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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 12, 1999 0 comments

A plan by <A HREF="http://www.blockbuster.com/">Blockbuster Inc.</A>, the world's #1 video chain, to turn its major rival's stores into Blockbuster franchises, has been blocked by the <A HREF="http://www.ftc.gov/">Federal Trade Commission</A>, the <A HREF="http://www.wsj.com/"><I>Wall Street Journal</I></A> reported December 10. Blockbuster had planned to put its name on Hollywood Video's approximately 1500 stores.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Dec 12, 1999 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.thomson-multimedia.com">Thomson multimedia</A> announced a major investment and development partnership with <A HREF="http://www.geocast.com">Geocast Network Systems</A>, in an alliance that the company claims is intended to deploy a comprehensive terrestrial broadcast-based digital television datacasting system and service to millions of homes from coast to coast. Thomson says it is making a $15 million investment in Geocast Network Systems, and that "the result will be seamless, high-quality playback of rich-media content at a moment's notice from home entertainment and information devices."

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Posted: Dec 12, 1999 0 comments

A demonstration of digital television broadcasting in New York City last week may have laid to rest fears about the viability of the Advanced Television Standards Committee's transmission technology. The technique, known as 8-VSB, has been under attack from some quarters, particularly Sinclair Broadcasting, as being inadequate to prevent severe multipath distortion, which results from reflected signals arriving at a receiver slightly later than direct signals. In digital TV, multipath can cause a screen to go blank.

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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 05, 1999 0 comments

The popularity of DVD and home theater is driving sales of big-screen television sets to new heights&mdash;despite the fact that the rollout of digital television may make them obsolete in the near future. Sales of big-screen sets are up 13% over 1998, according to the latest statistics from the <A HREF="http://www.cemacity.org/">Consumer Electronics Association</A>. Ninety percent of the approximately 1 million units sold in 1990 were equipped to display only NTSC analog signals&mdash;or "legacy video," as industry insiders call it.

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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 05, 1999 0 comments

Madeline Kahn, the comic actress whom Mel Brooks described as "one of the most talented people that ever lived," died in Manhattan on Friday, December 3, of ovarian cancer. She was 57.

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Posted: Dec 05, 1999 0 comments

The video-display war got a lot hotter on December 3. That day, <A HREF="http://www.sharp-usa.com/">Sharp Electronics</A> debuted its SharpVision LC-R60HDU CG-Silicon rear projector, the first such display to incorporate the company's revolutionary continuous-grain silicon (CG-Silicon) LCD technology. The 60"-diagonal display has more than 3.93 million pixels, and is said to offer unprecedented brightness, clarity, and color accuracy from any viewing angle. Perfection doesn't come cheap, however. The new projector costs a cool $50k.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Dec 05, 1999 0 comments

In addition to the predictable numbers generated by megabuck-grossing films like <I>The Matrix</I> and <I>Titanic</I> (see <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?587">related story</A>), we figure that <I>SGHT</I> readers might also be interested in what's at the opposite end of the list. After rummaging around, we discovered the website for <A HREF="http://www.awcm.com">The Amazing World of Cult Movies</A>, self-described as "the Internet's definitive reference source for the celebration of alternative cinema."

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Posted: Dec 05, 1999 0 comments

Last week, we announced the <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?583">stats on DVD players</A>, which have proven to be one of the hottest format launches in consumer-electronics history. This week, we follow up with recent numbers on DVD software. The results show that, four weeks before the all-important Christmas holiday shopping season, shoppers spiked DVD software sales as they snapped up movies and music videos over the Thanksgiving weekend.

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Posted: Nov 28, 1999 0 comments

Rockets launched into space move slowly at liftoff, but with thrust continually applied, they gain momentum until they break free of Earth's gravity. The Digital Versatile Disc has done something similar, according to the latest figures from the <A HREF="http://www.cemacity.org/">Consumer Electronics Association</A>: As of November 23, the DVD is the hottest-selling consumer-electronics product in history.

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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 28, 1999 0 comments

Want to own a piece of the studio that produced <I>Saving Private Ryan</I>? If you're a big player, you may soon have a chance to do so&mdash;through your broker. <A HREF="http://www.dreamworks.com/">DreamWorks SKG</A>, the entertainment combine founded by Stephen Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen, wants to raise $525 million through the sale of debt securities. The infusion of cash will be used to refinance old debts as well as to fund new productions, and will be repaid by worldwide box-office receipts, and video revenues from movies already in inventory or as yet unmade.

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