BBC Pondering Giveaway of Digital STBs

In retail, they are called "loss leaders"&mdash;promotional items used as lures to generate more business. The <A HREF="http://www.bbc.co.uk/">British Broadcasting Corporation</A> is considering giving away digital set-top boxes to subscribers as "seed" to help develop interest in digital television, according to public comments made February 8 by the organization's director general Greg Dyke.

Consumer Plasma TVs To Drop In Size

Last week, <A HREF="http://global.hitachi.com">Hitachi</A> announced that, on April 10, it will release what it describes as the world's first 32-inch HDTV plasma TV, the W32-PD2100. The company says that this will be followed by the release of a second version of the set with a built-in BS (Broadcast Satellite) digital receiver on June 11. Both TVs will intitally be released in Japan. Hitachi says it is also planning to introduce a 37-inch HDTV plasma TV at a later date. Pricing for all models is to be announced.

Third World Cop: Jamaican Dirty Harry?

P<I>aul Campbell, Mark Danvers, Carl Bradshaw, Audrey Reid, Winston Bell, Lenford Salmon. Directed by Chris Browne. Aspect ratio: 4:3 (full-screen). Dolby Digital 5.1. 98 minutes. 1999. Palm Pictures 3023-2. R. $29.95.</I>

Video Sales for 2000 Ended Up, Up, Up

The latest holiday season numbers are now in, and the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A> (CEA) is reporting that manufacturer-to-dealer video products sales in December, 2000 grew by 15% over last year's figures, giving a total of more than 6.4 million units shipped, and culminating a year of strong growth. The CEA reports that total sales of video products in 2000 reached 67.8 million units, representing a 12% increase over total sales for 1999. The trade group adds that the year finished with sales increases in almost every category.

Valenti Pushing for Movie Copyright Legislation

Predicting a "collision" between film studios and expanding digital technology, Jack Valenti, president of the <A HREF="http://www.mpaa.org/">Motion Picture Association of America</A> (MPAA), has asked for Congressional help in beefing up copyright protection for his industry.

Philips Posts Big Loss for 2001

The year 2001 wasn't a good one for <A HREF="http://www.philips.com">Philips Electronics NV</A>. On February 8, the Dutch electronics giant reported a massive $2.26 billion (2.6 billion euros) loss for the year, blaming slowing demand for both finished consumer goods and raw semiconductors. Philips is one of the few companies with an equal presence in both markets.

Consumers Spent More Than Ever on Home Video in 2000

According to the numbers revealed by the <A HREF="http://vsda.org/">Video Software Dealers Association</A> (VSDA) last week, American consumers spent more than ever on home video in 2000, with rentals and sales of VHS and DVD hitting the $20 billion mark for the first time in home video's twenty-plus&ndash;year history. On the rental side of the video business, the VSDA reports that the total combined revenues of both DVD and VHS video formats rose 2.2% in 2000 over 1999. The "remarkably popular" new DVD video format made a major impact on this mark, says the not-for-profit trade group.

Replay TV, Sensory Science, Acquired by Sonicblue

A former graphics-chip manufacturer has been in a feeding frenzy lately, buying a stalled personal video recorder company and a relatively unknown specialty electronics maker. <A HREF="http://www.sonicblue.com/">Sonicblue, Inc</A>. has acquired <A HREF="http://www.replaytv.com/">ReplayTV, Inc.</A> and <A HREF="http://www.sensoryscience.com/">Sensory Science</A>, maker of dual-deck VCRs and combination DVD player/VCR units, and the distributor of Loewe television sets, a German-made high-end brand.

The Man Who Fell to Earth Still Misses the Mark on DVD

D<I>avid Bowie, Candy Clark, Rip Torn, Buck Henry. Directed by Nicholas Roeg. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (widescreen). Dolby Digital mono. 140 minutes. Fox Lorber FLV5039. R. $19.98.</I>

Independents Sue Blockbuster over "Illegal Practices"

Are bulk discounts and revenue sharing arrangements with suppliers illegal? A group of independent video dealers thinks so. The dealers have teamed up to sue <A HREF="http://www.blockbuster.com/">Blockbuster Video</A>, the industry's undisputed leader, over what they claim are "illegal practices" that they contend have caused many of their colleagues to go out of business.

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