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AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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Posted: Jul 04, 1999 0 comments

Last week, the <A HREF="http://www.cemacity.org">Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association</A> (CEMA) reported that sales of DVD players have reached 1 million units so far this year. CEMA also announced its revised projections for total DVD-player unit sales in 1999, raising the previous prediction of 1.8 million to 3 million.

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Barry Willis Posted: Jul 04, 1999 0 comments

As of June 27, <A HREF="http://www.disney.com/">Walt Disney Motion Picture Group</A> Chairman Richard Cook will add home video to his duty roster. A 28-year veteran with the Disney organization, Cook will supervise Buena Vista Home Entertainment, the studio's home-video operation. At the insistence of CEO Michael Eisner, Disney is restructuring in an attempt to become more profitable.

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Posted: Jul 04, 1999 0 comments

Twenty years ago, 60% of Americans said they would hesitate to see a movie if it were excessively violent. But according to an Associated Press poll released last week, a steady diet of action films over the last two decades have had a marked effect: Now, only 40% say that too much violence would keep them out of the theater.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jul 04, 1999 0 comments

While watching <I>Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me</I>, one can't help but notice the groovy car driven by Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham): a 1965 red-white-and-blue Corvette Stingray convertible. Wouldn't it be nice to have one of your own? And what about the silver suit worn by Doctor Evil---wouldn't it be cool to have the original for the ultimate Halloween costume this year?

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Barry Willis Posted: Jun 27, 1999 0 comments

One of every four film productions conceived and set in motion in the United States is now largely produced out of the country---the result of studio executives obsessed about extracting the highest possible profit at the lowest possible cost. About 23,500 entertainment-industry jobs and $2.8 billion worth of TV and movie projects were taken offshore or over the border last year, according to James Bates in the June 25 <A HREF="http://www.latimes.com/HOME/BUSINESS/UPDATES/RUNAWAY/lat_runaway990625.h... Angeles Times</I></A>. The phenomenon, known in Hollywood as "runaway" filmmaking, could ripple through the entire US economy with an effect of as much as $10 billion.

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Michael Metzger Posted: Jun 27, 1999 0 comments

D<I>avid Bennett, Angela Winkler, Mario Adorf, Katharina Thalbach, Daniel Olbrychski. Directed by Volker Schl&ouml;ndorff. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (letterbox). Dolby Digital 5.1. 142 minutes. 1979. Image Entertainment/Kino Video K104. Rated R. $39.99.</I>

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Barry Willis Posted: Jun 27, 1999 0 comments

Bad news always comes in threes, goes the old adage. This folk wisdom proved true in Hollywood in late June as three major film studios announced cutbacks, layoffs, reorganizations---and the possible cancellation of a massive studio-building project.

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Posted: Jun 27, 1999 0 comments

Last week, the DVD Forum announced that its Steering Committee has formally approved the physical format of the DVD-RAM discs for 4.7 gigabytes (GB) as version 2.0. The Format Book for version 2.0 (Physical Specifications) will be published in the third quarter of this year. The DVD Froum says that the 4.7GB DVD-RAM format will be compatible with the existing 2.6GB (v.1.0) DVD-RAM format, as well as with other DVD formats established by the DVD Forum. The new 4.7GB format is expected to impact both PC and audio/video applications.

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Barry Willis Posted: Jun 20, 1999 0 comments

Divx is gone. <A HREF="http://www.divx.com/">Digital Video Express</A>, the <A HREF="http://www.circuitcity.com/">Circuit City</A> subsidiary that launched the pay-per-view DVD format less than a year ago, announced on June 16 that it would cease operations. Blaming lack of support from film studios and retailers, Circuit City decided to bow out early rather than continue to fight a losing battle. "We regret that a lack of support from studios and other retailers will prohibit consumers from receiving the exceptional benefits of the Divx system," says W. Alan McCollough, president and chief operating officer of Circuit City Stores, Inc. A refund program for Divx buyers is underway, company officials stated.

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Posted: Jun 20, 1999 0 comments

According to a June 14 report on the <A HREF="mailto:owner-opendtv@pcube.com">OpenDTV news list</A>, <A HREF="http://sho.com/">Showtime Networks</A> will begin delivering original HDTV programming early next year. Concerts, movies, and sports will all be produced in either 1080i or 720p. Showtime has not yet decided which format will get the ultimate nod, but Mark Greenberg, executive vice president for corporate strategy and communications, says his company is leaning toward 1080i as offering the biggest bang for the buck. Also undecided is whether HDTV signals will be delivered over dedicated channels or will share bandwidth with existing services.

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Posted: Jun 20, 1999 0 comments

A plasma display's compact physical size, perfectly flat screen, and pixel-sharp picture answer many prayers for home-theater enthusiasts. There are a few downsides, however, including a lack of true blacks and prices equal to a new small car. But one of the biggest drawbacks so far is far too few pixels to properly present an HDTV image. To solve this problem, several manufacturers are creating larger displays with higher resolutions.

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Paula Nechak Posted: Jun 20, 1999 0 comments

H<I>olly Hunter, Danny DeVito, Queen Latifah, Martin Donovan. Directed by Richard LaGravenese. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (letterbox). Dolby Digital 5.1. 100 minutes. 1998. New Line Home Video N4726. Rated R. $24.95.</I>

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jun 20, 1999 0 comments

Every year, as summer sales for consumer-electronics products drag a little, manufacturers and retailers wonder which products will be the trend-setters in the upcoming holiday season. According to a report just released by <A HREF="http://www.idc.com">International Data Corporation</A> (IDC), the hot niche for 1999 will be a new product category: digital video recorders (DVRs) from companies like <A HREF="http://www.replaytv.com">RePlay Networks</A> and <A HREF="http://www.tivo.com">TiVo</A>.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jun 20, 1999 0 comments

I have seen the future, and it is digital. On June 18, cinematic history was made as <I>Star Wars: Episode 1---The Phantom Menace</I> became the first movie in the U.S. to be publicly screened from a digital source rather than a film print (see <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?430">related story</A>).

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Posted: Jun 13, 1999 0 comments

Last month, at HI-FI '99 in Chicago, Telarc's Bob Woods dismissed fears of a format war between the Super Audio Compact Disc---a format developed and promoted by Sony/Philips---and DVD-Audio. "Someone will make a universal player," he promised.

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