Popularity, Price of DVD May Alter Rental Biz

The upswell in the popularity of DVD, and its low cost per disc, would seem to be a good thing for all concerned—movie fans, video stores, and film studios. But the very aspects of the new format that are making it grow so huge so fast may cause permanent changes in the business of video rentals and sales, especially for the studios.

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DTV Sales are Hopping

Last week, the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A> reported that factory-to-dealer sales of digital television (DTV) products posted their fourth consecutive month of growth in November by topping 22,000 units, bringing total year-to-date sales to 97,481. According to these numbers, November's record sales brought total sales since introduction (August 1998) to 110,657.

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Cable and Satellite TV to Become Obsolete?

It's the ultimate chicken-or-egg television question: Which will come first, Internet over TV or TV over the Internet? Last week, <A HREF="http://www.broadwing.com">Broadwing</A> gave a nod to the latter when it announced that its subsidiary ZoomTown.com has unveiled <A HREF="http://www.intertainer.com">Intertainer</A>, which the company describes as "a new video-on-demand service" for customers with high-speed, high-bandwidth ADSL online connections. Broadwing says that ZoomTown customers will be among the first in the nation able to receive the service in early 2000. Subscribers will pay the normal monthly fee for DSL service, and will then be charged for their video selections on a pay-per-view basis.

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Coming Soon: Great Theatrical Performances on Tape

Most of this site's visitors enjoy home theater. Now, thanks to a huge boost in funding for <A HREF="http://www.Broadwayarchive.com/"> Broadway Digital Entertainment</A> (BDE), we'll be able to enjoy theater at home, too. BDE has just received $3 million to help put its archive of historic theatrical performances out on VHS tape.

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FCC Calls for Public Comment on Digital TV

How much responsibility should broadcasters be required to take in serving the public interest? On December 16, the <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A> launched an inquiry into the subject with a call for comments from the very people who will be served best, or worst, by the dawning age of digital television&mdash;the viewing public.

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Hard-Disk Video Recorders for Everyone?

Both <A HREF="http://www.tivo.com">TiVo</A> and <A HREF="http://www.replaytv.com">ReplayTV</A> pioneered a new product category for television addicts that allows consumers to record programs on hard-disk-based digital recorders for later playback (see <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?565">previous story</A>). The market is now heating up with recent announcements from several new players in the field.

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JVC Reorganizes ILA Projector Business

Last week, JVC Americas announced that it has consolidated its projector operations&mdash;both JVC-branded projection systems and Hughes-JVC-branded systems&mdash;into <A HREF="http://www.jvc.com/pro">JVC Professional Products Company</A>, and will develop and market all future projection systems under the JVC brand. The company says that this consolidation will result in the creation of a new Visual Systems Division, effective next month. JVC says it hopes that the reorganized company will grow its projection-display business by more than 15% in the year 2000.

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DVD REVIEW: The Matrix

Warner
Movie ••••
Opening up a century of fears - the fear of being fodder for the state and fuel for the corporation, the fear of being controlled through all-env
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Thomson's NYC Demo "Proves" Viability of DTV Broadcasts

A demonstration of digital television broadcasting in New York City last week may have laid to rest fears about the viability of the Advanced Television Standards Committee's transmission technology. The technique, known as 8-VSB, has been under attack from some quarters, particularly Sinclair Broadcasting, as being inadequate to prevent severe multipath distortion, which results from reflected signals arriving at a receiver slightly later than direct signals. In digital TV, multipath can cause a screen to go blank.

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Thomson Invests in Geocast Network Systems

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.thomson-multimedia.com">Thomson multimedia</A> announced a major investment and development partnership with <A HREF="http://www.geocast.com">Geocast Network Systems</A>, in an alliance that the company claims is intended to deploy a comprehensive terrestrial broadcast-based digital television datacasting system and service to millions of homes from coast to coast. Thomson says it is making a $15 million investment in Geocast Network Systems, and that "the result will be seamless, high-quality playback of rich-media content at a moment's notice from home entertainment and information devices."

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