seems an inherent part of popular culture, like <I>Huckleberry Finn</I>---in the public domain, free for anyone to use as they wish. George Lucas, creator of the blockbuster film and its two sequels, has long looked the other way regarding possible copyright infringements. Fanzines, fantasy periodicals, and filmed spoofs have elaborated on <I>Star Wars</I> characters and story lines for two decades without fear.

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 21, 1999 0 comments

According to the March 15 edition of <A HREF="http://www.wsj.com/">The Wall Street Journal</A>, satellite broadcaster <A HREF="http://www.directv.com/">DirecTV</A> will stop beaming network signals to ineligible customers and offer to install terrestrial antennas at a discount as part of an agreement reached with several TV networks. The satellite service has been <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?239">wrangling</A> with four major networks---ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox---over rights to deliver network programming to customers in areas served by local broadcasters.

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Christian Rix Posted: Mar 21, 1999 0 comments

T<I>oshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Ko Kimura. Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Aspect ratio: 4:3. Monaural (Japanese with English subtitles). Two layers. 203 minutes. 1954. Criterion Collection #2. Not Rated. 39.95.</I>

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 14, 1999 0 comments

Stanley Kubrick's death on Sunday, March 7, stunned the film community and millions of the director's fans worldwide. He was in the process of completing the finishing technical touches on his last film, <I>Eyes Wide Shut</I>, and editing a trailer for it. His family reported that he died in his sleep, just five days after the film's first private screening for Warner Bros. executives.

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