USWest and Sony Corp. of America Invest in Intertainer, Inc.
Hundreds of DVDs Available as Mail-Order Rentals
Hollywood is now cranking out DVD titles at a rate of more than one per day, but rental outlets have only a few of the most popular titles in stock. This is clearly a problem for home-theater owners and movie fans looking for new material.
RCA to offer Dolby Digital via Satellite
Digital Satellite System dish owners could soon be enjoying Dolby Digital surround sound. Next month, DSS dealers will start taking delivery on RCA's new DS5451 receiver. The new receiver will incorporate an optical Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format (S/PDIF) jack that sends a Dolby Digital signal to an appropriate surround decoder or A/V receiver.
Tower Construction Could Delay HDTV
Delays in tower construction could cause broadcasters in some big cities like New York and Chicago to miss their government-mandated May 1, 1999 deadline for initiating HDTV. The problem is this: The strength of terrestrially transmitted digital signals is dependent on the height of transmitting towers, and big-city broadcasters are having trouble finding the space to build them. "The rollout might be a little slower than anyone anticipated," said <A HREF="http://www.nab.org/">National Association of Broadcasters</A> executive vice president Chuck Sherman at the NAB's annual convention in Las Vegas.
Are You Pining for a Digital Network in your Home?
Lately, there's been a deafening buzz in the high-tech community: Developing digital networks for consumers' homes is going to be the Next Big Thing. There are <A HREF="http://www.zdnet.com/chkpt/adem2fpf/www.anchordesk.com/story/story_1961.... skeptics</A>, but the clamor has caught the attention of every big computer company out there; everyone from Sun to Apple to Microsoft to IBM is getting in on the act. However, there hasn't been much noise from the consumer-electronics companies---until now.
The Killer App, Video on Demand, Inches Ever Nearer
Video on demand (VOD) inches ever nearer: <A HREF="http://www.xingtech.com/">Xing Technology</A> and <A HREF="http://www.fantastic.ch">The Fantastic Corporation</A> have announced a partnership intended to bring live and on-demand digital video streaming to high-bandwidth satellite, cable modem, and ADSL operators.
Chinese Market for Pirated Films Called "Out of Control"
In Shanghai, <I>Titanic</I> was available on Video Compact Disc last November, a month before it appeared in theaters in the United States. According to <I>New York Times</I> correspondent Seth Faison in a story dated March 28, illegally copied discs are flooding into China at the rate of half a million per day, primarily from Macau, a Portuguese colony near Hong Kong. China has no legal jurisdiction over Macau, which is not a signatory to the World Trade Organization's International Treaty on Intellectual Properties. Both the US and China signed the pact to control piracy.
Sony Integrates TriStar and Columbia Pictures
TriStar Pictures and Columbia Pictures will soon be one big happy family, <A HREF="http://www.spe.sony.com/">Sony Pictures Entertainment</A> announced on March 31 in Culver City, CA. The two production companies, which were purchased separately by Sony in 1989, have been operated independently, except for a common marketing and distribution department. John Calley, Sony Pictures president, said it no longer made financial sense to have the two companies competing for the same projects.
Video Review: Babe on Laserdisc
J<I>ames Cromwell, Magda Szubanski. Animatronic creatures by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Directed by Chris Noonan. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1. Dolby Surround. Two sides. 92 minutes. 1995. CLV. MCA Universal Home Video 42692. Rated G. $34.99.</I>
Italian Researcher Claims High-Frequency Displays Reduce Seizures
According to Italian researchers, seizures caused by flashing video games and television shows can be minimized by using higher-frequency display rates. Such seizures affect about 10% of epilepsy sufferers between the ages of 7 and 19. In December, <I>Pokomon</I>, a popular Japanese television show with brightly flashing scenes, induced blackouts and epileptic seizures in more than 700 young victims, many of whom required hospitalization.