On April 30, <A HREF="http://www.gi.com">General Instrument Corporation</A> and <A HREF="http://www.divatv.com">DIVA Systems Corporation</A> signed a letter of intent defining an agreement to market DIVA's OnSet video-on-demand (VOD) service on GI's DCT-1000 and DCT-1200 interactive digital-cable set-top boxes. This joint effort will enable cable operators who use the GI system to commercially deploy an OpenCable-compliant implementation of the OnSet VOD service by this fall.
DVD interloper Divx has not won the hearts and minds of early adopters, but that isn't stopping its proponents from laying out some serious cash for future orders. Last week, <A HREF="http://www.nimbuscd.com">Nimbus CD International, Inc.</A> and <A HREF="http://www.divx.com">Digital Video Express</A>, developer of the Divx system, announced that they have signed a five-year, multi-million-disc replication agreement.
B<I>ruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm, Chris Tucker, Milla Jovovich. Directed by Luc Besson. Aspect ratios: pan&scan, 2.35:1 anamorphic. Dolby Digital 5.1. Two sides. 126 minutes. 1997. Columbia TriStar Home Video 82409. Rated PG-13. $29.95.</I>
Surprise, <A HREF="http://www.microsoft.com">Microsoft's</A> <A HREF="http://www.webtv.com">WebTV</A> is now the only player in the TV/Internet game. On Wednesday, April 29, NetChannel Inc. threw in the towel, announcing that it was getting out of the business of bringing the Internet into homes via set-top converter boxes. The $20-per-month service never gained a large enough following to become profitable.
It's just about a month away: <A HREF="http://www.hifishow.com">HI-FI '98</A>, The Home Theater & Specialty Audio Show, will attract thousands of home-theater enthusiasts when it visits The Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel in Los Angeles, California from Wednesday, June 10 to Sunday, June 14, 1998.
Trekkers, rejoice! <A HREF="http://www.paramount.com">Paramount Home Video</A>, owner of the Star Trek franchise and Indiana Jones movies, will release open-format DVDs this year, the company announced Monday, April 27. The decision comes two weeks after <A HREF="http://www.blockbuster.com/">Blockbuster Music & Video</A> announced that it would begin a big push with DVD rentals. The growing popularity of DVD was a major factor in both decisions: Consumer-electronics industry analysts predict that there will be as many as one million DVD players in American homes by the end of 1998.
More set-top box news this week: On April 21, <A HREF="http://www.sciatl.com">Scientific-Atlanta</A> announced an agreement with <A HREF="http://www.schange.com">SeaChange International</A> to develop a complete server-to-set-top digital video-on-demand (VOD) system for cable networks. This agreement makes Scientific-Atlanta the first company to offer cable operators all network components for an integrated, commercially feasible digital VOD service in 1998.
Despite the ocean of ink that has been spilled on the subject, most consumers are indifferent about the inclusion of TV tuners in their computers. "Convergence" might be simply another intellectual fad---popular among journalists because it seems so logical, yet flopping among consumers because it really isn't. Most computer users who have responded to marketing studies indicate they don't care if they can receive television on their computers or not.
J<I>odie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine. Directed by Jonathan Demme. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1. Dolby Surround (3.1). One side. 118 minutes. 1991. Image Entertainment ID4069ORDVD. Rated R. Price: $29.95.</I>