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AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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Posted: Nov 22, 1998 0 comments

Media giant <A HREF="http://www.cbs.com/">CBS</A> continues to push the high-definition envelope with the first-ever broadcast of a prime-time dramatic series in HDTV. "The Other Cheek," the episode of <I>Chicago Hope</I> that aired last Wednesday, November 18, was produced by 20th Century Fox Television in cooperation with <A HREF="http://www.sony.com">Sony Electronics</A>' Broadcast and Professional Company using an extensive array of Sony's new HD equipment. It was relayed to 11 CBS affiliates, and it was available on the DirecTV satellite service. The program was broadcast in 1920x1080i, the highest-resolution version of HDTV.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Nov 22, 1998 0 comments

Back in 1996, when Congress set the timetable for digital television, one of the provisions left open for later discussion was fees the <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A> (FCC) would levy on broadcasters who charged for new pay-TV programming. The deadline for converting to DTV was set to be the year 2006, but how much should the government be compensated for special content such as HDTV movies, stock quotes, or other fee-based services that a broadcaster might charge for?

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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 21, 1998 0 comments

The world's "number one book and CD retailer" is now in the movie business. Last week, <A HREF="http://www.amazon.com/">Amazon.com</A> officially launched its video-sales division, offering more than 60,000 titles on video tape and more than 2000 on DVD. Prices are discounted 25-30% from the suggested list price.

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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 21, 1998 0 comments

Frank Biondi is making a very lucrative career of resigning from high-level positions. The former television executive and second-in-command at Viacom, Inc. has been forced out of the chairmanship at Universal Studios. The film-production company has not done well at the box office lately, a factor in the depressed stock price of its parent organization, Montreal-based Seagram, Ltd., which owns 80% of Universal. Former Hollywood talent agent and Creative Artists Agency co-founder Ron Meyer, who was Universal's president and chief operating officer, will take Biondi's place.

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Lawrence B. Johnson Posted: Nov 15, 1998 0 comments

C<I>arroll Baker, Lee J. Cobb, Henry Fonda, Carolyn Jones, Karl Malden, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Robert Preston, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart, Eli Wallach, John Wayne, Richard Widmark. Directed by Henry Hathaway, John Ford, George Marshall. Aspect ratio: approximately 2.23:1. Dolby Surround. Additional language: French. 150 minutes. 1962. MGM 906292. Not rated. $29.95.</I>

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Posted: Nov 15, 1998 0 comments

Following up on the start of the US's digital broadcasting system on November 1, both <A HREF="http://www.panasonic.com">Panasonic Industrial Company</A> and <A HREF="http://www.philips.com">Philips Semiconductors</A> announced last week new all-format digital television (DTV) tuner/decoder cards. These cards will allow computer users to view Digital TV (DTV) signals using their desktop PCs hooked up to either a computer monitor or television set. As we reported <A HREF="XXXXX">last week</A>, this may help foster the availabilty of $500 DTV tuners for PCs by early next year.

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Posted: Nov 15, 1998 0 comments

Following the start of the United States' digital broadcasting system on November 1, both <A HREF="http://www.panasonic.com">Panasonic Industrial Company</A> (PIC) and <A HREF="http://www.philips.com">Philips Semiconductors</A> announced last week new all-format digital television (DTV) tuner/decoder cards. These cards will let computer users view DTV signals using their desktop PCs connected to a computer monitor or television set. As we reported <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?289">last week</A>, this could help foster the availability of $500 DTV tuners for PCs by early next year.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Nov 15, 1998 0 comments

Imagine a dozen alley cats, who would normally claw at each other incessantly, purring happily together in a box. This gives you an idea of what's so remarkable about the <A HREF="http://www.1394ta.org">1394 Trade Association</A> (TA) Theater Demo this week at <A HREF="http://www.comdex.com/">Comdex</A> in Las Vegas. Several consumer-electronics giants, such as <A HREF="http://www.sony.com">Sony</A>, <A HREF="http://www.mitsubishi.com/">Mitsubishi</A>, <A HREF="http://www.samsung.com/">Samsung</A>, <A HREF="http://www.NEC.com/">NEC</A>, and <A HREF="http://www.yamaha.com/">Yamaha</A>, as well as computer titans <A HREF="http://www.intel.com/">Intel</A>, <A HREF="http://www.compaq.com/">Compaq</A>, and <A HREF="http://www.microsoft.com/">Microsoft</A>, are pulling together to support the 1394 (FireWire) standard. It is hoped that FireWire will unite the consumer-electronics and computer worlds with a common digital interface. A recent agreement between the consumer-electronics and cable industries has established 1394 as the standard link between digital television sets and DTV set-top boxes.

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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 14, 1998 0 comments

If ever there was a marriage made in heaven, it's big-time sports and high-definition television. CBS and Sony Electronics have teamed up to usher in the new era with four HD broadcasts of National Football League games. The first one, a Buffalo Bills/New York Jets matchup, took place November 8. The game---which the Jets won, 34-12---was seen in New York on WCBS's special channel 56. It was also available to fans in New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh, Cincinnati, Columbus, Charlotte, and Washington, DC.

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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 14, 1998 0 comments

High-definition television will be synonymous with high-quality programming, if the nation's <A HREF="http://www.pbs.org/">Public Broadcasting Service</A> has anything to do with it. Last week, PBS launched its new age of HDTV with <I>Chihuly Over Venice</I>, a 90-minute documentary about Seattle glass artist Dale Chihuly. The beautifully filmed and expertly edited piece, assembled from 100 hours of raw footage, follows Chihuly and a crew of fellow artists through Italy, Ireland, Finland, and Mexico as they work with local glassblowers, creating sculptures and large-scale chandeliers for public places.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Nov 08, 1998 0 comments

Many pundits have said that the computer will never make it into the family room, where the TV reigns supreme. They say it's too complicated, and consumers don't really want interactivity or crashing operating systems. But all it will really take is one or two killer applications or technologies, and the consumer-electronics world will get flipped on its head.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Nov 08, 1998 0 comments

If you don't have one of the pricey new digital TVs, but you're curious about those DTV broadcasts that started in your area last week (if you happen to live in one of the lucky cities), your PC might soon be able to provide some relief. With a graphics accelerator that can handle the various DTV formats and MPEG decoding and a low-cost DTV receiver card, viewing DTV on the PC is an affordable option. A graphics accelerator and receiver card with a combined cost under $500 can provide DTV at a fraction of the price for a new digital TV and tuner/decoder.

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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 07, 1998 0 comments

The next generation of flat-panel displays might be on the horizon, thanks to the work of scientists at the State University of New York in Buffalo. SUNY professor of physics and chemistry Zhifang Ren heads a group of researchers who announced last Thursday that they have found an easier way to grow "nanotubes" on thin sheets of glass, which might make them perfect for use as video screens.

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Posted: Nov 07, 1998 0 comments

T<I>he Wizard of Oz</I> is 59 years old and still going strong. The beloved saga of a young Kansas girl's adventures in a magical land has just been re-released in more than 1800 theaters. Enhanced with a THX/Dolby Digital soundtrack, the restored film from Warner Bros. will carry millions of fans into the holiday season, many of whom haven't stepped into a theater in years. The visual improvements to the film are reportedly so good that each of Dorothy's freckles is clearly visible.

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Posted: Nov 01, 1998 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.b-movie.com">B-Movie Theater</A>, a Web site celebrating the art and industry of the low-budget film, announced the first round of inductions into the new B-Movie Hall of Fame. The honorees were selected from over 1000 nominations submitted by cinephiles around the world, who selected the classic films and most prolific artists of the B-Movie genre.

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