C<I>olm Wilkinson, Lea Salonga, Ruthie Henshall, Philip Quast, Michael Maguire, Jenny Galloway. Directed by John Caird & Trevor Nunn. Aspect ratio: 1.33:1. Dolby Digital 2.0. 148 minutes. 1995. Columbia TriStar VCI 88709. NR. $24.95.</I>
Digital TV might have reached only a few couch potatoes so far, but it is the hot ticket for computer-graphics and video-editing professionals, who converged in Los Angeles last week for SIGGraph '99, the annual convention of the <A HREF="http://www.acm.org/">Association for Computer Machinery</A>'s <A HREF="http://www.siggraph.org/">Special Interest Group for Computer Graphics</A>. All-format editing and design software was among the most newsworthy items on the convention floor.
Copyright hysteria is one of the entertainment industry's longest-running programs. Last week's episode featured an announcement by the recently formed Advanced Television Copyright Coalition (ATCC) that the group would exert legal pressure on <A HREF="http://www.tivo.com/">TiVo, Inc.</A>, and <A HREF="http://www.replaytv.com/">RePlay Networks, Inc.</A>, two Silicon Valley-based makers of personal video recorders (PVRs). These are hard-disk-based video recorders that allow users to easily shift viewing times and instantly zip past commercials if they wish. The machines' manufacturers will be asked to sign licensing agreements for the use of the group members' content.
Recently, <A HREF="http://www.cahnersinstat.com">Cahners In-Stat Group</A> released their forecasts of annual growth rates for digital direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) systems, which they claim will be in excess of 10% through 2003. Shipments are expected to exceed 30 million units by that time.
Last week, <A HREF="http://www.net-tv.net">NetTV</A>, which markets progressive-scan digital televisions and set-top boxes with integrated DVD-ROM players, announced that the company's High-Resolution DVD and digital television will be showcased at the DVD PRO Conference & Exhibition, to be held later this week in San Francisco. NetTV claims it is building digital-entertainment systems that combine progressive-scan video with Dolby Digital 5.1-channel audio. The company's products include the ExtremeDVD digital entertainment set-top box and DTV Series digital televisions (29, 34, and 38 inches).
A<B>ugust 10</B><BR>Vidikron of America, Inc. has now announced that it has obtained a credit line to replace its obligation to PNC Bank. As previously announced, Vidikron reported that PNC Bank had exercised its right of setoff against the funds in accounts maintained at the Bank. Vidikron says that with its new funding in place, the Company is now in a position to satisfy its obligations and continue its operations.
Last week, <A HREF="http://www.technicolor.com/">Technicolor</A> announced that it has acquired a significant interest in Real Image Digital, a developer of digital-cinema technology. As part of the transaction, Technicolor is acquiring 49% of Real Image, with the option of picking up another 11.5% in the future on pre-negotiated terms. Real Image is partnered with the Sarnoff Corporation, which is currently developing technology to compress and encrypt film-quality images for theaters—a process that Sarnoff claims is many times more complex than video compression for the home-entertainment market.
Early last week, <A HREF="http://www.valley-media.com">Valley Media</A>'s <A HREF="http://www.schwann.com">Schwann Publications</A> announced that they are introducing a new publication, <I>Schwann DVD Advance</I>. The company says the first issue of the bimonthly publication, dated September/October 1999, will list more than 3500 DVDs, sport an initial circulation of 10,000, and be available in retail stories and by subscription.
A "land rush" of "big-ticket deals" is about to sweep through the TV broadcasting industry in the wake of a <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A> decision on August 5 to lift the limit on station ownership by any one broadcaster. Commissioners voted 4-1 for the change. Feeling the heat from satellite services and cable systems, broadcasters have been applying heavy pressure on the FCC to change the rules, established in the 1930s, that limit station ownership to one per company in any single geographic area. The rules were originally intended to ensure diversity of programming and editorial content.
Early last week, <A HREF="http://www.burst.com">Instant Video Technologies</A> announced that it has acquired Delaware-based Timeshift-TV, a developer of digital-video technology that allows users to "personalize their TV viewing experience by adding VCR functionality to live broadcasts." Similar in concept to recent products released by TiVo and RePlay, these digital recording devices are aimed at giving consumers more control over when and how they watch their favorite TV shows.