Tech Standards May Change, but DTVs Are On the Way

The changeover from analog to digital television was once envisioned as a smooth, peaceful process. The reality has proven to be rocky and contentious. The broadcast standard has been debated continuously since the beginning, continuing as the first generations of digital television transmitters and receivers went on the market. In March of this year, the Advanced Television Systems Committee, under pressure from Sinclair Broadcasting Group and others, began a review of the technical standards that it recommended in 1996, with the possibility of changing the modulation scheme for DTV. If the ATSC finds that a change is needed, the FCC could require its implementation. Any changes could adversely affect the desirability of products now on the market or in production.

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Revised DTV Sales Figures Revealed

At last week's <A HREF="http://www.nab.org">National Association of Broadcasters</A> (NAB) convention, the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A> (CEA) called on broadcasters to step up digital television (DTV) programming efforts while announcing new market data and projections that they claim demonstrate the link between DTV sales and available content. The CEA says that the data include specific sales numbers for DTV receivers in 1999. The CEA also released revised DTV sales projections based on three different programming scenarios.

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Measurements for the Proceed BPA 3

W<I>e inadvertently left out the sidebar of the measurements TJN did of the Proceed BP3 amplifier, which was intended to accompany FM's review of the BP3 and BP2 amps in our May issue.</I>

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Faroudja and Dwin Resolve Patent Dispute

Both <A HREF="http://www.dwin.com/">Dwin Electronics</A> and <A HREF="http://www.faroudja.com">Faroudja</A> announced satisfaction last week in the resolution of a patent-infringement lawsuit brought by Faroudja a little over one year ago. According to Faroudja, the patents included in the settlement relate to detecting the 3:2 pulldown sequence of film-originated video and deinterlacing techniques used to improve the picture quality of high-resolution and large-screen video displays. Financial terms of the settlement agreement between the parties were not disclosed.

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$400 HDTV Just Around the Corner?

Watching TV on your computer is not a new idea. In fact, companies have been bringing regular DTV to the desktop for over a year now (see <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?289">previous story</A>). But HDTV is another matter&mdash;the high-definition specification for digital television has been struggling to get out of the chute ever since its launch in November 1998. Several factors have slowed the emergence of HDTV, with the high prices of HDTV sets a deciding factor in most cases.

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VHS Phantom Menace Takes Off Like a Rocket

S<I>tar Wars</I> fans might prefer to watch <I>Episode 1&mdash;The Phantom Menace</I> on DVD, but they aren't saying "no" to the videotape version. More than 5 million copies of the VHS version were snapped up within 48 hours after the tape went on sale April 4, accounting for almost $100 million in retail sales. The 133-minute film, which debuted last year, reached #2 in all-time box-office statistics.

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Jimi Hendrix on DVD

J<I>imi Hendrix, Little Richard, Pete Townshend, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton. Aspect ratios: 4:3 (full-frame), 16:9 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 2.0. 102 minutes. 1973. Warner Bros. 11267. R. $24.95.</I>

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New BBC Film Unit Will Focus on US, World

The <A HREF="http://www.bbc.co.uk/">British Broadcasting Corporation</A> is creating a new film division that will develop projects with American producers and distributors for theatrical release in the US and elsewhere in the world, according to an official announcement made April 4 in London. The new division is part of a corporate restructuring that will free up $318.5 million annually for dramatic programming, according to the BBC's new director general, Greg Dyke.

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Massachusetts Bans Dumping of CRTs

The march of progress comes at a price to the environment. Old computer monitors and television sets often wind up in landfills, where they can leak lead, cadmium, mercury, and other toxic chemicals into the groundwater. The federally mandated changeover to digital television, projected to be complete within the next six years, may exacerbate the problem as millions of consumers consign their old displays to the trash.

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Oscars Come to Home Theater on DVD

DVD is recognized as a mainstream consumer format at this point, and several of the recent Oscar-winning and -nominated films are already available for purchase in the digital format, with the majority of the others on their way.

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