Comcast and MediaOne Soon to be One
Eventually, a few multinational conglomerates will own 90% of the world's businesses. Case in point: Cable companies <A HREF="http://www.comcast.com/">Comcast</A> and <A HREF="http://www.mediaone.com/">MediaOne</A>, already among the largest in their field, made a move in that direction last week when they announced a merger valued at between $53 and $60 billion. Comcast will acquire MediaOne, described by the <A HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/"><I>New York Times</I></A> as "the sole surviving independent cable company." The resulting company will be the nation's third largest.
2001: A Space Odyssey: Where the Silences Deafen
K<I>eir Dullea, William Sylvester, Gary Lockwood, Daniel Richter, Daniel Rain as the voice of HAL. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Aspect ratio: N/A widescreen. 5.1-channel Dolby Digital. Two layers. 139 minutes. 1968. MGM Home Entertainment 906309. Not rated. $29.95.</I>
Animetronic Fuses Japanese Animation and Electronic Music
Last week, <A HREF="http://www.platinument.com/">Platinum Entertainment</A> and <A HREF="http://www.pioneer-ent.com/">Pioneer Entertainment</A> announced plans to jointly develop and create <I>Animetronic</I>, a series of multiple-format music and video releases that combine Japanese animation with original, new electronic-music compositions. Terms of the partnership were finalized at the Winter Music Conference in Miami by Steve Devick, Platinum president and CEO, and Yosuke "James" Kobayashi, president of Pioneer Entertainment.
Congressional Bill Threatens Satellite Viewers
The legal wrangling over television broadcasting got much more complicated last week with the introduction of a bill to the US House of Representatives that would allow direct broadcast satellite (DBS) services to beam local TV stations' signals into the stations' own territories. The practice is currently banned by <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov">Federal Communications Commission</A> regulations, despite the fact that cable companies have carried local signals since the beginning of the cable industry.
Networks, DirecTV Settle Turf War---For Now
Lucasfilm Combats Star Wars Infringements
S<I>tar Wars</I> is with us as much today as it was 22 years ago, when the first film of the series was released. In fact, it has been around so long that it seems an inherent part of popular culture, like <I>Huckleberry Finn</I>---in the public domain, free for anyone to use as they wish. George Lucas, creator of the blockbuster film and its two sequels, has long looked the other way regarding possible copyright infringements. Fanzines, fantasy periodicals, and filmed spoofs have elaborated on <I>Star Wars</I> characters and story lines for two decades without fear.
Seven Samurai Done Justice on DVD
T<I>oshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Ko Kimura. Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Aspect ratio: 4:3. Monaural (Japanese with English subtitles). Two layers. 203 minutes. 1954. Criterion Collection #2. Not Rated. 39.95.</I>
Warner Bros. and MGM Negotiate Early Termination of Video-Distribution Agreement
In an effort to regain full control of its video library worldwide, <A HREF=http://www.mgm.com">Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer</A> announced last week that it has entered into an agreement with <A HREF="http://www.warnerbros.com">Warner Bros.</A> for an early termination of its existing video-distribution agreement with Warner Home Video. The original agreement with WHV was to end in May 2003.
Pro BB: Trail Blazers Defeat Timberwolves in HDTV
The Oregon Trail Blazers of the National Basketball League lived up to their name in more ways than one on Friday, March 5, when they teamed up with <A HREF="http://www.unitymotion.com/">Unity Motion</A> and Oregon Public Broadcasting for the West Coast's first-ever professional basketball game in HDTV. Oregon PBS has the only functional HDTV system in the state.
Audio/Video Hard-Disk Technology Announced for HDTV Applications