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AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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Barry Willis Posted: Apr 05, 1998 0 comments

TriStar Pictures and Columbia Pictures will soon be one big happy family, <A HREF="http://www.spe.sony.com/">Sony Pictures Entertainment</A> announced on March 31 in Culver City, CA. The two production companies, which were purchased separately by Sony in 1989, have been operated independently, except for a common marketing and distribution department. John Calley, Sony Pictures president, said it no longer made financial sense to have the two companies competing for the same projects.

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Sarah Bryan Miller Posted: Apr 05, 1998 0 comments

J<I>ames Cromwell, Magda Szubanski. Animatronic creatures by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Directed by Chris Noonan. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1. Dolby Surround. Two sides. 92 minutes. 1995. CLV. MCA Universal Home Video 42692. Rated G. $34.99.</I>

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Posted: Apr 05, 1998 0 comments

According to Italian researchers, seizures caused by flashing video games and television shows can be minimized by using higher-frequency display rates. Such seizures affect about 10% of epilepsy sufferers between the ages of 7 and 19. In December, <I>Pokomon</I>, a popular Japanese television show with brightly flashing scenes, induced blackouts and epileptic seizures in more than 700 young victims, many of whom required hospitalization.

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 31, 1998 0 comments

Widescreen pictures and 5.1-channel audio will soon be accompanied by stenches, scents, fragrances, and aromas. Parfum Recherche SA, a Paris-based olfactory research firm, has announced a partnership with Snout & Proboscis Development Corp. of Santa Clara, California, to license its scent-encoding and -decoding technology to film studios and home-theater hardware makers worldwide. S&P's new chip division will be known as Scentronics.

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Posted: Mar 29, 1998 0 comments

On March 17, <A HREF="http://www.tvpc.com">Ino Technologies</A> of Austin, Texas announced that, for only $799, its new TVPC with DVD has "cracked the code" of the long-elusive home-convergence device. Otherwise known as the "Living Room PC," the TVPC connects directly to a regular television; unlike other so-called living-room devices, TVPC comes complete with a full-function remote keyboard, a hand-held remote, and a DVD drive.

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 29, 1998 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.dolby.com">Dolby Laboratories</A> won a bidding war for a four-storey office building near its Potrero Hill headquarters in downtown San Francisco. Dolby president Bill Jasper plunked down $18.25 million in cashier's checks for the glass-block building, which had fallen into bankruptcy after it had been used as a diamond-cutting and distribution center linked to both the De Beers cartel and the Russian government.

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Posted: Mar 29, 1998 0 comments

Predicted by an industry announcement last week: Widescreen digital televisions with theater-quality pictures and sound are on track for delivery by the end of the year. They'll be backed with new high-definition broadcasts in the fall, according to Sarnoff Corporation.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Mar 29, 1998 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.hewlett-packard.com">Hewlett-Packard</A>, <A HREF="http://www.mitsubishi.com">Mitsubishi</A>, <A HREF="http://www.philips.com">Philips</A>, <A HREF="http://www.ricoh.com">Ricoh</A>, <A HREF="http://www.sony.com">Sony</A>, and <A HREF="http://www.yamaha.com">Yamaha</A> demonstrated the read and write capabilities of a prototype DVD-ReWritable (DVD+RW) drive at CeBIT '98. This was the first public demonstration of the write capabilities of the DVD+RW format, which has sparked controversy in recordable DVD circles. Product prototypes based on the DVD+RW specification are expected to reach US markets by this fall.

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Posted: Mar 22, 1998 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.cablelabs.com">Cable Television Laboratories, Inc.</A> specified an existing high-speed serial protocol called IEEE 1394 (also known as FireWire) as the link between OpenCable digital set-top boxes and devices such as television sets and DVD players. <A HREF="http://www.opencable.com">OpenCable</A> is a CableLabs-sponsored initiative aimed at developing key interface specifications in order to foster interoperability among digital set-top boxes built by multiple vendors and used in broadband, two-way cable networks.

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Steven Stone Posted: Mar 22, 1998 0 comments

A<I>lbert Brooks, Debbie Reynolds, Rob Morrow. Directed by Albert Brooks. Aspect ratio: 1:85:1. Dolby Surround. Two Sides. 104 minutes. 1996. Pioneer Entertainment LV 332473-W. Rated PG-13. $39.95.</I>

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Posted: Mar 22, 1998 0 comments

According to the latest <A HREF="http://www.cema.org">Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association</A> (CEMA) statistics, released March 16, overall video-product sales had their best showing ever for the first eight weeks of a calendar year, with sales up 7%, to 6 million units. Video products also enjoyed their best February performance ever, with overall sales up 7%, to 3.2 million units. Leading an impressive set of video-hardware sales, large-screen and projection TVs were up 8% and 14%, respectively, in the year to date for 1998.

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Posted: Mar 22, 1998 0 comments

Recently, <A HREF="http://www.hrrc.org">The Home Recording Rights Coalition</A> (HRRC) sounded an alert to consumers and all other users of home VCRs and personal computers. In passing legislation to implement copyright treaties, a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee rejected an amendment that would have preserved consumers' rights to buy and use digital VCRs and PCs capable of making home recordings.

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 15, 1998 0 comments

Last week, Dallas broadcaster WFFA turned on its new HDTV transmitter for the first time. Surprisingly, the transmission overwhelmed heart monitors at Baylor University Medical Center, which were operating at the same frequency. Nurses and doctors were temporarily unable to monitor their patients' heartbeats. When the cause of the problem was discovered, WFFA turned the transmitter off.

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 15, 1998 0 comments

R<I>obert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, James Woods. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1. Dolby Digital 5.1. 179 minutes. Univeral 20159. Rated R. $26.98.</I>

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Jon Iverson Posted: Mar 15, 1998 0 comments

In early March, <A HREF="http://www.thesync.com">The Sync</A>, an Internet audio/video broadcasting company, announced that history has been made with the first modern feature film to be offered for viewing on the World Wide Web: American director Erica Jordan's acclaimed 1994 independent film, <I>Walls of Sand</I>. This important debut ushers in a new era in entertainment: video on demand from your PC, with feature films available at any hour of the day. Net surfers can watch <I>Walls of Sand</I> for free in the RealVideo format on The Sync's "<A HREF="http://thesync.com/ondemand">ondemand</A>" page.

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