AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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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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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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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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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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Jon Iverson Posted: Mar 19, 2000 0 comments

Judging from the responses to our <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/showvote.cgi?100">Vote!</A> question from several months ago, a significant number of home-theater fans are not happy with DVD region codes. The film studios are attempting to control their staggered rollouts of movies for the consumer markets around the planet with the codes, which prevent a DVD made in one region of the world from playing on a DVD player from another region.

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Posted: Mar 19, 2000 0 comments

As part of its mission "to provide home entertainment however consumers want to receive it," <A HREF="http://www.blockbuster.com">Blockbuster</A> announced last week that it has taken a "significant first step" in the development of a national program to deliver movies and games to the home. Under a home-delivery agreement with Food.com, Blockbuster says that its videos will be delivered by Food.com through Takeout Taxi, a restaurant delivery service. Blockbuster has also <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?623">recently announced</A> a deal with MGM to develop digital streaming technologies for movie delivery.

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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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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

Short films, many of them animated, are popping up all over the Internet. Because it is less demanding of bandwidth than live-action video, animation lends itself to the type of connections that most consumers have today. Ultimately, however, features that began on the Internet will find their way onto network television---improving it in the process.

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Posted: Mar 12, 2000 0 comments

According to the results of the DVD Owners Study, released last week by the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A> (CEA), "consumers have overwhelmingly voiced their satisfaction with DVD." The CEA has reported that 1999 was a tremendous year for the DVD player, which became the "fastest-selling consumer electronics product in history," achieving a household penetration level of approximately 5% after only three years in the market.

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 12, 2000 0 comments

The <A HREF="http://www.nbc.com/">National Broadcasting Company</A> has announced its withdrawal from the <A HREF="http://www.nab.org/">National Association of Broadcasters</A>. The network is departing the industry's most powerful trade group in protest of the NAB's refusal to support the network's effort to raise the federally mandated cap on the number of stations that can be owned by a single company. A majority of NAB members support the current limits on ownership.

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Posted: Mar 12, 2000 0 comments

The <A HREF="http://www.ce.org/">Consumer Electronics Association</A> has accused the American broadcasting industry of delaying the transition to digital television by refusing to make the necessary investments in equipment and programming. The consumer electronics industry and related businesses are moving forward aggressively while broadcasters drag their feet, the CEA stated in a letter delivered March 8 to <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A> chairman Bill Kennard.

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