AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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Barry Willis Posted: Jan 23, 2000 0 comments

The old <I>Mission: Impossible</I> TV series always opened with the head of the spy team picking up his instructions on a miniature tape recorder stashed in an obscure place. An authoritative voice would give Mr. Phelps his instructions&mdash;always with the option of declining the assignment&mdash;and then announce that the tape would self-destruct, which it did with a burst of flame and a puff of smoke.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 23, 2000 0 comments

Pundits have long predicted that, as we move toward streaming more digital bandwidth into the home, consumers will begin to prefer video-on-demand services via their home network vs. renting films from video stores. This is not good news for the established bricks-and-mortar rental chains, many of which are fighting for ever-diminishing returns in crowded markets.

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Posted: Jan 16, 2000 0 comments

As announced last week, the 2000 Republican National Convention will be America's first political convention aired in high-definition television. But in an interesting twist, Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson noted that the party has approved the request of <A HREF="http://www.nhk.or.jp/index-e.html">NHK</A> (Japan Broadcasting Corp.) to cover the Convention in HDTV. NHK says it will make available a digital high-definition feed to other "accredited" broadcasters choosing to take the signal for transmission to their viewers.

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Posted: Jan 16, 2000 0 comments

One of the most cherished assumptions about a market economy is that competition drives down prices for goods and services. Widespread availability from numerous providers guarantees low prices, the conventional wisdom has it.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 16, 2000 0 comments

It's been roughly 12 months since TiVo and Replay Networks first unveiled their digital video recorders, so it seemed a good time to ask how the format is doing so far. To answer the question, market intelligence company <A HREF="http://www.techtrends.net">TechTrends</A> conducted a survey of more than 1400 consumers for a new study, <I>The Digital Television Revolution: Success Factors for the Emerging Digital Video Recorder Market</I>. TechTrends claims that their research is the most comprehensive market study to date of the DVR market.

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Posted: Jan 16, 2000 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.SmartVision.com">Saco SmartVision</A> announced that the world's largest video screen has been activated at 4 Times Square, flooding the area with nine-story-tall video images. The new screen is based on millions of discrete, individually energized red, green, and blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and measures 120x90 feet, following the curved form of the new Conde Nast Building at the southeast corner of Seventh Avenue and 43rd Street.

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Posted: Jan 16, 2000 0 comments

Home-theater fans who hope to add a DVD version of <I>Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace</I> to their collections when the videotape hits the streets in April will have a very long wait. Possibly as long as five years, according to publicity from <A HREF="http://www.lucasfilm.com/">Lucasfilm</A>, which says director George Lucas wants to do "something special" with the DVD release, a project he probably won't get to until 2005, after he has finished the next two chapters in the "prequel" series.

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Barry Willis Posted: Jan 16, 2000 0 comments

A war of words has broken out between television networks <A HREF="http://www.nbc.com/">NBC</A> and <A HREF="http://cbs.com/">CBS</A> over the use of digital effects that altered the background during CBS coverage of New Year's Eve festivities in New York's Times Square. "Shocked and outraged" is one of the milder phrases used by NBC executives over the use of digital effects by CBS technicians to block a huge NBC video sign visible behind newsman Dan Rather during the broadcast. A CBS logo was inserted in its place.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 09, 2000 0 comments

NAD showcased a DVD player and an A/V receiver, both new at this year's CES. NAD's first DVD machine is called the T550 and will retail at $799. In addition to built-in Dolby Digital is a feature sure to please audiophiles using the machine as a music source: separate high-quality audio outputs when used with a 24/96 source. The T760 receiver includes both Dolby Digital and DTS and is modestly rated at 60W for all five channels. (NAD is known for conservative power ratings.) The T760 will retail for $999.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 08, 2000 0 comments

Video is always big news at CES, and this year is no exception. HH Scott, a name long associated with quality audio, has entered the fray with its first flat-screen television set, a 27-inch-diagonal model designated the STV207. Available at what its maker calls an "extraordinary price point," the set is cable-ready for up to 181 channels, and includes an onboard stereo amplifier and speakers. The STV207 isn't a DTV receiver, but Scott claims it will be ideal for "families, offices, and college dorm rooms."

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 07, 2000 0 comments

Despite the apparent eagerness of consumer electronics manufacturers to bring out new, improved, and much cheaper high-definition television equipment, the situation behind the scenes is anything but rosy. Satellite services are coming on board with the new format at an encouraging rate, but cable companies, who deliver most of the television signals to most American viewers, have been dragging their feet for years. Reluctance to adapt digital transmission because of its bandwidth demands has hindered the rollout of the new system by as much as five years, according to some estimates.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 06, 2000 0 comments

Satellite receivers with HDTV capability are big news here in Las Vegas. Several companies have followed in the wake of RCA's announcement of its $649 DTC100, an HDTV-ready DirecTV satellite receiver, among them Hughes, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, and Toshiba. Now Samsung Electronics America has announced a set-top box with all the latest technology.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 05, 2000 0 comments

When the phase-out of NTSC analog television finally comes to pass, the viewing public may welcome its disappearance, especially if the decline in prices evident at this year's Consumer Electronics Show continues at the present rate. Display hardware is beginning to come down in price as services begin to blossom&mdash;a trend that should continue long into the future. The development bodes well for sofa spuds everywhere.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 05, 2000 0 comments

Early predictions for 2001: prices will decline, and products will improve. That's the upbeat message delivered at pre-show press conferences held consecutively on January 5 by frequent partners <A HREF="http://www.philips.com/">Philips Electronics</A> and <A HREF="http://www.sony.com/">Sony Corporation</A>.

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Barry Willis Posted: Jan 02, 2000 0 comments

A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge has denied a request for a temporary restraining order against 72 computer enthusiasts brought by the DVD Copy Control Association. The computer folk were accused of distributing a string of code, called DeCSS, that enables them to play DVD movies on Linux-based machines and thereby violate intellectual property laws. Linux is user-developed software widely perceived as a possible competitor to Microsoft's Windows.

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