In a recent poll conducted on the <I>SGHT</I> website, a majority of home-theater fans expressed their desire for an HDTV version of DVD to get them interested in the new high-definition formats. But so far, the storage capacity required to store the massive amounts of data needed by even 20 minutes of HDTV exceeded anything likely to be available in the foreseeble future.
Testifying last week before the House Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade, and Consumer Protection, <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A> (CEA) president and CEO Gary Shapiro described what he called a "successful consumer transition" to digital television (DTV), this characterized by broad product offerings, increased programming from alternative media sources, steady sales, and high consumer satisfaction with DTV products. But all is not rosy: According to Shapiro, broadcast-industry delays in delivering significant HDTV programming and the industry's potential misuse of the DTV spectrum to provide subscription data services could seriously slow the transition's current momentum.
As HDTV slowly rolls out across the US, more and more consumers are finding that those simple days of common connectors and out-of-the-box compatible equipment are now over. What many unsuspecting consumer electronics buyers are now discovering that not all HDTV equipment is configured to the same operating standards.
When it comes to defining the cutting-edge gift list for tech enthusiasts, gadget-heads, and just about any person over the age of 14, you probably couldn't do much better than to ask 1,000 computing professionals—folks who live and breathe technology—to pick their top five tech gifts.
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.
There may be more than one way to skin the HDTV cat. Last week, <A HREF="http://www.viagate.com">ViaGate Technologies</A> announced what the company is terming "a major breakthrough" with what it says is the successful delivery of High Definition Television (HDTV) over an existing fiber network through its ViaGate 4160 Access Switch utilizing standard copper telephone wires. ViaGate, in conjunction with CompleteTV and <A HREF="http://www.artel.tv">Artel Video Systems</A>, says that it has introduced this potential service to complement a host of broadband entertainment and connectivity services that are being field tested in Tennessee.
In the spirit of "if at first you don't succeed . . .," Hollywood is attempting every combination of interactive DVD/Internet "synergy" it can think of. Warner Home Video will be taking its latest stab at convergence January 17 when the company will be hosting a "Virtual Theater" event for their DVD release of <I>The Perfect Storm</I>.
Last week, several companies announced what they describe as a "unique, innovative project which will demonstrate the future of home entertainment." The project, named "CompleteTV," is intended to enable 20 families in Raleigh, North Carolina to take part in a pilot program beginning during the second quarter of 2001, giving them access to a home entertainment "experience" which will attempt to combine the worlds of broadcast HD programming and Internet-based information and entertainment.