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AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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Posted: Nov 15, 1998 0 comments

Following the start of the United States' digital broadcasting system on November 1, both <A HREF="http://www.panasonic.com">Panasonic Industrial Company</A> (PIC) and <A HREF="http://www.philips.com">Philips Semiconductors</A> announced last week new all-format digital television (DTV) tuner/decoder cards. These cards will let computer users view DTV signals using their desktop PCs connected to a computer monitor or television set. As we reported <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?289">last week</A>, this could help foster the availability of $500 DTV tuners for PCs by early next year.

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Lawrence B. Johnson Posted: Nov 15, 1998 0 comments

C<I>arroll Baker, Lee J. Cobb, Henry Fonda, Carolyn Jones, Karl Malden, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Robert Preston, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart, Eli Wallach, John Wayne, Richard Widmark. Directed by Henry Hathaway, John Ford, George Marshall. Aspect ratio: approximately 2.23:1. Dolby Surround. Additional language: French. 150 minutes. 1962. MGM 906292. Not rated. $29.95.</I>

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Jon Iverson Posted: Nov 15, 1998 0 comments

Imagine a dozen alley cats, who would normally claw at each other incessantly, purring happily together in a box. This gives you an idea of what's so remarkable about the <A HREF="http://www.1394ta.org">1394 Trade Association</A> (TA) Theater Demo this week at <A HREF="http://www.comdex.com/">Comdex</A> in Las Vegas. Several consumer-electronics giants, such as <A HREF="http://www.sony.com">Sony</A>, <A HREF="http://www.mitsubishi.com/">Mitsubishi</A>, <A HREF="http://www.samsung.com/">Samsung</A>, <A HREF="http://www.NEC.com/">NEC</A>, and <A HREF="http://www.yamaha.com/">Yamaha</A>, as well as computer titans <A HREF="http://www.intel.com/">Intel</A>, <A HREF="http://www.compaq.com/">Compaq</A>, and <A HREF="http://www.microsoft.com/">Microsoft</A>, are pulling together to support the 1394 (FireWire) standard. It is hoped that FireWire will unite the consumer-electronics and computer worlds with a common digital interface. A recent agreement between the consumer-electronics and cable industries has established 1394 as the standard link between digital television sets and DTV set-top boxes.

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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 14, 1998 0 comments

If ever there was a marriage made in heaven, it's big-time sports and high-definition television. CBS and Sony Electronics have teamed up to usher in the new era with four HD broadcasts of National Football League games. The first one, a Buffalo Bills/New York Jets matchup, took place November 8. The game---which the Jets won, 34-12---was seen in New York on WCBS's special channel 56. It was also available to fans in New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh, Cincinnati, Columbus, Charlotte, and Washington, DC.

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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 14, 1998 0 comments

High-definition television will be synonymous with high-quality programming, if the nation's <A HREF="http://www.pbs.org/">Public Broadcasting Service</A> has anything to do with it. Last week, PBS launched its new age of HDTV with <I>Chihuly Over Venice</I>, a 90-minute documentary about Seattle glass artist Dale Chihuly. The beautifully filmed and expertly edited piece, assembled from 100 hours of raw footage, follows Chihuly and a crew of fellow artists through Italy, Ireland, Finland, and Mexico as they work with local glassblowers, creating sculptures and large-scale chandeliers for public places.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Nov 08, 1998 0 comments

If you don't have one of the pricey new digital TVs, but you're curious about those DTV broadcasts that started in your area last week (if you happen to live in one of the lucky cities), your PC might soon be able to provide some relief. With a graphics accelerator that can handle the various DTV formats and MPEG decoding and a low-cost DTV receiver card, viewing DTV on the PC is an affordable option. A graphics accelerator and receiver card with a combined cost under $500 can provide DTV at a fraction of the price for a new digital TV and tuner/decoder.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Nov 08, 1998 0 comments

Many pundits have said that the computer will never make it into the family room, where the TV reigns supreme. They say it's too complicated, and consumers don't really want interactivity or crashing operating systems. But all it will really take is one or two killer applications or technologies, and the consumer-electronics world will get flipped on its head.

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Posted: Nov 07, 1998 0 comments

T<I>he Wizard of Oz</I> is 59 years old and still going strong. The beloved saga of a young Kansas girl's adventures in a magical land has just been re-released in more than 1800 theaters. Enhanced with a THX/Dolby Digital soundtrack, the restored film from Warner Bros. will carry millions of fans into the holiday season, many of whom haven't stepped into a theater in years. The visual improvements to the film are reportedly so good that each of Dorothy's freckles is clearly visible.

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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 07, 1998 0 comments

The next generation of flat-panel displays might be on the horizon, thanks to the work of scientists at the State University of New York in Buffalo. SUNY professor of physics and chemistry Zhifang Ren heads a group of researchers who announced last Thursday that they have found an easier way to grow "nanotubes" on thin sheets of glass, which might make them perfect for use as video screens.

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Posted: Nov 01, 1998 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.b-movie.com">B-Movie Theater</A>, a Web site celebrating the art and industry of the low-budget film, announced the first round of inductions into the new B-Movie Hall of Fame. The honorees were selected from over 1000 nominations submitted by cinephiles around the world, who selected the classic films and most prolific artists of the B-Movie genre.

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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 01, 1998 0 comments

H<I>elen Hunt, Jack Nicholson, Greg Kinnear, Cuba Gooding, Jr. Directed by James L. Brooks. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1. Dolby Digital 5.1. Additional language: French. 139 minutes. 1997. Columbia TriStar DVD 21709. Rated PG-13. $29.95.</I>

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Posted: Nov 01, 1998 0 comments

This week, high-definition television officially begins broadcasting. As part of the rollout, Irvine, California-based <A HREF="http://www.mitsubishi-tv.com/">Mitsubishi Consumer Electronics America Inc.</A> (MCEA) has started its first volume shipments of HDTV systems to dealers. Seven models of HDTVs will be available in all markets.

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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 01, 1998 0 comments

One of every five American children is seriously overweight, and government officials are pointing their fingers at television as a major contributing cause. Health experts have been observing the trend for years, but it has finally grown to the point that high-level policy makers are beginning to take note. Some, like experts speaking at a <A HREF="http://www.usda.gov/">US Department of Agriculture</A> conference last week, are calling it an epidemic.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Oct 25, 1998 0 comments

J<I>ames Taylor. Directed by Beth McCarthy. Aspect ratio: 4:3. Dolby Digital 5.1 and 24-bit/48 kHz, two-track PCM. 109 minutes. 1998. Columbia Music Video CVD 50171. NR. $24.95.</I>

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Jon Iverson Posted: Oct 25, 1998 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.thx.com/">Lucasfilm THX</A> and <A HREF="http://www.dolby.com">Dolby Laboratories Inc.</A> introduced a new co-developed and jointly owned 6.1-channel theatrical surround sound format: Dolby Digital Surround EX. Dolby claims that the new format "redefines the performance parameters of conventional surround-sound technology."

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