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Posted: Mar 28, 1999 0 comments

Eventually, a few multinational conglomerates will own 90% of the world's businesses. Case in point: Cable companies <A HREF="http://www.comcast.com/">Comcast</A> and <A HREF="http://www.mediaone.com/">MediaOne</A>, already among the largest in their field, made a move in that direction last week when they announced a merger valued at between $53 and $60 billion. Comcast will acquire MediaOne, described by the <A HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/"><I>New York Times</I></A> as "the sole surviving independent cable company." The resulting company will be the nation's third largest.

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 28, 1999 0 comments

The legal wrangling over television broadcasting got much more complicated last week with the introduction of a bill to the US House of Representatives that would allow direct broadcast satellite (DBS) services to beam local TV stations' signals into the stations' own territories. The practice is currently banned by <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov">Federal Communications Commission</A> regulations, despite the fact that cable companies have carried local signals since the beginning of the cable industry.

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Posted: Mar 28, 1999 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.platinument.com/">Platinum Entertainment</A> and <A HREF="http://www.pioneer-ent.com/">Pioneer Entertainment</A> announced plans to jointly develop and create <I>Animetronic</I>, a series of multiple-format music and video releases that combine Japanese animation with original, new electronic-music compositions. Terms of the partnership were finalized at the Winter Music Conference in Miami by Steve Devick, Platinum president and CEO, and Yosuke "James" Kobayashi, president of Pioneer Entertainment.

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Christian Rix Posted: Mar 21, 1999 0 comments

T<I>oshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Ko Kimura. Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Aspect ratio: 4:3. Monaural (Japanese with English subtitles). Two layers. 203 minutes. 1954. Criterion Collection #2. Not Rated. 39.95.</I>

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 21, 1999 0 comments

According to the March 15 edition of <A HREF="http://www.wsj.com/">The Wall Street Journal</A>, satellite broadcaster <A HREF="http://www.directv.com/">DirecTV</A> will stop beaming network signals to ineligible customers and offer to install terrestrial antennas at a discount as part of an agreement reached with several TV networks. The satellite service has been <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?239">wrangling</A> with four major networks---ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox---over rights to deliver network programming to customers in areas served by local broadcasters.

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 21, 1999 0 comments

S<I>tar Wars</I> is with us as much today as it was 22 years ago, when the first film of the series was released. In fact, it has been around so long that it seems an inherent part of popular culture, like <I>Huckleberry Finn</I>---in the public domain, free for anyone to use as they wish. George Lucas, creator of the blockbuster film and its two sequels, has long looked the other way regarding possible copyright infringements. Fanzines, fantasy periodicals, and filmed spoofs have elaborated on <I>Star Wars</I> characters and story lines for two decades without fear.

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Posted: Mar 21, 1999 0 comments

In an effort to regain full control of its video library worldwide, <A HREF=http://www.mgm.com">Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer</A> announced last week that it has entered into an agreement with <A HREF="http://www.warnerbros.com">Warner Bros.</A> for an early termination of its existing video-distribution agreement with Warner Home Video. The original agreement with WHV was to end in May 2003.

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 14, 1999 0 comments

Stanley Kubrick's death on Sunday, March 7, stunned the film community and millions of the director's fans worldwide. He was in the process of completing the finishing technical touches on his last film, <I>Eyes Wide Shut</I>, and editing a trailer for it. His family reported that he died in his sleep, just five days after the film's first private screening for Warner Bros. executives.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Mar 14, 1999 0 comments

Using hard-drive technology to store audio and video data has become a growth industry of late, with startups <A HREF="http://www.tivo.com">TiVo</A> and <A HREF="http://www.replaytv.com">Replay</A> taking the lead (see <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?353">previous</A> articles). Consumer-electronics giant Sony has also gotten into the act with its <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?321">announcement</A> last December that it will team up with Western Digital to develop hard-disk-based products.

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 14, 1999 0 comments

The Oregon Trail Blazers of the National Basketball League lived up to their name in more ways than one on Friday, March 5, when they teamed up with <A HREF="http://www.unitymotion.com/">Unity Motion</A> and Oregon Public Broadcasting for the West Coast's first-ever professional basketball game in HDTV. Oregon PBS has the only functional HDTV system in the state.

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