On Sunday, February 6, 2005, the 39th annual pigskin pig-out known as the Super Bowl is scheduled to kick off, with the Philadelphia Eagles against the New England Patriots in Jacksonville, FL. The game has become one of the biggest reasons that people buy an HDTV (and one of the biggest selling points for retailers), and those who have taken the plunge will not be disappointed—as long as they can receive the HD signal. This year, the Super Bowl will be broadcast in 720p on the Fox network via terrestrial and cable channels. DirecTV will also carry the high-def signal, but only in markets where the Fox HD station is owned and operated by Fox (for example, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia, but not San Francisco or Miami).
Panasonic's PT-AE500U made waves in fall 2003 with its low price and improved color rendering over previous Panasonic LCD projectors. Plenty of them were sold, and the model made many reviewers' "Best Of" lists for the year.
Once upon a time, it was widely accepted that LCD projectors had two major weaknesses. First, in commonly available consumer models, the pixel structure could result in the infamous "screen door effect." That is, because the wiring driving each pixel had to be routed between the pixels, the pixel spacing, or pitch, was wide enough to make the pixel grid visible at close viewing distances.
One of the more interesting announcements at CES this year was from DirecTV, who revealed that they would be launching four next-generation satellites by 2007 in order to carry more than 1500 local HDTV channels and 150 national HD channels. The first two of these satellites, dubbed Spaceway 1 and Spaceway 2, are scheduled to be sent aloft early in the second quarter of 2005, and they will transmit local HD channels to 12 US markets (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington DC, Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, and Tampa) by mid-year.
The venerable CRT - a fixture of TV since its first days - is now being edged out by brighter, lighter, thinner technologies like plasma and LCD panels. There are also front- and rear-projection TVs with light engines that magnify images from LCD and DLP microdisplays.
Disney's latest vault exploration has resulted in three new two-disc collections. The Mickey Mouse Club (Week One) presents the first five Mouseketeer meetings in their full, one-hour broadcast versions from October 1955. Mickey Mouse in Black and White (Volume Two) includes more than 40 Mickey cartoons from 1928 to 1935 and is a companion piece to the original Treasures collection of early Mickey shorts released in 2002. The Complete Pluto (Volume One) offers 26 cartoons from 1930 to 1947 that either starred or featured Mickey's pet pooch.
This avant-garde documentary traces the weeks of rehearsal leading up to a 2000 play by playwright and director Sam Shepard, based on his relationship with his own alcoholic father. Shepard assembled a cast that included Nick Nolte, Sean Penn, and Woody Harrelson, and while it's interesting to watch these pros prepare for their curtain call, they all seem to get along too well to make this more than an occasionally interesting behind-the-scenes look at live theater. The best drama—whether fiction or reality television—comes from conflict, but there's none to be found here, despite the disc jacket's claim that the play's characters "set off a powder keg of emotions so explosive that the actors themselves are drawn into the fray." This is just dull, and even Shepard appears to be dozing off during some of the script-reading sessions. The best moment comes when Harrelson and Penn, apparently competing with Nolte for the title Most Scruffy Looking Actor, bust each other's chops on some of their past film choices (yes, Shanghai Surprise comes into the conversation).
When I was in high school, long before VCRs became disposable, I struggled to stay awake into the wee hours to watch The Twilight Zone on various cable TV Superstations. Never mind that I'd seen most of the episodes. A friend and I planned to write a book about the series, so we lost sleep in the name of research.
Adam Sandler. You either love him or hate him...except for me, I tend to love AND hate him! For example, I loved Happy Gilmore, but I could've lived without Billy Madison, which is why this collection is great for me. Happy Gilmore definitely looks and sounds a whole lot better, and it's just a better movie overall, though Billy does have its moments.