America Online and Blockbuster Get Cozier
Welcome to <I>Mating Dance of the Giants</I>, brought to you by <A HREF="http://www.aol.com/">America Online</A> and <A HREF="http://www.blockbuster.com/">Blockbuster Video</A>. The world's largest Internet service provider (soon to be AOL Time Warner) and the world's largest video sales-and-rental chain are expanding the symbiotic relationship begun a few months ago. The two behemoths announced February 17 that their multi-year alliance will grow in several directions, all of them intended to cement their already unshakable grip on the marketplace.
Interactive TV a Likely Reality with AOL-Time Warner Merger
Sony Reorganization to form Network Companies
At a press conference last week, <A HREF="http://www.sony.com/professional">Sony Electronics</A>' professional division outlined the company's strategy for the broadband network era, and announced a number of new broadcast and professional products that will be on display at the upcoming <A HREF="http://www.nab.org/">National Association of Broadcasters</A> (NAB) show in April.
Reel.com Sues ReelUniverse.com Over Domain Name
iDVD Getting Ready for Launch
Last week, <A HREF="http://www.thebroadscreen.com">thebroadscreen.com</A> announced that it has laid all of the groundwork to begin MPEG-2 production of digital news and entertainment over what it terms "broadband Internet connections." The company says that the format will be dubbed iDVD (Internet Digital Video Disc), and is intended to be downloaded into the new DVD-RAM recorders or played live over cable and DSL connections.
Consumer Electronics Association Applauds FCC Dismissal of Sinclair Petition
February 4th's <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?641">unanimous decision</A> by the <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A> to dismiss a petition from Sinclair Broadcasting seeking to modify the existing digital television broadcast standard has won praise from the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org/">Consumer Electronics Association</A>. "We commend the commissioners for today's unanimous decision," said CEA president Gary Shapiro. "With this ruling, DTV's future is clear and paved for success. The FCC has wisely provided broadcasters, manufacturers, and consumers with the certainty they need to move forward with the transition to digital television."
EchoStar Sues DirecTV, Thomson
A federal court in Denver hosted a DBS David vs. Goliath scene the first week of February, when <A HREF="http://www.echostar.com/">EchoStar Communications Corporation</A> filed an antitrust suit against its rival <A HREF="http://www.directv.com/">DirecTV</A> and Thomson Consumer Electronics, charging them with conspiring to keep EchoStar's products out of electronics stores.
Canadians Join Campaign to Shutter iCraveTV.com
FCC Denies Sinclair Petition
On the heels of aggressive lobbying by the Sinclair Broadcast Group (see <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?639">related story</A>), the FCC today released a letter denying a Petition for Expedited Rulemaking, filed by Sinclair, requesting that the Commission modify its rules to allow broadcasters to transmit Digital Television (DTV) signals using COFDM modulation in addition to the current 8-VSB modulation standard.
December Caps Strong Year in Video Sales
According to recent statistics released by the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A>, manufacturer-to-dealer sales of video products grew by 28.6% in December, totaling just under 5.6 million units and rounding out a year of growth in the category. The CEA also reports that total sales of video products in 1999 topped 60 million units, increasing by 22% over 1998. In addition, the numbers indicate that virtually every category (with the exception of direct-view color TVs) experienced double-digit increases for the year.