Coming Soon: DVD Recorders, DVD/VCR Combo

The market for DVD recorders is expected to explode in the near future, and major manufacturers are positioning themselves to benefit. In mid-July, Japanese electronics firms <A HREF="http://www.sharp.co.jp/">Sharp Corporation</A> and <A HREF="http://www.pioneer.co.jp/">Pioneer Corporation</A> announced an alliance to cooperate on the development of new digital products, in particular DVD recorders.

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Hard-Disk–Based Home-Theater Products?

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.Thomson-multimedia.com">Thomson Multimedia</A> and hard-disk manufacturer <A HREF="http://www.seagate.com/">Seagate Technology</A> announced an equally owned joint venture to form an independent company, called <A HREF="http://www.cachevision.com">CacheVision</A>, that the companies say will be focused on "value-added storage-centric systems" for home consumer electronics. The companies are anticipating that advanced consumer-electronics hard disk&ndash;based storage modules may soon be needed in many consumer-electronics devices, including TVs, set-top boxes, Personal Video Recorders (PVRs), and DVD players (see <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?735">previous report</A>).

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A Bug's (New) Life

V<I>oices of Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Denis Leary, Phyllis Diller, Hayden Panettiere, Madeline Kahn. Directed by John Lasseter. Aspect ratios: 2.35:1 (anamorphic), 1.33:1 (full-frame). Dolby Digital 5.1. 95 minutes (film), 202 minutes (films and extras). 1998. Walt Disney Home Video 17989. G. $49.99.</I>

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DVD Watermarking Proposal Announced

With DVD-based video recorders and disc burners for personal computers now coming on the market, a video industry coalition has announced a comprehensive watermarking technology for digital video that it hopes will prevent a copyright-infringement nightmare like the one now plaguing the music business. The Millennium Group, consisting of <A HREF="http://www.philips.com/">Philips Electronics</A>, <A HREF="http://www.macrovision.com/">Macrovision</A>, and <A HREF="http://www.digimarc.com/">Digimarc</A>, claims that its system will inhibit unauthorized copying of DVDs and will prevent illegal copies from playing.

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The Pajama Game Gift-Wrapped in Cellophane

D<I>oris Day, John Raitt, Carol Haney, Eddie Foy, Jr., Barbara Nichols. Directed by George Abbott and Stanley Donen. Aspect ratios: 1.85:1 (widescreen), 1.33:1 (full-frame). Dolby Digital mono. 101 minutes. 1957. Warner Home Video 35085. NR. $19.95.</I>

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Coming Soon: Cheap Plastic-Film Video Screens?

Plastic film may soon be coming to a home theater near you&mdash;not as a food wrap, but as a video screen. London-based <A HREF="http://www.cdtltd.co.uk/">Cambridge Display Technology</A> (CDT), in association with its Japanese partner, Seiko Epson, has announced a new development that bonds light-emitting polymers (LEPs) to such film. Properly charged, the red, blue, and green pixels will emit bright light while using very little power. Unlike liquid-crystal displays, LEPs require no backlight and have a wide dispersion pattern.

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DVD Special Editions Arriving

Several eagerly awaited special DVD releases are poised to hit the shelves in coming months. <I>American Beauty</I>, winner of five Academy Awards earlier this year, will debut on DVD on October 24. DreamWorks says that the film will be released in a special "Awards Edition," which will include a "storyboard" feature with commentary by director Sam Mendes and director of cinematography Conrad L. Hall, as well as a "Making of" featurette.

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Silicon Image Completes Acquisition of DVDO

Last week, semiconductor developer <A HREF="www.siimage.com">Silicon Image</A> announced that it has completed the acquisition of <A HREF="http://www.dvdo.com">DVDO</A>. Silicon Image says that this acquisition positions the company to extend its Digital Visual Interface (DVI) technology leadership beyond the PC market and into emerging digital consumer-electronics applications such as digital TVs, DVD players, and set-top boxes for high-definition video.

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DVD Player Sales: US vs. Japan

As the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org/">Consumer Electronics Association</A> sees it, the Digital Versatile Disc player is one of the most successful electronic products ever introduced. The format was introduced late in 1996, and began to gather momentum in 1998. Last year the players flew off dealers' shelves as prices approached the $200 level and the film industry began cranking out thousands of titles. DVD has been a huge hit in the US, which is in the midst of one of the longest economic upswings in history.

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It Happened One Night in 1934

C<I>lark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Jameson Thomas. Directed by Frank Capra. Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 (full-frame). Dolby Digital mono. 105 minutes. 1934. Columbia 03949. NR. $24.95.</I>

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