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AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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Wes Phillips Posted: Jul 25, 1999 0 comments

M<I>uhammad Ali, George Foreman, James Brown, B.B. King, Norman Mailer, George Plimpton, Spike Lee, The Crusaders, The Spinners. Directed by Leon Gast. Aspect ratio: 16:9 enhanced widescreen, 1.33:1 pan&scan. Dolby Digital. 94 minutes. 1997. PolyGram 440 045 847-2. Rated PG. $29.99.</I>

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Posted: Jul 25, 1999 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.variety.com/"><I>Variety</I></A> reported that, in celebration of its 75th anniversary, MGM intends to re-release several James Bond classics spanning the last 37 years. The company says it will release 19 of its Bond films as special editions on DVD and VHS in three installments beginning on October 19 of this year, culminating with the DVD release of the newest Bond film, <I>The World is Not Enough</I>, by the end of 2000. The new film, staring Pierce Brosnan as Bond once again, is slated to hit theaters November 19, 1999, in time for the holiday season.

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Posted: Jul 18, 1999 0 comments

The <A HREF="http://www.dvb.org/">Digital Video Broadcasting Project</A> has adopted Dolby Digital as its multichannel audio standard. The DVB Project is a consortium of more than 240 organizations in over 30 countries devoted to establishing worldwide standards for digital broadcasting. Members include broadcasters, manufacturers, network operators, and regulatory committees. The announcement was made July 6, 1999, by San Francisco-based <A HREF="http://www.dolby.com/">Dolby Labs</A>.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jul 18, 1999 0 comments

Last week, online video retailer <A HREF="http://Videoflicks.com/">Videoflicks.com</A> announced that it has opened Videoflicks.com Auctions "to help people find, discover, buy&mdash;and now sell&mdash;virtually any video online." The company says that its customers are able to bid immediately in more than eight categories of "rare and unusual" videos.

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Posted: Jul 18, 1999 0 comments

Last week, telecommunications provider <A HREF="http://www.sbc.com">SBC Communications</A> and <A HREF="http://www.directv.com">DirecTV</A> announced a marketing and distribution agreement that will allow SBC to make digital satellite television service available to its 18 million Southwestern Bell, Nevada Bell, and Pacific Bell residential customers. Specific details of the SBC/DirecTV service will be announced later.

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Barry Willis Posted: Jul 18, 1999 0 comments

After 20 years, one of the entertainment industry's most enduring management teams is calling it quits. On July 15, Robert A. Daly and Terry Semel, co-chairmen and co-CEOs of Warner Bros. film studio and Warner Bros. Music, informed <A HREF="http://www.pathfinder.com/corp/">Time Warner</A> chief Gerald Levin that they would not renew their employment contracts. The two said they wish to explore other opportunities as "entertainment entrepreneurs."

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Lawrence B. Johnson Posted: Jul 18, 1999 0 comments

B<I>urt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, Jeanne Moreau. Directed by John Frankenheimer. Aspect ratio: 1.37:1 (black & white). Dolby Digital monaural. 133 minutes. 1964. MGM 907539. Not rated. $19.98.</I>

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Posted: Jul 18, 1999 0 comments

Austin Powers, the swinging secret agent, is too risqu&eacute; for Malaysians, censors in that country have decided. The International Man of Mystery's latest comic misadventure, <I>The Spy Who Shagged Me</I>, is too full of sexual innuendoes for the conservative Muslim nation. The ban applies not only to the theatrical release, but to videotapes, discs, and TV broadcasts as well.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jul 11, 1999 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.panasonic.com">Panasonic Consumer Electronics</A> announced the retail launch of its new digital VCR&mdash;or, as they call it, a D-VHS VCR. The new PV-HD1000 will begin shipping this month. It carries a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $999.95 and marks the first DTV-compatible VCR to hit the US market.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jul 11, 1999 0 comments

S<I>tar Wars&mdash;Episode 1: The Phantom Menace</I> might have grabbed all the attention as the first movie to be screened in the US from a digital source rather than a film print (see <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?454">previous story</A>), but it's not the only one to use the new technology. With virtually no fanfare at all, <I>An Ideal Husband</I> is being shown from a digital source at Laemmle's Sunset 5 theater in Los Angeles through July 15, 1999.

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Posted: Jul 11, 1999 0 comments

As <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?465">reported last week</A>, more than 1.1 million DVD-Video players were shipped through the first half of 1999. Additional information released by the <A HREF="http://www.dvdvideogroup.com">DVD Video Group</A> puts these numbers in perspective: DVD-Video experienced 300% growth in the second quarter of 1999, when more than 730,000 hardware units were shipped (compared to 170,000 in the second quarter of 1998). Further, the Group says that shipments for the first six months of 1999 constitute an increase of 881,000 units over the same period in 1998, also representing more than 300% growth. (Over 1 million units shipped in the first half of 1999; in the first six months of 1998, slightly more than 260,000 units shipped.)

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Barry Willis Posted: Jul 11, 1999 0 comments

A payout of as much as $275 million to Jeffery Katzenberg could be in the offing for <A HREF="http://www.disney.com/">Walt Disney Company</A>, which agreed on July 6 to settle a five-year-old breach-of-contract suit brought by the former studio executive. One of Hollywood's longest-running and most bitter legal disputes was settled over the July 4 weekend at the Malibu estate of music mogul and DreamWorks partner David Geffen, who hammered out a deal with Stanley Gold, a Disney Company director and friend of Disney CEO Michael Eisner. Geffen is Katzenberg's partner in DreamWorks SKG, the film, music, and video company they formed with Steven Spielberg.

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Paula Nechak Posted: Jul 11, 1999 0 comments

J<I>ason Patric, Irene Jacob, Ian Richardson, Ian Holm, Rod Steiger. Directed by John Badham. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (letterbox). Dolby Digital Surround 5.1. 108 minutes. 1997. Warner Bros. Home Video 14538. Rated R. $24.95.</I>

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Posted: Jul 11, 1999 0 comments

For 20 years, Pioneer has been laserdisc's biggest booster. But that era of home entertainment ended July 6, when <A HREF="http://pioneer-ent.com/">Pioneer Entertainment</A> announced that it would no longer produce or supply laserdiscs. The software division of Pioneer Electronics made the decision in view of the growing popularity of DVD, which, along with VHS tape, accounts for more than 90% of their business. The announcement is most certainly the kiss of death for the beleaguered format.

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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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