AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 12, 1998 0 comments

Gary Shapiro, president of the <A HREF="http://www.cemacity.org/">Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association</A> (CEMA), lashed out last week at technology-trends research firm Forrester Research after FR issued a November <A HREF="http://www.forrester.com/Marketing/0,1051,58,00.html">report</A> dismissing consumer interest in high-definition television (HDTV). The report, authored by Josh Bernoff, foresees that digital TV will take off, but that most consumers won't be sufficiently smitten with hi-def pictures to go for the technology in a big way---or at least not in a way that will fully benefit makers of HD receivers.

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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 12, 1998 0 comments

Several months into one of the biggest mergers the entertainment industry has ever seen, Seagram Company has announced that many of the film and video operations it acquired in its buyout of PolyGram NV will be absorbed into its Universal Studios division. A flurry of pink slips for PolyGram employees, a shuffling of Universal management following a box-office slump, and a hefty write-down for the current quarter are all part of the script.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Dec 06, 1998 0 comments

Cable companies have found themselves under assault from the direct broadcast satellite (DBS) forces for several years now, and they face new potential competition from local phone companies' digital subscriber line (DSL) systems. As a result, they have begun to circle their wagons in an attempt to ward off further damage.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Dec 06, 1998 0 comments

Software titan <A HREF="http://www.microsoft.com">Microsoft</A> has big eyes <I>and</I> a big stomach, as evidenced by the company's announcements at the Western Cable Show in Anaheim, California, last week. It's no secret that the software giant has been eyeing consumers' living rooms for years, hoping to get Windows CE (WinCE), a junior version of the ubiquitous Windows operating system, into portable devices and TV sets.

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Derek Germano Posted: Dec 06, 1998 0 comments

A<I>nthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, John McIntire, Simon Oakland, Patricia Hitchcock. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (letterbox). Dolby Digital monaural, monaural (French). 109 minutes. 1960. Universal Home Video 20251. Rated PG. $34.98.</I>

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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 05, 1998 0 comments

Two new satellites, 28 new digital broadcasting frequencies, and a new broadcast-operations center are among the trophies <A HREF="http://www.echostar.com/">EchoStar Communications Corporation</A> will take home in a stock-swap agreement with Rupert Murdoch's <A HREF="http://www.newscorp.com/">News Corporation</A> and <A HREF="http://www.mci.com/">MCI WorldCom</A>. The agreement with News Corp. brings litigation between the two companies to an end, and it is expected to substantially strengthen EchoStar's position as a leader in direct broadcast satellite (DBS). <A HREF="http://www.directv.com/">DirecTV</A> and <A HREF="http://www.ussb.com/">USSB</A> are the only other serious contenders in the North American DBS market.

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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 05, 1998 0 comments

Entertainment-industry executives should sleep better thanks to a recent announcement from <A HREF="http://www.sony.com/">Sony Corporation</A>. On November 30, Sony announced it has developed robust, multilevel copy protection for the emerging IEEE 1394 interconnect standard, which represents an escalation in the technological war against poachers of intellectual property.

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Derek Germano Posted: Nov 29, 1998 0 comments

J<I>ames Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (letterbox). Dolby Digital 5.1. 128 minutes. 1958. Universal Home Video 20183. Rated PG. $34.98.</I>

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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 29, 1998 0 comments

Next month, <A HREF="http://www.divx.com/">Divx</A> is planning to test the widescreen waters. The company behind the pay-per-view alternative to "open" DVD recently announced that two films will be released in the widescreen format in December. "We want to see how much demand there is among our customers for widescreen," says a company spokesman.

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Posted: Nov 29, 1998 0 comments

The digital-television media bombardment has been a case study in contrasts. Some optimistic reports predict that most households will be DTV-equipped within 10 years, while others cite turf battles between broadcasters, the FCC, and various computer and electronics manufacturers as evidence of the minefield stretching out ahead. A study released this month by <A HREF="http://www.pwcglobal.com">PricewaterhouseCoopers</A> reports that industry executives are also painting dramatically different pictures of the digital future in 2009. In one, consumer technologies are seamlessly interconnected; in the other, television is stalled between analog and digital technology.

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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 28, 1998 0 comments

A picture density four times higher than standard 480i images and a resolution of 2500x2000 pixels are specifications worth bragging about. That's exactly what <A HREF="http://www.sel.sony.com/">Sony Electronics</A> is doing with its new CRT graphics projector, the VPH-G90U. The projector features new high-resolution, electromagnetically focused 9-inch CRTs and brightness up to 350 ANSI lumens. Sony is calling the VPH-G90U "the projector of choice for installation in large and medium venues, conference rooms, home theaters, and virtual-reality applications." Sporting a list price of $35,000, the new projector will make its debut at selected dealers next month.

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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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Jon Iverson Posted: Nov 22, 1998 0 comments

Networks of computers and digital peripherals in office buildings are becoming old hat. Most organizations have hired a specialist to maintain the network and install new equipment as it comes in. Such an environment makes it possible to add complex new systems and software along with infrastructure (wiring) upgrades on a regular basis.

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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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