Surrounded With Surround Choices
Surround formats are coming on the market fast and furious, which means yet more buttons on equipment. Last week, <A HREF="http://www.del.denon.com">Denon Electronics</A> announced the introduction of its new $3,800 flagship AVR-5800 A/V Surround Receiver, which the company claims is the world's first audio component to offer DTS-ES Discrete 6.1, DTS-ES Matrix 6.1 and DTS Neo:6 surround sound decoding. The receiver also boasts THX Surround EX decoding, 24-bit/192kHz D/A conversion, FireWire capability and seven channels, each capable of 170 watts output power.
HDTVs Getting Cheaper By the Minute
A "new breed of Digital High-Definition Television Receivers" is about to be unleashed by <A HREF="http://www.thomson-multimedia.com">Thomson Electronics</A>, manufacturer and marketer of RCA and Proscan. According to the company, four new HDTV models are now in pilot production in Thomson's facilities, including the "world's largest direct-view widescreen HDTV" intended to dramatically reduce consumer prices for HDTV products.
Titan A.E: First High-Def Film Delivered Digitally
Information and entertainment technologists have long predicted that reels of films will eventually disappear, replaced by digital datastreams delivered straight to theaters. On June 6, the first such event took place---from Los Angeles to a theater in the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta.
Making the World Safe for 525p
In news that is sure to strike fear in the hearts of videophiles everywhere, <A HREF="http://www.macrovision.com">Macrovision</A> announced last week the implementation of its copy protection technology for higher resolution DVD playback on players with 525p progressive scan outputs. The company says that 525p copy protection has now been licensed to Genesis Microchip, JVC, Matsushita, Oak Technology, and Pioneer.
Retroactive Gets Another Chance on DVD
J<I>ames Belushi, Kylie Travis, Shannon Whirry, Frank Whaley, Jesse Borrego, M. Emmet Walsh. Directed by Louis Morneau. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (letterbox). Dolby Digital 5.1. 91 minutes. 1997. MGM 907788. R. $24.98.</I>
Hitachi Announces DVD-RAM Camcorder; DVD-RAM Drives Coming from Rivals
The digital camera is now firmly established as a standard tool and toy for most technophiles. The next frontier for consumers---digitally-recorded moving pictures---is about to open up with a new camcorder from <A HREF="http://www.hitachi.com/">Hitachi</A>. The price will be 248,000yen, or approximately $2340 US.
FCC Correct with Rules for Set-top Boxes, Court Finds
The <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A> was correct when it formulated rules preventing cable operators from offering integrated security and channel-surfing features in cable set-top boxes, a District of Columbia appeals court has declared. The regulations, which will take effect in 2005, are derived from a proper interpretation of provisions in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the court found.
Home Theater Sales Buoyed by Good Economy
Home-theater equipment continues to be one of the fastest-selling segments of the consumer electronics market, according to the most recent figures from the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org/">Consumer Electronics Association</A>. How good is it? Try $2 billion in factory-to-dealer sales of video equipment in the first quarter of this year. That's a 20% increase over the first three months of 1999, according to the May 31 report. The figure is even more astounding in light of 1999's growth, in which home theater revenues increased by 11% over 1998's totals.
Optimode Announced by Lucasfilm THX
Last week, <A HREF="http://www.thx.com">Lucasfilm THX</A> announced a new DVD software feature that they claim will allow the performance of a home-theater system to be optimized for individual DVD releases. The process, called THX Optimode, consists of a series of tests "that make it easy for consumers to fine-tune the audio and video performance of their home components."
Personal Video Recorder Market Poised for Growth?
According to the results of the "PVR and Enhanced TV Potential" study, released last week by <A HREF="http://eBrain.org">eBrain Market Research</A> in cooperation with the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A>, despite the continuing popularity of videocassette recorders in the US, the number of Americans who own hard-disk–based personal video recording devices (PVRs) is likely to increase significantly in the next 12 months.