AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 28, 1998 0 comments

Movie fans the world over are mourning the passing of Toshiro Mifune, Japan's greatest film actor. Mifune died December 24 at a hospital in Mitaka, Japan, not far from his home in Tokyo. The cause of death was an unspecified "organ failure." Mifune was 77.

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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 28, 1998 0 comments

The Associated Press reported Dec. 22 that Japanese film director Juzo Itami died after jumping from the top of an eight-storey building that housed his office. Itami was director of the international hit film <I>Tampopo</I>.

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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 28, 1998 0 comments

Dawn Steel, widely regarded as one of the most powerful women in Hollywood, died Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, succumbing to brain cancer at the age of 51.

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Dave Thompson Posted: Dec 27, 1998 0 comments

O<I>skar Werner, Julie Christie, Cyril Cusack, Anton Diffring, Jeremy Spenser, Alex Scott. Directed by Fran&#231;ois Truffaut. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (widescreen). Dolby Digital (mono). 112 minutes. 1966. Universal ID4231. Not rated. $24.99.</I>

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Posted: Dec 27, 1998 0 comments

Recent studies by the <A HREF="http://www.recordingmedia.org/">International Recording Media Association</A> and <A HREF="http://www.cemacity.org">Consumer Electronics Manufacturing Association</A> have revealed strong sales for home-theater products. DVD-player sales are up 179% over 1997, with over 1 million players sold this year vs. 400,000 last year, while sales of DVD discs jumped 22%. VCR sales are up 7.5% in 1998, with sales in the first 11 months of the year totaling 16.5 million units. Forty four television stations have already begun broadcasting digital TV, indicating a good start for the new format. Within five years, all 1600 stations in the US are required to be broadcasting in digital.

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Posted: Dec 27, 1998 0 comments

E<I>veryone with a TV has seen the traditional winter holiday fare: </I>Miracle on 34th Street<I>, </I>It's a Wonderful Life<I>, and any one of a dozen versions of Charles Dickens' </I>A Christmas Carol<I>. If you're not totally burned out on the subject, there are less-well-known films with Christmas (and other) themes that are worth seeking out. Here's a short list of recommendations from the staff that might round out your holiday viewing:</I>

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Jon Iverson Posted: Dec 27, 1998 0 comments

The inherent portability and relatively simple setup and calibration of LCD projectors have allowed them to carve out a place in the home-theater market in the last several years. But state-of-the-art picture quality has never been an LCD strong suit, with critics citing lack of contrast and noticeable pixelization as the primary weaknesses.

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Paula Nechak Posted: Dec 20, 1998 0 comments

R<I>achel Weisz, Vincent Perez, Kathy Bates, Ian McKellen, Zoe Wanamaker, Tom Bell, Joss Ackland. Directed by Beeban Kidron. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1. Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Spanish, French). 115 minutes. 1997. Columbia TriStar 21649-D. Rated R. $22.25.</I>

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Jon Iverson Posted: Dec 20, 1998 0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.sony.com">Sony</A> and computer storage company <A HREF="http://www.westerndigital.com">Western Digital</A> announced that they will form a strategic partnership to co-develop a new hard-disk drive (HDD) for consumer audio and video applications. According to the announcement, prototypes of the AV HDD will be developed and tested for verification of basic technologies by the end of March 1999. Commercialization of the AV HDD is being targeted for the year 2000.

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Posted: Dec 20, 1998 0 comments

In spite of our <A HREF="http://hrrc.org/">guaranteed right</A> to make a personal copy of the CDs and videos we purchase, <A HREF="http://www.foxhome.com/">Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment</A> and <A HREF="http://www.macrovision.com/">Macrovision Corporation</A> announced last week that they have signed a one-year agreement to copy-protect all of Fox's DVDs produced in the US and Canada. Fox will also use the triangular "CP" (copy protection) logo in a substantial number of its trade advertisements to inform video retailers that its DVDs are copy-protected.

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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 20, 1998 0 comments

Ready or not, here it comes. Last week, <A HREF="http://www.broadcast.com/">Broadcast.com</A> announced that it will begin streaming movies over the Internet this month, starting with the Humphrey Bogart/Ingrid Bergman classic <I>Casablanca</I>.

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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 19, 1998 0 comments

The two biggest names in the direct broadcast satellite (DBS) business are about to become one. On Monday, December 14, Hughes Electronics Corporation announced that it will buy <A HREF="http://www.ussb.com/">United States Satellite Broadcasting Company</A> (USSB) for $1.3 billion in stock and cash.

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Posted: Dec 13, 1998 0 comments

Another step toward a standardized audio/video home network was taken last week when eight consumer-electronics manufacturers agreed to implement a patent license program for the <A HREF="http://www.havi.org/">HAVi</A> specification. The companies involved in the announcement are <A HREF="http://www.grundig.com/">Grundig</A>, <A HREF="http://www.Hitachi.com/">Hitachi</A>, Matsushita (<A HREF="http://www.Panasonic.com/">Panasonic</A>), <A HREF="http://www.philips.com/">Philips</A>, <A HREF="http://www.sharpelectronics.com/">Sharp</A>, <A HREF="http://www.sony.com">Sony</A>, Thomson Multimedia, and <A HREF="http://www.toshiba.com">Toshiba</A>. Under the licensing program, the HAVi home-network architecture will be made available to the electronics and multimedia industries in spring 1999. Philips has been designated to serve as the licensing contact on behalf of the eight companies.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Dec 13, 1998 0 comments

TV life used to be pretty simple: Stick a pair of rabbit ears on the set, and if you lived near a big city, pull in a dozen channels or so---more if you had a UHF tuner. Now we have cable as well as satellite dishes big and small. In the near future, even your phone company could get into the act with some form of digital subscriber line (DSL) service. But of all these choices, which offers the best value? Two recent studies attempt to unravel the choices facing consumers with an analysis of the options.

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Paula Nechak Posted: Dec 13, 1998 0 comments

J<I>onathan Schaech, Rose McGowan, James Duval. Directed by Gregg Araki. Aspect ratio: 1.33:1. Dolby Surround 2.0. 83 minutes. 1995. TRI6836. Not rated. $24.95.</I>

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