Italian Researcher Claims High-Frequency Displays Reduce Seizures

According to Italian researchers, seizures caused by flashing video games and television shows can be minimized by using higher-frequency display rates. Such seizures affect about 10% of epilepsy sufferers between the ages of 7 and 19. In December, <I>Pokomon</I>, a popular Japanese television show with brightly flashing scenes, induced blackouts and epileptic seizures in more than 700 young victims, many of whom required hospitalization.

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Scents Enhance Realism of Home Theater Experience

Widescreen pictures and 5.1-channel audio will soon be accompanied by stenches, scents, fragrances, and aromas. Parfum Recherche SA, a Paris-based olfactory research firm, has announced a partnership with Snout & Proboscis Development Corp. of Santa Clara, California, to license its scent-encoding and -decoding technology to film studios and home-theater hardware makers worldwide. S&P's new chip division will be known as Scentronics.

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Ino Technologies Announces New TVPC with DVD for $799

On March 17, <A HREF="http://www.tvpc.com">Ino Technologies</A> of Austin, Texas announced that, for only $799, its new TVPC with DVD has "cracked the code" of the long-elusive home-convergence device. Otherwise known as the "Living Room PC," the TVPC connects directly to a regular television; unlike other so-called living-room devices, TVPC comes complete with a full-function remote keyboard, a hand-held remote, and a DVD drive.

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Demonstration of DVD+RW Drives at CeBIT Ignites the Latest Format Wars

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.hewlett-packard.com">Hewlett-Packard</A>, <A HREF="http://www.mitsubishi.com">Mitsubishi</A>, <A HREF="http://www.philips.com">Philips</A>, <A HREF="http://www.ricoh.com">Ricoh</A>, <A HREF="http://www.sony.com">Sony</A>, and <A HREF="http://www.yamaha.com">Yamaha</A> demonstrated the read and write capabilities of a prototype DVD-ReWritable (DVD+RW) drive at CeBIT '98. This was the first public demonstration of the write capabilities of the DVD+RW format, which has sparked controversy in recordable DVD circles. Product prototypes based on the DVD+RW specification are expected to reach US markets by this fall.

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The Path Ahead for HDTV and DTV

Predicted by an industry announcement last week: Widescreen digital televisions with theater-quality pictures and sound are on track for delivery by the end of the year. They'll be backed with new high-definition broadcasts in the fall, according to Sarnoff Corporation.

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Dolby Labs Acquires New Building in Downtown San Francisco

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.dolby.com">Dolby Laboratories</A> won a bidding war for a four-storey office building near its Potrero Hill headquarters in downtown San Francisco. Dolby president Bill Jasper plunked down $18.25 million in cashier's checks for the glass-block building, which had fallen into bankruptcy after it had been used as a diamond-cutting and distribution center linked to both the De Beers cartel and the Russian government.

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Advice on How to Deal with Mother

A<I>lbert Brooks, Debbie Reynolds, Rob Morrow. Directed by Albert Brooks. Aspect ratio: 1:85:1. Dolby Surround. Two Sides. 104 minutes. 1996. Pioneer Entertainment LV 332473-W. Rated PG-13. $39.95.</I>

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Congressional Subcommittee Declares War on VCRs and PCs

Recently, <A HREF="http://www.hrrc.org">The Home Recording Rights Coalition</A> (HRRC) sounded an alert to consumers and all other users of home VCRs and personal computers. In passing legislation to implement copyright treaties, a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee rejected an amendment that would have preserved consumers' rights to buy and use digital VCRs and PCs capable of making home recordings.

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CableLabs Specifies FireWire for OpenCable Digital Set-Top Boxes

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.cablelabs.com">Cable Television Laboratories, Inc.</A> specified an existing high-speed serial protocol called IEEE 1394 (also known as FireWire) as the link between OpenCable digital set-top boxes and devices such as television sets and DVD players. <A HREF="http://www.opencable.com">OpenCable</A> is a CableLabs-sponsored initiative aimed at developing key interface specifications in order to foster interoperability among digital set-top boxes built by multiple vendors and used in broadband, two-way cable networks.

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Best February Video Sales Ever Recorded

According to the latest <A HREF="http://www.cema.org">Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association</A> (CEMA) statistics, released March 16, overall video-product sales had their best showing ever for the first eight weeks of a calendar year, with sales up 7%, to 6 million units. Video products also enjoyed their best February performance ever, with overall sales up 7%, to 3.2 million units. Leading an impressive set of video-hardware sales, large-screen and projection TVs were up 8% and 14%, respectively, in the year to date for 1998.

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