Digital Set-Top Box Market Ready to Roll

According to a report issued last week by <A HREF="http://www.alliedworld.com">Allied Business Intelligence</A>, a worldwide conversion from traditional analog broadcasts to digital images is creating a windfall for those producing consumer set-top boxes. Findings in the report, "Digital Set-Top Boxes: World Markets, Architectures, and Vendors," also indicate that the global installed base of digital set-top boxes will reach 252 million units by the end of 2004. The report states that two key factors driving the demand will be the use of digital set-top boxes by both DBS and cable subscribers. Growth in terrestrial digital TV decoder boxes is likely to be significantly slower, according to the research.

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Sony Inks Deal with TiVo

Competition in the personal video recorder market heated up considerably on September 8, when <A HREF="http://www.sony.com/">Sony Corporation of America</A> announced that it had made an equity investment in <A HREF="http://www.tivo.com/">TiVo, Inc</A>. TiVo is a Sunnyvale, California-based maker of personal video recorders (PVRs), a new category of product using hard-disk technology for time-shifting television viewing.

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Film Industry Alive and Well, Summer Stats Prove

Network television may be on the decline, but the film industry is stronger than ever. American movie fans bought almost $3 billion worth of movie tickets over the summer of 1999, exceeding the all-time high of $2.6 billion, set the previous year. This year, 11 movies pulled in more than $100 million each, and ticket sales for the year to date are up 6%.

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Coming Soon: Virtual Aquarium as "Video Wallpaper"

Years ago, Brian Eno pushed the artistic envelope with "sonic wallpaper," or background music as art. Artists working in film and video have exploited the concept too, using their cameras to record campfires, roaring surf, sleeping people and animals, stationary buildings, and other excruciatingly boring subjects. In playback, such fare tests viewers' patience and challenges their assumptions about art.

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Gods and Monsters on DVD

I<I>an McKellen, Brendan Fraser, Lynn Redgrave. Directed by Bill Condon. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital. 106 minutes. 1999. Universal Collectors Edition 20584. R. $34.90.</I>

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Season of the Witch

Because they missed their opportunity to distribute the original film the first time around, <A HREF="http://www.cinemanow.com/">CinemaNow</A> and <A HREF="http://www.trimarkpictures.com/">Trimark Pictures</A> announced last week that they have acquired all rights to several spoofs of <I><A HREF="http://www.blairwitch.com/">The Blair Witch Project</A></I>, with negotiations already underway to acquire several more. The original <I>Blair Witch</I> film has been put on a fast-track schedule for release on DVD in time for Halloween, including the requisite "Newly Discovered" footage, Internet links, and other special features.

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Vidikron of America Back on its Feet

One of the most respected makers of video projectors is back in action. On August 31, Vidikron of America announced that it has been sold by its parent company, Vidikron Technologies Group, Inc., to a group of international financial investors. Vidikron of America is now an independent company for the first time in its 11-year history. The investment group backing the company has access to funding in excess of $250 million, according to VOA's public relations agency, JB Stanton Communications, Inc.

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Runco Debuts DLP Projector

Hayward, California-based <A HREF="http://www.runco.com/">Runco</A>, one of the premier manufacturers of video projectors, has announced the VX1, a high-brightness, high-resolution projector that the company claims is about the same size and weight as much-lower-resolution LCD projectors. The VX1 is based on <A HREF="http://www.ti.com/">Texas Instruments</A>' one-chip Digital Light Processor (DLP) technology.

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Pioneer Elite DV-05 DVD player Review System

When we reviewed Pioneer's flagship Elite DV-09 DVD player in our September 1998 issue, it blew us away so much that it garnered an Editors' Choice award (see the February 1999 issue) as the best DVD player we had reviewed up to that time. This opinion has not changed in the intervening months, but at $2000, the DV-09 is more than many home-theater fans can afford (or justify) for a DVD player. The Elite DV-05, introduced earlier this year, provides many of the features and most of performance capabilities of the DV-09 at a more affordable price.

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Pioneer Elite DV-05 DVD player Comparisons

When we reviewed Pioneer's flagship Elite DV-09 DVD player in our September 1998 issue, it blew us away so much that it garnered an Editors' Choice award (see the February 1999 issue) as the best DVD player we had reviewed up to that time. This opinion has not changed in the intervening months, but at $2000, the DV-09 is more than many home-theater fans can afford (or justify) for a DVD player. The Elite DV-05, introduced earlier this year, provides many of the features and most of performance capabilities of the DV-09 at a more affordable price.

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