Sharp Ups the Ante with $50k LCD Rear Projector
The video-display war got a lot hotter on December 3. That day, <A HREF="http://www.sharp-usa.com/">Sharp Electronics</A> debuted its SharpVision LC-R60HDU CG-Silicon rear projector, the first such display to incorporate the company's revolutionary continuous-grain silicon (CG-Silicon) LCD technology. The 60"-diagonal display has more than 3.93 million pixels, and is said to offer unprecedented brightness, clarity, and color accuracy from any viewing angle. Perfection doesn't come cheap, however. The new projector costs a cool $50k.
A New Era in Television?
A recently released study has found that the high price of digital television sets, high capital investment costs, lack of advertising support, and scant offerings from broadcasters have restrained the penetration of digital television since its rollout in November 1998. But the report concludes that "despite its anti-climactic beginning, digital television still represents an important and potentially lucrative market in the consumer television industry."
DirecTV Gives Thumbs Up to Satellite Home Viewer Act
The Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999, <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?575">recently passed</A> by Congress and expected to be signed into law by President Clinton, will usher in a new level of competition to the television broadcasting industry—and a new era of service for viewers, according to direct-broadcast satellite service <A HREF="http://www.directv.com/">DirecTV</A>. The bill allows DBS companies to provide signals from local TV stations, just as cable companies have always done.
Pioneer Planning to Release DVD Recorder
Last week, <A HREF="http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/">Pioneer</A> announced that next year it will be the first to offer DVD recorder/players and recordable DVDs to consumers in North America and Europe. According to Pioneer, the new machines will allow recording times of up to six hours, indicating that the recorder will compress the video beyond the MPEG-2 compression found on commercially released DVDs.
DreamWorks to Float Huge Loan with Investors
Want to own a piece of the studio that produced <I>Saving Private Ryan</I>? If you're a big player, you may soon have a chance to do so—through your broker. <A HREF="http://www.dreamworks.com/">DreamWorks SKG</A>, the entertainment combine founded by Stephen Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen, wants to raise $525 million through the sale of debt securities. The infusion of cash will be used to refinance old debts as well as to fund new productions, and will be repaid by worldwide box-office receipts, and video revenues from movies already in inventory or as yet unmade.
CEA: DVD Hottest Product in History
Rockets launched into space move slowly at liftoff, but with thrust continually applied, they gain momentum until they break free of Earth's gravity. The Digital Versatile Disc has done something similar, according to the latest figures from the <A HREF="http://www.cemacity.org/">Consumer Electronics Association</A>: As of November 23, the DVD is the hottest-selling consumer-electronics product in history.
Five Classics Newly Released on DVD Deal with the Struggle of War
A<B>ll Quiet on the Western Front</B> (DVD)<BR><I>Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Slim Summerville, William Bakewell. Directed by Lewis Milestone. Aspect ratio: 1.33:1. Dolby Digital mono. B&W. 130 minutes. 1930. Universal 20510. NR. $24.98.</I>
The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl Makes a Fascinating DVD
L<I>eni Riefenstahl. Directed by Ray Müller. Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 (full-screen). Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono). 188 minutes. 1993. Kino Video/Image Entertainment K107. Not rated. $34.99.</I>
First-of-Its-Kind Digital Camera System Tested
CEA Urges FCC to Shun Sinclair Request
All was going reasonably well with HDTV until recently, when <A HREF="http://www.sbgi.com">Sinclair Broadcasting Company</A>, which owns several TV stations around the US, threw the FCC a curveball by claiming that the adopted 8-VSB standard was insufficient to roll HDTV out around the country. Sinclair had conducted tests which, it said, proved that the COFDM technology, favored by European and Asian broadcasters, would be a better choice. (See <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?553">previous report</A>.)