AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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Barry Willis Posted: Apr 09, 2000 0 comments

The <A HREF="http://www.bbc.co.uk/">British Broadcasting Corporation</A> is creating a new film division that will develop projects with American producers and distributors for theatrical release in the US and elsewhere in the world, according to an official announcement made April 4 in London. The new division is part of a corporate restructuring that will free up $318.5 million annually for dramatic programming, according to the BBC's new director general, Greg Dyke.

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Posted: Apr 02, 2000 0 comments

The <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A> announced last week that factory-to-dealer sales of digital television (DTV) display devices reached their second-highest total ever this February, surpassing 22,000 units. The CEA claims that February's sales total of 22,844 units is second only to the December 1999 figures, and brings total sales since the introduction of DTV (in August 1998) to 178,254 units.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Apr 02, 2000 0 comments

DVD is recognized as a mainstream consumer format at this point, and several of the recent Oscar-winning and -nominated films are already available for purchase in the digital format, with the majority of the others on their way.

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Barry Willis Posted: Apr 02, 2000 0 comments

Divx, Circuit City's pay-per-view DVD format, may be dead, but DivX, a new video-copying phenomenon, is alive and well. The hacker-developed technology is said to allow copying and transmission of "high-quality pictures" over the Internet in much the way MP3 audio files can be shared by music fans. With DivX and a broadband connection, a full-length film can be downloaded in a few hours and stored on a recordable CD, according to several reports in late March.

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Michael Metzger Posted: Apr 02, 2000 0 comments

C. <I>Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Diane Lane, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, Leif Garrett, Tom Waits. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Aspect ratios: 2.35:1 (widescreen), 4:3 (full-frame). Dolby Digital 5.1. 91 minutes. 1983. Warner Bros. 11310. PG. $24.95.</I>

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Posted: Apr 02, 2000 0 comments

High-quality bi-directional video is on its way from <A HREF="http://www.lucent.com/">Lucent Technologies</A>. The company has announced a new venture, called GeoVideo Networks Inc., that will deliver what Lucent is calling "HDTV-quality" video over the Internet. Entertainment&mdash;including video-on-demand&mdash; is part of the intended package, but Lucent is emphasizing the medical, financial, and business-to-business applications of the broadband fiber network. The announcement was made March 29 at Lucent's Murray Hill, New Jersey headquarters.

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Barry Willis Posted: Apr 02, 2000 0 comments

First Sony made the PlayStation 2, a $370 "gaming console." Then users discovered that it could play Digital Versatile Discs from all regions, a clear violation of DVD Forum engineering specifications intended to accommodate the entertainment industry's longstanding policy of releasing films on video at different times in different parts of the world&mdash;after they've run in commercial theaters. Shortly thereafter, users also found that they could make perfect videotape <A HREF="htpp://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?680">copies</A> of DVDs via the RGB outputs on the machine, thereby circumventing Macrovision, the copy-prevention technique built into the DVD format. Seems the PlayStation 2 was a two-front nightmare for the film business.

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 26, 2000 0 comments

Fear that its programming will be given short shrift by the combined might of America Online and Time Warner has led the <A HREF="http://www.disney.com/">Walt Disney Company</A> to lobby US lawmakers about the media giants' impending merger. Disney has made quiet but persistent efforts to influence legislators who must approve the merger, according to several reports appearing in late March.

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Posted: Mar 26, 2000 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.chips.ibm.com">IBM</A> announced a family of chips that it hopes will accelerate the transformation of TV sets into fully interactive, two-way information appliances. IBM says it is combining high-speed PowerPC processors and other television set-top box (STB) components onto a single "system-on-a-chip" that will give STB makers "significant benefits in system performance, price, and design." IBM claims that the chips will also help drive new capabilities for electronic program guides, Web browsing, and interactive applications such as home banking, e-commerce, and information retrieval.

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Posted: Mar 26, 2000 0 comments

February's manufacturer-to-dealer shipments of video products were up 22% over the same period last year, according to figures released March 17 by the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org/">Consumer Electronics Association</A>. Every segment of the video market showed strong growth, including analog direct-view televisions, which were up by 8%, with 2.9 million units shipped.

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Posted: Mar 26, 2000 0 comments

Affordable set-top boxes for the reception of digital television signals from Direct Broadcast Satellites are popping up like spring flowers. At prices from under $250 to about $400, the STBs (set-top boxes) offer a lot of bang for the buck.

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 26, 2000 0 comments

The cat has really gotten out of the bag with Sony's new Playstation 2. In mid-March, we <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?672">reported</A> that the machine can play Digital Versatile Discs from all regions, reinforcing one of the film industry's biggest fears: that the new format will circumvent carefully orchestrated release dates. Now it appears that the machine can do more.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Mar 26, 2000 0 comments

The Linux operating-system movement appeared to have taken a leap forward last week with the announcement of <A HREF="http://indrema.com">Indrema</A>, a new consumer-electronics company specializing in open-source digital products for home entertainment. Using the Linux operating system, enhanced by a set of open-source multimedia standards such as the Direct Rendering Infrastructure, the new OpenStream video architecture, and Mesa 3D compatible graphics components, Indrema says it plans to "turn the consumer-electronics industry on its head."

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Posted: Mar 19, 2000 0 comments

Major sports events and digital television are made for each other. This year's annual <A HREF="http://www.ncaa.org/">National Collegiate Athletic Association</A> men's college basketball tournament will present broadcasters and electronics dealers an unprecedented opportunity to show the public what DTV is all about.

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Posted: Mar 19, 2000 0 comments

While many cable TV systems serving large metropolitan areas offer advanced video, data, and voice service over their cable TV lines, that's not often been the case in small towns and rural areas. In fact, according to the latest report by <A HREF="http://www.instat.com">Cahners In-Stat Group</A>, most cable operators in small- to medium-sized markets will not offer comparable services for the foreseeable future.

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