AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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Barry Willis Posted: Jul 02, 2000 0 comments

Two years ago it was widely predicted that, by summer 2000, high-definition television would be pretty well established. At mid-year of that target date, the industry is still bickering over technical specifications and terminology, receiver prices are still high, and there is only a token amount of HD programming available.

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Posted: Jun 25, 2000 0 comments

In the long term, interactive television (ITV) may not be the joke it has been so far. On June 21, Los Gatos, California&ndash;based <A HREF="http://www.ictv.com/">ICTV</A> announced that it has pulled in $57 million in investments from financial sector and telecommunications industry heavyweights. ITCT describes itself as the "leading provider of the cable industry's most robust solution for delivery of broadband Internet TV services to digital set-tops."

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jun 25, 2000 0 comments

It's a DTV jungle out there, with manufacturers, broadcasters, consumers, and other market forces fighting for their ecological niches. Always an aggressive participant in the struggle, the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A> (CEA), in comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission last week, stated that "ensuring that today's viewers continue to enjoy free, over-the-air service should be the primary focus of the digital television (DTV) transition." While new services should be "permitted and encouraged," argued the CEA, they should be consistent with broadcasters' "continued delivery of free over-the-air programming in the digital era."

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Barry Willis Posted: Jun 25, 2000 0 comments

Ever wonder how all those short films you never heard of get nominated for Academy Awards? They have to run for a weekend at theaters in Los Angeles or New York in order for <A HREF="http://www.oscars.org/">Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences</A> members to get a chance to view them. Those are the rules, the Academy stated on June 13, after deciding to exclude from Oscar consideration any film debuting on the Internet.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 25, 2000 0 comments

V<I>oices of Jennifer Aniston, Eli Marienthal, Harry Connick, Jr., Vin Diesel, Christopher McDonald. Directed by Brad Bird. Aspect ratios: 2.35:1 (anamorphic), 1.33:1 (full-frame). Dolby Digital 5.1. 99 minutes. 1999. Warner Home Video 17644. PG. $24.95.</I>

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Posted: Jun 25, 2000 0 comments

In mid-June, <A HREF="http://www.dtstech.com/">DTS</A> announced a new version of its DTS-ES Extended Surround Format for home theater. Designated DTS-ES Discrete 6.1, the system is a "new, proprietary technology for the playback of discrete, 6.1-channel content from DVDs and CDs," according to a company press release. The innovation is said to "elevate the performance standard for playback of the DTS 6.1-channel Extended Surround format introduced in motion picture theaters last year."

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Posted: Jun 25, 2000 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.dishnetwork.com">EchoStar Communications</A> announced that the DISH HD Model 6000, an integrated satellite television receiver with the ability to receive high-definition television (HDTV) signals, is now available at select DISH Network retail outlets. The 6000 is the company's newest high-definition satellite TV receiver and is priced at $499.

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Barry Willis Posted: Jun 18, 2000 0 comments

For home theater fans, plasma display panels (PDPs) are among the most promising technologies. The space-saving flat panels eliminate the need for projectors and screens or huge boxy rear projection sets, but their acceptance by critical viewers has been hampered by a low (400:1) contrast ratio which renders black as more like charcoal gray.

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Barry Willis Posted: Jun 18, 2000 0 comments

After bleeding money for two years, <A HREF="http://www.hollywoodvideo.com/">Hollywood Entertainment Corporation</A> has announced that it is pulling the plug on <A HREF="http://www.reel.com/">Reel.com</A>, its high-profile online video sales operation, whose losses have been in the range of $4 million to $5 million monthly. The announcement came June 13, in which Hollywood Entertainment stated that it has laid off all 150 employees of Reel.com and arranged a deal with <A HREF="http://www.buy.com/">Buy.com</A> to fulfill orders. The Reel.com site is still active, with a pop-up advisory telling customers the bad news.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jun 18, 2000 0 comments

Surround formats are coming on the market fast and furious, which means yet more buttons on equipment. Last week, <A HREF="http://www.del.denon.com">Denon Electronics</A> announced the introduction of its new $3,800 flagship AVR-5800 A/V Surround Receiver, which the company claims is the world's first audio component to offer DTS-ES Discrete 6.1, DTS-ES Matrix 6.1 and DTS Neo:6 surround sound decoding. The receiver also boasts THX Surround EX decoding, 24-bit/192kHz D/A conversion, FireWire capability and seven channels, each capable of 170 watts output power.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 18, 2000 0 comments

N<I>arrated by Liam Neeson. Directed by David Brashears, Greg MacGillivray, and Stephen Judson. Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 (full frame). 45 minutes. 1998. Dolby Digital 5.1. Miramax Collector's Series 16539. NR. $24.98.</I>

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Posted: Jun 18, 2000 0 comments

Video displays just keep getting better and cheaper. <A HREF="http://www.net-tv.net/">NetTV</A> has announced four new advanced progressive scan digital displays, including the DTV36XW, their first "true high definition" CRT. The 36" diagonal unit features a flat screen and conventional component inputs for 480i broadcasts as well as high-resolution component inputs for 480p, 720p and 1080i high definition broadcast signals. A 15-pin RGB input supports computer resolutions up to 1024x768 pixels.

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Posted: Jun 18, 2000 0 comments

Adventure fans are still waiting for the <I>Star Wars</I> and Indiana Jones films, but <A HREF="http://www.universalstudios.com">Universal Studios Home Video</A> has promised to release Speilberg's <I>Jurassic Park</I> and <I>The Lost World: Jurassic Park</I> on DVD as Collector's Editions on October 10, 2000. Both titles will be available with Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1 audio (in place of some of the added features) and anamorphic widescreen for $26.98 retail each.

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Posted: Jun 11, 2000 0 comments

The digital camera is now firmly established as a standard tool and toy for most technophiles. The next frontier for consumers---digitally-recorded moving pictures---is about to open up with a new camcorder from <A HREF="http://www.hitachi.com/">Hitachi</A>. The price will be 248,000yen, or approximately $2340 US.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jun 11, 2000 0 comments

A "new breed of Digital High-Definition Television Receivers" is about to be unleashed by <A HREF="http://www.thomson-multimedia.com">Thomson Electronics</A>, manufacturer and marketer of RCA and Proscan. According to the company, four new HDTV models are now in pilot production in Thomson's facilities, including the "world's largest direct-view widescreen HDTV" intended to dramatically reduce consumer prices for HDTV products.

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