FCC: No Cable Access for Internet Ventures

The <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A> has turned down an appeal by a California-based Internet service provider hoping to piggyback its services on local cable television lines. <A HREF="http://www.ivn.net/">Internet Ventures, Inc.</A> had tried to exploit what it saw as a loophole in cable-access law that might have let the company use unallocated bandwidth for its Internet service.

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Sales Start Strong in 2000

According to new statistics released by the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A> (CEA), manufacturer-to-dealer sales of video products in January grew by 8% over the first month of 1999 and totaled nearly 3.5 million units. Sales of DVD players, projection televisions, and camcorders were the major factors contributing to this growth, according to the trade organization.

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TDK and iFire Join to Develop, Market New Flat Display Technology

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.ifire.com/">iFire Technology</A>, a subsidiary of Westaim, announced it has entered into a $25 million strategic partnership agreement with <A HREF="http://www.tdk.com/">TDK</A> for technology collaboration and production of iFire-based flat-panel displays. iFire claims to be developing an inorganic electroluminescent display technology, with applications targeting consumer markets and the automotive display sector.

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Philips Restructures Consumer Electronics Division

Five 'transparent businesses' will emerge from a reorganization of <A HREF="http://www.philips.com/">Philips Electronics</A>' consumer electronics operations, the company announced in late February. "The new organization will allow the businesses to react more quickly to their distinct market conditions and will allow for more flexibility in the structure," a company press release stated.

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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.

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Interactive TV a Likely Reality with AOL-Time Warner Merger

After the coming merger of <A HREF="http://www.aol.com/">America Online</A> and media giant <A HREF="http://www.timewarner.com/">Time Warner</A> was announced, the <A HREF="http://washingtonpost.com/"><I>Washington Post</I></A> ran a cartoon in which a man comes home to find every item in his house telling him "You've got mail!" AOL hasn't connected to the toaster yet, but may soon have its hooks in that other staple of American household appliances, the television set.

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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.

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Reel.com Sues ReelUniverse.com Over Domain Name

What's in a name? At the very least, lots of very expensive litigation for independent film-distribution site <A HREF="http://www.reeluninverse.com/">ReelUniverse.com</A>, which recently received a cease-and-desist demand from attorneys representing movie retailer <A HREF="http://www.reel.com/">Reel.com</A>, a subsidiary of Hollywood Entertainment Corporation, parent of <A HREF="http://www.hollywoodvideo.com/">Hollywood Video</A>, the second-largest video rental-and-retail chain in the US.

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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.

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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."

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