Enron and Blockbuster Launch Entertainment On-Demand Service

It has repeatedly been predicted that video rental stores are heading for the graveyard, most recently with the advent of small satellite services and online rental competitors such as Netflix. The latest foe that, pundits claim, is likely to deal the fatal blow to rental stores is video-on-demand over high-speed networks.

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The Swiss Army Knife of TV Tuners?

In an effort to simplify the mess that the 500-channel TV universe has become, <A HREF="%20http://www.panasonic.com">Panasonic</A> announced last week the shipment of its new DirecTV-enabled HDTV receiver to retailers. In addition to receiving and decoding both DirectTV and DirecTV HD satellite transmissions, the TU-HDS20 is a DTV-ready multiple-format tuner capable of receiving all 18 ATSC digital television broadcast formats as well as current analog (NTSC) signals.

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Sony Flatscreen Monitors Offer Multiple Viewing Angles

Improvement wrought by Sony and other manufacturers is bringing flatscreen monitors into territory they weren't originally intended to serve. First developed for commercial signage and public information display, flatscreen monitors---especially the type known as plasma display panels (PDPs)---have seen huge advances in contrast ratio and reduction of motion artifacts, to such an extent that they can be seriously considered by even hard-to-please home theater fans.
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Meridian 596 Pushes CD/DVD Performance Envelope

As former Chrysler chairman Lee Iococca used to say in the television ads, some companies lead and others follow. British manufacturer Meridian Audio Limited is one that has always lead in the effort to squeeze the most out of any given digital entertainment format.
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Accusonic MDB1000: Space-saving Workhorse

Modular multichannel amplifiers solve plenty of problems for home theater fans: freeing floor space tops among them. An interesting new offering in this product category is the MDB1000 from Pennsylvania's Accusonic. A "Class H" amplifier weighing 60 lbs., the MDB1000 puts out 200 watts/8 ohms x 5 channels, ideal for almost all traditional surround sound systems.
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Would You Like a Little DTV With Your Phone Service Or Vice Versa?

A new report released by analyst and consulting company <A HREF="http://www.ovum.com">Ovum</A> suggests that, as digital television opens new frontiers, competition between telecommunications giants and the TV industry will increase rapidly. Ovum also predicts that digital television connections will grow from 62 million in 2001 to 350 million in 2006, creating numerous opportunities for companies throughout the new media sector.

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EchoStar Introduces Analog/Digital Tuner Cartridge for HDTV

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.dishnetwork.com">EchoStar Communications</A> announced the availability of its optional 8VSB tuner cartridge, which enables customers who have the Dish Network Model 6000 satellite television receiver to receive off-air analog and digital broadcasts such as those in the High Definition Television (HDTV) format, where available. EC says that the cartridge is now available at participating Dish Network retailers for a introductory price of $100. After Jan. 1 the cartridge will be available for $149.

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I'm Losing You Gets Second Chance On DVD

R<I>osanna Arquette, Amanda Donohoe, Gina Gershon, Buck Henry, Salome Jens, Frank Langella, Andrew McCarthy, Elizabeth Perkins. Directed by Bruce Wagner. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (letterbox). Dolby Digital 5.1. 103 minutes. 1998. Sterling Home Entertainment 7325. NR. $24.95.</I>

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No Green Light for Hollywood in DVD Copy Suit

The film industry's yearlong pursuit of DVD hackers has hit a roadblock. On Thursday, December 14, the California Supreme Court issued an order that may result in the dismissal of charges against several defendants accused of promulgating a DVD decryption code known as DeCSS. Developed last year by a 16-year-old Norwegian computer hobbyist to allow DVDs to play on Linux-based PCs, the code also defeats copy prptection. CSS (copy scrambling system) is built into DVD movies and software to prevent illegal copying.

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NetFlix Signs Revenue-sharing Pacts with Warner, Columbia

In a deal said to be the first of its kind, online DVD rental service <A HREF="http://www.netflix.com/">NetFlix</A> has entered revenue-sharing agreements with Columbia Tristar and Warner Home Video. The agreement, announced December 7, will allow NetFlix to buy movies in larger quantities and at deeper discounts than previously. NetFlix is the first DVD Internet dealer to have a revenue sharing agreement with major motion picture distributors.

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