AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 14, 1999 0 comments

What's an American industrial icon worth? Try 200 million bucks. That's what <A HREF="http://www.lgeus.com/">LG Electronics</A> paid when it acquired <A HREF="http://www.zenith.com/">Zenith</A> in a bankruptcy settlement completed November 8 in a Federal court in Glenview, Illinois. As Zenith's largest creditor, LG electronics agreed to accept 100% of Zenith's assets in exchange for $200 million in claims against the former consumer-electronics giant.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Nov 14, 1999 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.disney.com">The Walt Disney Company</A> and <A HREF="http://www.ti.com/dlp">Texas Instruments</A> announced that DLP Cinema technology will be featured in an all-digital showing of Disney/Pixar's new computer-animated film, <I>Toy Story 2</I>, at six locations in North America. According to the companies, <I>Toy Story 2</I> will be the first major studio feature to be released simultaneously in both digital and traditional film formats.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Nov 07, 1999 0 comments

Here's proof that the early adopter plays a dangerous game: Less than a year after the official release of their hard-disk-based video recording system, <A HREF="http://www.replaytv.com">RePlay Networks</A> announced last week that it is releasing a major upgrade to its system. RePlay says the new device, named the RePlayTV 2020, is a personal video recorder with twice as much storage capacity as the company's current best-selling model, and&mdash;here's the part that tweaks early adopters&mdash;at no increase in price: 20 hours of storage for $699.

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Shannon Gee Posted: Nov 07, 1999 0 comments

B<I>ill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts. Directed by Ivan Reitman. Aspect ratio: 2:35:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 5.1. 107 minutes. 1984. Columbia/TriStar COL04139DVD. PG. $29.98</I>

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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 07, 1999 0 comments

The world's largest Internet service provider is teaming up with the world's largest video rental chain to deliver movies and as-yet-unspecified content over broadband connections. <A HREF="http://www.aol.com/">America Online</A> is pumping $30 million into a three-year joint venture with <A HREF="http://www.blockbuster.com/">Blockbuster Video</A>, with the intent of leveraging the two companies' huge customer bases for mutual benefit. AOL members will have access to Blockbuster's enormous library of discs and tapes, and Blockbuster will promote AOL by giving away CD-ROMs of AOL version 5.0 at its more than 4000 outlets in the US.

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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 07, 1999 0 comments

Hackers have succeeded in defeating the Digital Versatile Disc's copy-protection encryption, according to several reports that popped up in late October and early November. Source code for decrypting entire movies is now circulating on the Internet, and an underground trade in illicit copies has arisen.

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Posted: Nov 07, 1999 0 comments

In recent months, <A HREF="http://www.plasmavision.com">Fujitsu</A> has steadily lowered the prices for its groundbreaking 42" plasma display (see <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?450">previous story</A>), while steadily improving the basic design's performance. Last week, the company announced that the newest models will be jumping back up in price with the latest additions to their Plasmavision product line, the PDS4221 and PDS4222. These two new models increase the number of current Plasmavision offerings to seven.

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Posted: Oct 31, 1999 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.ti.com/dlp">Texas Instruments</A> announced that its Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology has received the "Golden Note" award from <A HREF="http://www.avacademy.com">The Academy for Advancing High Performance Audio & Video</A>. The award recognizes DLP as "The Most Innovative Video Technology," and was received at the Academy's Award Banquet at the Indianapolis Westin Hotel.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Oct 31, 1999 0 comments

Is the world ready for interactive television? The <A HREF="http://www.pbs.org">Public Broadcasting Service</A> (PBS) apparently thinks so. Last week PBS, along with several of its member stations, LG Electronics, and <A HREF="http://www.lgerca.com">LG Electronics Research Center of America</A> (LGERCA), began demonstrating "enhanced digital television and data broadcasting" to their viewers as part of PBS Digital Week 2.0.

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Posted: Oct 31, 1999 0 comments

One of Silicon Valley's most aggressive semiconductor companies has surrendered to the siren song of merger and acquisition. On October 27, Milpitas, California-based <A HREF="http://www.c-cube.com/">C-Cube Microsystems</A> announced that it has entered into an agreement to combine its <A HREF="http://www.divi.com/">DiviCom</A> digital television subsidiary with <A HREF="http://www.harmonicinc.com/">Harmonic</A>, a Sunnyvale designer and maker of digital and fiber-optic systems that deliver video, voice, and data via cable, satellite, telephone lines, and wireless networks. DiviCom products enable digital video broadcasting over the same variety of networks. Blending the two companies may be a good fit for the coming age of digital TV and Internet-based "infotainment."

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Barry Willis Posted: Oct 31, 1999 0 comments

Put <A HREF="http://www.dreamworks.com/">DreamWorks SKG</A> and Imagine Entertainment together and what do you have? <A HREF="http://www.pop.com/">POP.com</A>, a joint effort by the two of the film industry's most innovative and highly regarded companies. On Monday, October 25, film director Steven Spielberg (<I>Saving Private Ryan</I>), actor/producer/director Ron Howard (<I>Apollo 13</I>), and their associates announced a new joint venture to bring professionally produced short videos to the Internet. The videos will incorporate both live action and animation, with an emphasis on comedy.

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Barry Willis Posted: Oct 24, 1999 0 comments

Unheard by the general public, a debate has been raging in engineering circles about the <A HREF="http://www.atsc.org/">Advanced Television Standards Committee</A>'s transmission protocol for high-definition TV. Mandated by the <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A>, the standard, known as 8-VSB (trellis-coded 8-level vestigial sideband), has come under fire from several directions, most notably from <A HREF="http://www.sbgi.com/">Sinclair Broadcasting</A>, which has called for an overhaul of the standard after a series of DTV reception tests in the Philadelphia area.

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Posted: Oct 24, 1999 0 comments

Wading into the recently erupted battle over the future of HDTV (see <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?553">related article</A>), the <A HREF="http://www.CEMAcity.org">Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association</A> (CEMA) filed a Motion for Immediate Dismissal with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week in response to a proposal submitted earlier by Sinclair Broadcasting. CEMA claims its Motion (available for reading on its <A HREF="http://www.CEMAcity.org">website</A>) is aimed at urging the Commission to avoid a "costly, dead-end path of reopening the digital television (DTV) standard approved in 1996."

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Jon Iverson Posted: Oct 24, 1999 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.sony.com/displaysystems">Sony Electronics</A> announced that its newest 16:9 flat-panel plasma display, the PFM-510A1WU high-resolution 42" (viewable area, measured diagonally) monitor, is now available. Sony claims that the new monitor, originally debuted at NAB in April 1999, is one of the first on the market to offer over 1,000,000 pixel capability in a plasma display, and is capable of handling high-definition video signals.

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Barry Willis Posted: Oct 24, 1999 0 comments

The world's number-one video rental business will join the Internet gold rush early next year. <A HREF="http://www.blockbuster.com/">Blockbuster Video</A> announced October 20 that it will relaunch its website in November with sales of new and used VHS tapes and DVDs. Video rentals will be available online sometime in the second quarter of next year, company executives said.

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