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Barry Willis Posted: Jan 30, 2000 0 comments

The Internet's video parallel to the controversial MP3 free-music phenomenon&mdash;currently being contested in US courts&mdash;quickly reached crisis proportions last week. A judge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ruled against <A HREF="http://www.icravetv.com/">iCraveTV.com</A>, a Canadian startup that late last year began retransmitting Canadian and American TV programming over the Internet without permission. On January 28, the judge found in favor of a coalition of plaintiffs, including three of the four major television networks, several movie studios, the <A HREF="http://www.nba.com/">National Basketball Association</A>, and the <A HREF="http://www.nfl.com/">National Football League</A>. At the moment, iCraveTV's site has a notice informing visitors that "access to stations and program listings is not available."

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Posted: Jan 30, 2000 0 comments

High school and college students whose parents may be wondering if little Ricky will ever stop playing with the video camera now have a scholarship program to call their own. The creation of the Zoom Culture Undiscovered Genius Scholarship program was announced last week at the Sundance Festival.

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Barry Willis Posted: Jan 30, 2000 0 comments

Video streaming on the Internet is a few years away from offering any real competition to cable television, but technological limitations haven't prevented entrepreneurs from exploring the entertainment frontier. This year's recently completed <A HREF="http://www.sundance.org/">Sundance Film Festival</A> saw a huge increase in the number of Net startups&mdash;many without active sites&mdash;looking to sign deals with independent filmmakers for short features.

Mike Wood Posted: Jan 25, 2000 Published: Jan 26, 2000 0 comments
How to embrace convergence technology.

Computer sales are climbing as Internet traffic doubles every 100 days. With progressive-scan DVD players finally hitting the market, DVD-player sales are expected to reach $3 million or more by year's end. Regularly broadcast HDTV programming is up from last year's one hour a week to almost 30 hours a week of prime-time programming. How do you find a display that can take advantage of these technologies without breaking the bank? Look for a multimedia display. This growing segment of the television market makes the most of your imaging resources. With products like Hitachi's 36SDX88B, your house doesn't have to look like NASA's control room.

Michael Trei Posted: Jan 25, 2000 Published: Jan 26, 2000 0 comments
Hard-core gear maker Krell makes a poweful argument with KAV-250a and KAV-250a/3.

Since their inception some 20 years ago, Krell has remained about as hard-core of an audiophile company as you're likely to find. Back in 1980, Krell shocked the hi-fi world with their enormous KSA-100. Since then, they have remained on the cutting edge of solid-state electronics. Just when you thought they couldn't push things any further, they would obliterate the competition with some unimaginably huge and powerful beast. The most recent example of this is the Master Reference series that they describe as being "mini-sized," but I think they must have been comparing the amps with a British car.

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Joe Hageman Posted: Jan 25, 2000 Published: Jan 26, 2000 0 comments
Three bargain-basement receivers go head to head to see who's on top of the cheap heap.

Believe it or not, I wasn't always as tall and dashingly handsome as I am now (don't worry, guys, that comment was directed toward our female readers). I remember back in fifth grade when I was an awkward runt who got picked last in kickball. All the bigger guys would laugh at me. I'm not jaded, though—I now have the coolest job in the world, I'm a minor celebrity, and I've got the names and addresses of all my adolescent torturers (yeah, even you, Billy, in Colorado Springs).

Mike McGann Posted: Jan 25, 2000 Published: Jan 26, 2000 0 comments
Real high-definition audio that everyone can appreciate.

Consumer-electronics writers are a curious group. We'll look at a product on paper and decide whether it's going to be any good long before we actually get our hands on the gear. That's not a very shocking admission. Think about it: You see Kevin Costner is making another baseball movie, and you have to figure it will be decent. It's sort of the same process for writers. Being cynical, most of us writer types looked at Sony's SACD format on paper and agreed it would probably sound good, as long as it's surrounded by good-enough gear to bring out the difference over traditional CDs and maybe even the long-awaited DVD-Audio. Some even argued that the product is of questionable value, since it's only aimed at the high-end, tube-amp crowd. Why muddy the water? Why mess things up for the upcoming (and more-mainstream) DVD-Audio? Isn't Sony just being arrogant?

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Posted: Jan 23, 2000 0 comments

According to statistics released last week, factory-to-dealer sales of digital television (DTV) products closed out the year by posting a fifth consecutive month of growth in December. Numbers released by the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A> (CEA) indicate that DTV sales last month surpassed 23,000 units, bringing sales figures for 1999 to 121,226, and total sales since the introduction of DTV (in August 1998) to 134,402.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 23, 2000 0 comments

Pundits have long predicted that, as we move toward streaming more digital bandwidth into the home, consumers will begin to prefer video-on-demand services via their home network vs. renting films from video stores. This is not good news for the established bricks-and-mortar rental chains, many of which are fighting for ever-diminishing returns in crowded markets.

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Barry Willis Posted: Jan 23, 2000 0 comments

The old <I>Mission: Impossible</I> TV series always opened with the head of the spy team picking up his instructions on a miniature tape recorder stashed in an obscure place. An authoritative voice would give Mr. Phelps his instructions&mdash;always with the option of declining the assignment&mdash;and then announce that the tape would self-destruct, which it did with a burst of flame and a puff of smoke.

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