AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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Barry Willis Posted: Apr 30, 2000 0 comments

When the retransmission of local TV signals by direct satellite broadcasters became legal, analysts and industry insiders expected an increase in business. They did not expect the surge in new subscribers that came in the wake of the decision. <A HREF="http://www.echostar.com/">EchoStar</A>, the perpetual runner-up to dominant DBSer <A HREF="http://www.directv.com/">DirecTV</A>, added 455,000 new subscribers to its DISH network in the first quarter of this year, bringing its total customer base to more than 4 million as of the end of April.

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Barry Willis Posted: Apr 30, 2000 0 comments

Steven Spielberg has held out long enough. With as many as 12 million DVD players expected to be in movie fans' homes by the end of the year, Hollywood's most successful director has decided to release his films on digital discs.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 30, 2000 0 comments

C<I>her, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith, Lily Tomlin, Baird Wallace, Charlie Lucas, Massimo Ghini, Paolo Seganti, Paul Checquer. Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Aspect ratios: 1.85:1 (anamorphic), 1.33:1 (full-frame). Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround 2.0 (French). 117 minutes. 1999. MGM Home Entertainment 907918. PG. $24.98.</I>

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Jon Iverson Posted: Apr 30, 2000 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.panasonic.co.jp/">Matsushita Electric Industrial</A> and <A HREF="http://www.quantum.com">Quantum Corporation</A>'s Hard Disk Drive Group announced that they have developed what they describe as the world's first audio/video hard-drive subsystem that records and plays back digital content with random-access digital video recording (DVR) functionality over IEEE1394 (aka FireWire).

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Posted: Apr 30, 2000 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.tvguideinc.com"><I>TV Guide</I></A> announced that it has partnered with <A HREF="http://www.seachangeinternational.com">SeaChange International</A> to bring to market a version of the TV Guide Interactive electronic program guide with a video-on-demand (VOD) service. The companies say that the collaboration will combine the TV Guide Interactive application with SeaChange's ITV system, and that this is the first major deal for TV Guide Interactive in the VOD area and will be the market's first fully integrated interactive program guide/VOD offering.

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Barry Willis Posted: Apr 23, 2000 0 comments

The <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A> has begun looking into problems presented by the proliferation of digital cable systems, problems that could offer pirates the opportunity to make an infinite number of perfect copies of high-definition movies from transmissions over pay-per-view channels like Showtime and Home Box Office. The lack of a reliable copyright-protection technology is hindering the rollout of high-definition television.

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Barry Willis Posted: Apr 23, 2000 0 comments

As many as 12 recent releases from <A HREF="http://www.miramax.com/">Miramax Films</A> will be streamed over the Internet in the coming months, the Walt Disney Company&ndash;owned studio announced April 19. Among the offerings will be 1998 Oscar winner <I>Shakespeare in Love</I>, which will be transmitted using encryption technology from <A HREF="http://www.sightsound.com/">SightSound</A>, a company that has been renting films at its site for the past year, and that recently launched an Initial Public Offering of its stock.

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Posted: Apr 23, 2000 0 comments

The <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A> reported last week that manufacturers' shipments of video products grew by "an incredible" 30% during March. "The strong March increase brought total first-quarter sales to 13.3 million units, a 21% increase over the first quarter of 1999. The growth in March was reflective of a larger trend of prosperity in video product sales, as all categories posted double-digit increases for both the month and year-to-date," stated the organization.

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Michael Metzger Posted: Apr 23, 2000 0 comments

J<I>udy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Frank Morgan, Margaret Hamilton, Billie Burke. Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 (full-frame). Dolby Digital 5.1 and mono. 101 minutes. 1939. MGM/Warner Bros. 65123. G. $24.95.</I>

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Posted: Apr 23, 2000 0 comments

At the NAB show in Las Vegas, <A HREF="http://www.sonicsolutions.com/">Sonic Solutions</A> announced a technology partnership with <A HREF="http://www.ravisent.com">Ravisent Technologies</A> that is intended to bring high-definition DVD to content developers and consumers for the first time. Sonic says that the new format, called hDVD, expands DVD beyond standard-definition video to include any of the 18 ATSC video formats, including 1080i and 720p.

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Barry Willis Posted: Apr 23, 2000 0 comments

Direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) companies have fought hard to gain parity with cable TV providers. A recent regulatory decision allowing the retransmission of local TV signals by satellite will go a long way toward giving DBSers equal footing with cable, and is the result of a long campaign of invoking "the free market" and "open competition."

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 16, 2000 0 comments

W<I>e inadvertently left out the sidebar of the measurements TJN did of the Proceed BP3 amplifier, which was intended to accompany FM's review of the BP3 and BP2 amps in our May issue.</I>

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J. Gordon Holt Posted: Apr 16, 2000 0 comments

J<I>ohn Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones. Aspect ratio: 4:3. Mono. 441 minutes. 1969&ndash;70. A&E AAE 700441 (discs 1&ndash;6), A&E AAE 70044 (discs 7&ndash;13). NR. $24.98 each.</I>

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Jon Iverson Posted: Apr 16, 2000 0 comments

At last week's <A HREF="http://www.nab.org">National Association of Broadcasters</A> (NAB) convention, the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A> (CEA) called on broadcasters to step up digital television (DTV) programming efforts while announcing new market data and projections that they claim demonstrate the link between DTV sales and available content. The CEA says that the data include specific sales numbers for DTV receivers in 1999. The CEA also released revised DTV sales projections based on three different programming scenarios.

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Barry Willis Posted: Apr 16, 2000 0 comments

The American broadcasting industry needs an attitude adjustment, according to <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A> chairman William Kennard. At last week's <A HREF="http://www.nab.org/">National Association of Broadcasters</A> convention in Las Vegas, Kennard took the industry to task for the slow rollout of digital television, mandated by his agency for more than two years now. The consumer electronics industry has embraced the promise of digital television from the beginning.

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