DVD Sets Records Again

According to figures released last week by the <A HREF="http://www.cemacity.org">Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association</A> (CEMA), an additional 900,000 DVD-Video players were shipped to retail in the third quarter of 1999, bringing total year-to-date hardware shipments to 2.2 million. The CEMA statistics also reveal that DVD-Video experienced approximately a 225% rate of growth in the third quarter of 1999 vs. the third quarter of 1998, shipping 600,000 more hardware units than shipped in the third quarter of 1998. CEMA estimates that total players shipped in 1999 will exceed 3 million units.

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New Motorola Module May Lower Cost of Digital TVs

The high-resolution benefits of digital television could reach millions of consumers within a year or two, thanks to a new module from electronics giant <A HREF="http://www.motorola.com/">Motorola</A>. On October 4, the company announced its MCT5100 M-DTV module, an integrated device combining the functions of Motorola's 8-VSB demodulator, the MCT2100, with an MPEG decoder and controller. Installed in an appropriate monitor, the module will "implement a complete Advanced Television Standards Committee (ATSC) digital television," according to advance publicity.

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Black Orpheus Sambas onto DVD

B<I>reno Mello, Marpessa Dawn, Lourdes de Oliveira, Lea Garcia. Directed by Marcel Camus. Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 (widescreen). Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono). 107 minutes. 1959/1999. Criterion Collection 48. NR. $20.96.</I>

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The Matrix DVD Ships 1.5 Million Discs

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.warner.com/">Warner Home Video</A> announced North American shipments to dealers of 1.5 million DVDs of <I>The Matrix</I>, generating $23.4 million in revenues and establishing yet another benchmark in DVD's market acceptance. Setting another industry record, <I>The Matrix</I>, released on DVD September 21, generated sales to consumers of approximately 780,000, or 52% of the shipment totals mentioned above, making it the most successful DVD in first-week sales. According to VideoScan, first-week consumer sales of <I>The Matrix</I> on DVD were three times greater than the next-highest-selling title to date.

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Blockbuster to Go Full Throttle with DVD

DVD is finally getting the endorsement it deserves. On Monday, September 27, <A HREF="http://www.blockbuster.com/video">Blockbuster Video</A> announced an aggressive plan to bring the format to 3800 domestic rental locations and 1000 foreign stores by the end of the year. DVDs currently enjoy shelf space in only 900 of Blockbuster's 6600 outlets.

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Latest CEMA Research Shows Strong Interest in DTV

Digital television (DTV) sales to dealers exceeded 50,000 units at the end of August, according to figures released last week by the <A HREF="http://www.cemacity.org/">Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association</A> (CEMA). At CEMA's recent DTV Summit, the organization's fifth, CEMA president Gary Shapiro stated that "DTV is moving forward at a promising pace, and we expect continued success in the third and fourth quarters."

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Progressive-Scan DVD Players Debut at CEDIA

As most home-theater fans know, DVD, the format, arrived ahead of digital television. Despite the fact that video is encoded on a DVD as 480 lines of progressive-scan MPEG-2, the first generations of DVD players put out signals in 525 interlaced lines, otherwise known as NTSC "legacy video." Converter circuitry inside the players makes MPEG-2 video back-compatible with existing TVs. Until recently, it was primarily consumers with DVD-ROM drives in their computers who could enjoy the full benefits of progressive-scan video.

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TiVo Hits Jackpot with Stock Offering

Think there's a huge market for personal video recorders, or PVRs? So does Wall Street. On September 30, <A HREF="http://www.tivo.com/">TiVo Inc.</A>, the Sunnyvale, California-based maker of hard-disk time-shifters, earned more than $88 million with an initial public stock offering. TiVo shares rose from an opening price of $13.94 to $29.94 each in the first day of trading, a gain of 87%. A total of 5.5 million shares were sold at $16 each.

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Actor George C. Scott Dead at 71

Actor George C. Scott was found dead at his home in Westlake Village, California, on Wednesday, September 22. Medical examiner Dr. Janice Frank said the 71-year-old film star died of an abdominal hemorrhage. Scott had been in ill health in recent years; Frank characterized his demise as "a natural death."

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CBS Pushes HDTV with Fall Schedule

By the first day of November, more than half the nation's television viewers&mdash;those within reach of the <A HREF="http://www.cbs.com/">Columbia Broadcasting System</A>'s 40 major stations&mdash;will be in the "footprint" of HDTV broadcasting from CBS. The network has announced an ambitious production schedule for the fall season that includes at least 12 hours of prime-time HDTV programming each week.

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