There's nothing else in home theater like a cinematically stunning film transferred to HDTV videotape and displayed at 720p or 1080i/p. The only problem is that the frame rates for the two formats are not the same, creating a syncing nightmare for the transfer studio. Solutions have involved running a single film frame through more than one scan of the faster DTV format to create a seamless presentation. As networks begin DTV transmission this fall, the ability to transfer film---a major source of primetime programming---and to create original high-definition content in a variety of DTV formats has become even more critical.
High-Definition Television will make its broadcast debut next month, and television stations in most parts of the country will participate. The <A HREF="http://www.nab.org/">National Association of Broadcasters</A> announced last week that 42 stations are good to go for the November 1 launch of 21st-century television. The first HDTV stations include the original 26 volunteers in the 10 largest US markets, as mandated by a schedule agreed to by the NAB and the <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A>; and an additional 16 that have completed their equipment upgrades ahead of time.
Home-theater fans are excited by HDTV, and the first display products are hitting the shelves right now. But how long will it be before high-definition signals become common as a broadcast medium? The answer to this question involves not only the television to receive the signal, but the entire broadcast chain, from camera to transmitter.
B<I>ridget Fonda, Gabriel Byrne, Dermot Mulroney, Miguel Ferrer, Anne Bancroft, Olivia d'Abo, Richard Romanus, Harvey Keitel. Directed by John Badham. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Surround (French), monaural (Spanish). 109 minutes. 1993. Warner Home Video 12819. Rated R. $24.98</I>.
In what they've billed as their continuing commitment to the growth and development of the DVD marketplace, <A HREF="http://www.universalstudios.com">Universal Studios</A> announced 20 DVD titles with DTS audio tracks to be released in the first half of 1999. The opening volley, which includes <I>Dante's Peak</I>, <I>Waterworld</I>, <I>Liar Liar</I>, and <I>Daylight</I>, is expected in January. Other titles to follow are <I>The Shadow</I>, <I>Babe</I>, <I>The River Wild</I>, <I>The Getaway</I>, <I>The Nutty Professor</I>, <I>Apollo 13</I>, <I>Happy Gilmore</I>, <I>12 Monkeys</I>, <I>Dragonheart</I>, <I>The Jackal</I>, <I>The Frighteners</I>, <I>Born on the Fourth of July</I>, <I>The Boxer</I>, <I>For Richer or Poorer</I>, <I>Blues Brothers 2000</I>, and <I>Primary Colors</I>.
CD is the dominant software medium today, but DVD will gradually replace it, according to panelists at the DVD-Audio Forum conference last week at the Hyatt Regency Hotel near the San Francisco airport. Higher storage capacity and greater versatility, including multichannel audio, mean greater value for consumers. The panel also predicted that the popularity of DVD-ROM will grow exponentially in the next three years, and the use of DVD-RAM---recordable media-----will easily triple within that period. Computers equipped with DVD "burners" are already on the market.
Where do captains of industry go when their cash cows begin to produce sour milk? To Washington DC, where they beg for regulatory intervention. That's where CBS Station Group Manager Mel Kazmarin was last week, and that's what he was doing---asking the Federal Communications Commission to reconsider its prohibition against one TV network owning more than 35% of the available commercial broadcast stations in the country.
Last week, IBM announced the introduction of its <A HREF="http://www.ibm.com/homedirector">IBM Home Director</A> home networking system, controllable from a PC or television screen. Although initially targeted at the new-home construction market, IBM says that Home Director can be retrofitted to most existing homes.
Five and one half years after the formation of digital television's Grand Alliance, the resulting technology has been honored with an <A HREF="http://www.rdmag.com/"><I>R&D Magazine</I></A> 100 Award as one of this year's most important new developments. "The key criterion of winning this award is technological significance," said the publication's Editor-in-Chief, Tim Studt. "This new DTV standard will change the quality and nature of television. It offers vastly increased visual impact, broader programming options, and the ability to use TV as an information appliance instead of just for passive entertainment."