DVD's early adopters were almost entirely technophile males, and their tastes in films were completely predictable: action and science fiction. Now that DVD players are finding their way into more homes, the popularity of other film genres in the digital format is growing.
Last week saw several IEEE 1394 announcements in anticipation of the third annual 1394 Developers Conference coming up June 2 in San Jose, California. (See <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?189">previous report</A>.) IEEE 1394, also known as FireWire, is a high-bandwidth local-area network (LAN) technology gaining considerable interest from consumer-electronics and computer manufacturers. IEEE 1394 can link a virtually unlimited number of home-entertainment devices with a single cable, and manufacturers hope to lower the cost of goods through a reduced number of necessary jacks, cables, and circuits.
In a perfect home-theater world, <I>all</I> consumers would demand ever-better video technologies with which to watch films and other programming at home. We would enthusiastically support companies that brought us video displays of increasing size and resolution, and we would favor movie studios that supported our quest for images and sounds of the highest definition. But the real world could be an unfriendly place for HDTV fans, according to a report just released by the <A HREF="http://www.mcgweb.com">McLaughlin Consulting Group</A>.
The race for home networking could be over before it really begins. On May 11, <A HREF="http://www.enikia.com/">Enikia Inc.</A> demonstrated a working model of a 10-megabit-per-second network using active AC powerlines as the medium. The demo took place at the Networld + Interop gathering in Las Vegas, a confab for the networking industry.
According to <A HREF="http://www.cyberstar.com">CyberStar L.P.</A>, the world's first satellite-broadcast distribution of high-definition, all-digital motion-picture content to a movie theater was successfully conducted last week at the Cannes Film Festival. The company, which is a provider of broadband services developed by <A HREF="http://www.loral.com">Loral Space & Communications</A>, teamed with independent film producers/distributors <A HREF="http://www.tebweb.com/lastbroadcast/">Wavelength Releasing</A> and digital film-server manufacturer QuVIS to distribute and show two short films: the Academy Award-winning <I>Bunny</I>, directed by Chris Wedge, and <I>Protest</I>, directed by S.D. Katz. Audiences viewed both films at Cannes' eCinema exhibition at the Palais Miramar on May 18-20.
Move over, TiVo. Step aside, ReplayTV. Canada's <A HREF="http://www.mgisoft.com/">MGI Software</A> has introduced new software that will turn Pentium III computers into digital VCRs. The development was announced in mid-May at the Electronic Entertainment Expo '99 in Los Angeles.
Consumer Days begin this Friday, but Wednesday saw the first of two Trade Days. Although not the full-blown killer demos that crank up when Joe Public roams the halls, there were a few notable displays.
Last week, <A HREF="http://www.cbs.com/">CBS</A> announced that <A HREF="http://www.mitsubishi-tv.com">Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America</A> will sponsor the most extensive digital broadcast programming package ever, underwriting exclusively the costs associated with producing the majority of the CBS Television Network's primetime series entertainment programming in HDTV, beginning this fall and running through the 1999/2000 television season.
Lately, the movie business has been nothing but trouble for <A HREF="http://www.seagram.com/">Seagram, Ltd.</A> The Montreal-based liquor and entertainment conglomerate reported losses totaling $199 million on a net income of $461 million for its third fiscal quarter, ending March 31.