No home-entertainment technology in years has been as eagerly anticipated as the upcoming Blu-ray and HD DVD high-definition disc systems. In fact, the last time we techie types were this excited about something new was when the CD was introduced.
Key Digital Systems (KDS) is no stranger to the world of video signal processing. They've been manufacturing video scalers for several years, including some models that had more functions than a Swiss army knife.
In our ongoing run-up to our 10th anniversary in early 2005, Michael Fremer looks at his experiences working on the soundtrack to the groundbreaking movie Tron. This article was first published in our Fall 1997 issue. We've made a few edits to account for changes since then (particularly in the references to laserdiscs!), but MF's description of the creation of an early-1980s soundtrack is as fascinating, interesting, and pertinent as ever. Modern digital techniques have revolutionized the film-sound business, but a good soundtrack is still a good soundtrack.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.mf.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=180 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Voom shut down for good on April 30, 2005. It was sad to watch the promise of an HDTV-based satellite system with almost 40 HD channels, including a lineup of stations unique to Voom, go dark. Ten of those channels should be available on Dish Network by the time you read this, which isn't surprising—EchoStar, Dish Network's parent company, recently bought the Voom satellite and other assets.
In what must be considered a major victory for consumers, on May 6, 2005, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of the American Library Association and others who filed suit against the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to block implementation of the so-called "broadcast flag," a digital signature that would have severely limited the circumstances under which consumers could copy DTV programs. As a result, over-the-air DTV signals may be freely recorded and copied for personal, non-commercial purposes as outlined by the principles of fair use (as unclear as those principles may be).
My grandmother, Thelma Perkins, passed away at the end of December. I was her eldest grandchild, and we were very close. I believe that the time I spent with her helped make me the person I am today. My Gram spoiled me, keeping her house stocked with my favorite junk food, taking me on trips, and staying up all hours playing cards with me.
DVD: I [Heart] Huckabees—20th Century Fox
I don't know if I hearted Huckabees, but I liked it an awful lot. It's an odd film (I expect nothing less from David O. Russell, the writer/director of Three Kings and Flirting with Disaster) about an environmental activist (Jason Schwartzman) who hires a pair of existential detectives to help him find meaning in a coincidence that he's experienced. With an incredibly strong cast at his disposal, Russell manages to explore weighty philosophical, political, and social subjects in a way that's both thoroughly relentless and charmingly playful.
Focus Enhancements, one of the primary developers of ultra wideband (UWB) wireless networking technology, has successfully demonstrated the transmission of two HDTV datastreams through the walls of its Hillsboro, Oregon, facility. This is an important step toward enabling consumer products to wirelessly transmit multiple HD streams throughout the home using Focus Enhancements' UWB chipsets, which should become available later this year.
Sunday is the day of the week when I like to sit back, relax, and ponder the unanswered questions in life. On the third and final day of the Home Entertainment show, I was startled to discover that both April Music and May Audio were here in the hotel. Was it by sheer coincidence, or was something more sinister going on? Then, of course, there's the follow up question of why April and May were the only months involved? What devious mastermind could be behind this - and does it have anything to do with fluoride in the water supply?