The Latest HDTV News

If the early numbers are any indication, HDTV will have plenty of support from the broadcast/production end of the media business. According to a recent survey conducted by <A HREF="http://www.scri.com">SCRI International, Inc.</A>, more than 40% of broadcast and production facilities around the world have already purchased and/or expect to purchase HDTV production/broadcast equipment by the year 2000.

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Thomson Signs Net TV Development Deal

On July 30, Thomson Multimedia announced a five-way agreement with a consortium of high-tech companies to produce its next generation of interactive TV software and hardware. <A HREF="http://microsoft.com/">Microsoft</A>, <A HREF="http://www.nec.co.jp/">NEC of Japan</A>, <A HREF="http://www.directv.com/">DirecTV</A>, and <A HREF="http://www.alcatel.com/">Alcatel SA</A> of France will each take a 7.5% stake in the company to start the new venture. The nation of France, which owns parent company Thomson SA, will hold the remaining 70% of Thomson stock.

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Web Growing as Movie Marketing Medium

The Internet is "more than a marketing medium---it's a revenue stream," says <A HREF="http://www.newlinecinema.com/">New Line Cinema</A>'s Gordon Paddison, one of a growing army of Hollywood promoters who are using the Internet to build interest in current films as well as those that are about to be released. Paddison has run several promotions on <A HREF="http://www.yahoo.com/">Yahoo.com</A> that have lured thousands of customers into theaters to redeem coupons available only on the Web.

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New Report Outlines the Future of DTV

For businesses wanting to learn more about the digital TV future, a new report from <A HREF="http://www.phillips.com">Phillips Business Information</A> (not to be confused with Philips Electronics) is stuffed full of juicy information. The report, entitled <A HREF="http://www.phillips.com/PhillipsUK/dtvsummary.htm"><I>Digital Television Broadcasting</I></A>, predicts that DTV "is likely to involve a profound transformation in the consumer's use of the TV set, changing him from a passive receiver of a small number of scheduled programs to an active chooser from a massive range of programming and services, many increasingly available on demand."

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The Doors Released on DVD

V<I>al Kilmer, Meg Ryan, Kyle MacLachlan, Kevin Dillon, Frank Whaley, Kathleen Quinlan. Directed by Oliver Stone. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (letterbox). Dolby Digital 5.1. 135 minutes. 1991. Live Entertainment 60451. Rated R. $29.95.</I>

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Local TV No Big Attraction for Satellite, Cable Customers, Studies Find

The lack of local programming has long been perceived as an obstacle to the growth of Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) television. However, this assumption might be in error, according to two studies recently conducted by the <A HREF="http://www.strategisgroup.com/">Strategis Group</A>, a communications marketing research organization with offices in Washington DC, London, and Singapore.

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Is There a Laser Projector in Your Future?

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.mvis.com/">Microvision, Inc.</A> announced that it has successfully conducted its first demonstrations of a laser-projection television display. The company claims that the full-color 17" image projected by the prototype system has the resolution of a VGA computer monitor and provides full-motion video. With additional development, the company plans to increase the size of the projected image and improve the resolution to extremely high levels that "exceed high-definition television (HDTV)." Prototypes are planned to be unveiled later this year.

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Broadcasters Protest More Powerful V-Chip

In March, the <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov">Federal Communications Commission</A> adopted new technical standards for so-called "V-chips"---programmable controllers that selectively block programs containing excessive violence, profanity, or sex. The regulations passed with congressional and presidential approval and were heralded as an empowering solution for working parents unable to supervise their children's viewing habits. A voluntary ratings system codes each program for objectionable material, and that code is transmitted with the program. Owners of V-chip-equipped receivers will be able to lock out any broadcast they deem unsuitable.

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Can the Beatles Really Do No Wrong?

T<I>he Beatles: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr. Directed by Richard Lester (</I>A Hard Day's Night<I>, </I>Help!<I>), The Beatles (</I>Magical Mystery Tour<I>). Aspect ratios: 4:3 pan&scan (</I>A Hard Day's Night<I>, </I>Help!<i>); 4:3 (</I>Magical Mystery Tour<I>). Dolby Digital Stereo. 90 minutes, 90 minutes, 50 minutes. 1964, 1965, 1967. MPI DVD 7082, 7081, 1538. Not rated. $24.95 each.</I>

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Report Outlines the Winners in the Switch to Digital Television

Bringing digital television to your home is not going to be cheap. And it's not only consumers who are going to have to pony up. Broadcasters and their distribution partners, whether cable or satellite, will be investing heavily in new digital technology that will require major upgrades to existing networks. But if someone's got to pay, then someone else will certainly benefit.

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