New Line Cinema Goes Interactive

Digital technology is changing everything—especially the marketing of entertainment. DVD-Audio has the music industry excited about interactive features like artists' bios, still pictures, and other as-yet unimagined marketing opportunities. Free MP3 audio files are being used by some music companies as promotional tools for new releases.

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Disney's Pinocchio to Arrive October 26

Fans of <A HREF="http://www.disney.com">Disney</A>'s animated films are about to finally get what they've been asking for this past year. Nine films are scheduled for release on DVD, starting October 26 with <I>Pinocchio</I>&mdash;which was also the studio's first animated classic to be released on video, back in 1985. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Disney's home-video division, will release the remaining eight features on DVD over the next four months as part of what the company calls a "once-in-a-millennium celebration."

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Panasonic Introduces Progressive-Scan 480p DVD Player

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.panasonic.com">Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company</A> announced that it will release its first progressive-scan DVD player this October. The company says that the DVD-H1000 will deliver 480p images directly to a progressive-scan display at a retail price of $2999.95. According to Panasonic, the unit will feature composite, S-video, and component-video outputs, standard L/R audio outs, and 6-channel and optical digital audio outputs.

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RePlay Rakes in $57 Million in Partnership Deal

Curiouser and curiouser. Wonderland's Alice would feel right at home in the topsy-turvy world of Silicon Valley, where companies never have to show a profit to make their founders wealthy, and where probable courtroom adversaries invest in each others' businesses. That's exactly what happened August 17 at <A HREF="http://www.replaytv.com/">RePlay Networks</A>, which received a whopping $57 million in financing from a group of investors including Time Warner Inc., The Walt Disney Co., Liberty Media Group, United Television Inc., Showtime Networks Inc., and a division of industrial giant Matsushita, whose Panasonic company makes one version of the RePlay hard-disk-based video recorder.

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Les Misérables in Concert: 10th Anniversary Gala Concert on DVD

C<I>olm Wilkinson, Lea Salonga, Ruthie Henshall, Philip Quast, Michael Maguire, Jenny Galloway. Directed by John Caird & Trevor Nunn. Aspect ratio: 1.33:1. Dolby Digital 2.0. 148 minutes. 1995. Columbia TriStar VCI 88709. NR. $24.95.</I>

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TV Copyright Coalition Pressures PVR Makers

Copyright hysteria is one of the entertainment industry's longest-running programs. Last week's episode featured an announcement by the recently formed Advanced Television Copyright Coalition (ATCC) that the group would exert legal pressure on <A HREF="http://www.tivo.com/">TiVo, Inc.</A>, and <A HREF="http://www.replaytv.com/">RePlay Networks, Inc.</A>, two Silicon Valley-based makers of personal video recorders (PVRs). These are hard-disk-based video recorders that allow users to easily shift viewing times and instantly zip past commercials if they wish. The machines' manufacturers will be asked to sign licensing agreements for the use of the group members' content.

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HDTV Editing Tools Big News at SIGGraph '99

Digital TV might have reached only a few couch potatoes so far, but it is the hot ticket for computer-graphics and video-editing professionals, who converged in Los Angeles last week for SIGGraph '99, the annual convention of the <A HREF="http://www.acm.org/">Association for Computer Machinery</A>'s <A HREF="http://www.siggraph.org/">Special Interest Group for Computer Graphics</A>. All-format editing and design software was among the most newsworthy items on the convention floor.

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PC Video or TV Computing?

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.net-tv.net">NetTV</A>, which markets progressive-scan digital televisions and set-top boxes with integrated DVD-ROM players, announced that the company's High-Resolution DVD and digital television will be showcased at the DVD PRO Conference & Exhibition, to be held later this week in San Francisco. NetTV claims it is building digital-entertainment systems that combine progressive-scan video with Dolby Digital 5.1-channel audio. The company's products include the ExtremeDVD digital entertainment set-top box and DTV Series digital televisions (29, 34, and 38 inches).

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Direct Broadcast Satellite Set-Top Box Market Full Steam Ahead

Recently, <A HREF="http://www.cahnersinstat.com">Cahners In-Stat Group</A> released their forecasts of annual growth rates for digital direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) systems, which they claim will be in excess of 10% through 2003. Shipments are expected to exceed 30 million units by that time.

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Vidikron Funding Confirmed

A<B>ugust 10</B><BR>Vidikron of America, Inc. has now announced that it has obtained a credit line to replace its obligation to PNC Bank. As previously announced, Vidikron reported that PNC Bank had exercised its right of setoff against the funds in accounts maintained at the Bank. Vidikron says that with its new funding in place, the Company is now in a position to satisfy its obligations and continue its operations.

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