In early March, <A HREF="http://www.thesync.com">The Sync</A>, an Internet audio/video broadcasting company, announced that history has been made with the first modern feature film to be offered for viewing on the World Wide Web: American director Erica Jordan's acclaimed 1994 independent film, <I>Walls of Sand</I>. This important debut ushers in a new era in entertainment: video on demand from your PC, with feature films available at any hour of the day. Net surfers can watch <I>Walls of Sand</I> for free in the RealVideo format on The Sync's "<A HREF="http://thesync.com/ondemand">ondemand</A>" page.
On March 2, <A HREF="http://www.ncube.com">nCUBE</A>, a developer of scalable video servers, announced a reseller agreement with <A HREF="http://www.vela.com">Vela Research LP</A>, a developer of video-compression products for the cable and broadcast industries. nCUBE will integrate Vela's MPEG2 video-encoding technology as part of an approach that enables cable operators to offer video-on-demand (VOD) and near video-on-demand (NVOD) services over analog networks and real-time feeds for digital networks.
Due to the astounding box-office success of James Cameron's <I>Titanic</I>, Paramount Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox have scrapped their plans for releasing the film's home-video version early this summer.Taken by surprise at the unending box-office interest in the film (over $300 million so far), the studios say that they will have to completely rethink the home video release. Rumors are that <I>Titanic</I> will be released on video for the 1998 holiday season.
In an effort to dominate the potentially huge set-top box market, both Sun Microsystems and Microsoft announced deals with cable provider TCI at the recent CES in Las Vegas. Coming within one day of each other, the two announcements illuminate the struggle about to take place between rivals Sun and Microsoft to place their operating systems in consumers' homes.
On December 4, Intel executives announced plans for future digital television products. Noting that, as we move toward a digital TV broadcast model, there will be 230 million TVs to replace, Intel has targeted the heart of nearly 100% of American homes.
The last few years have witnessed a revolution in how we watch movies at home. Likewise, the Internet has forever changed the way we track down information around the world. Because <I>SGHT</I> covers the former, it only makes sense that to do it well, we should use the latter.
All of the major consumer-electronics "convergence" companies were in attendance at this year's computer panoply: Sony, Pioneer, Philips, Hitachi, Sharp, Samsung, and on and on. Expanding upon a trend begun last year, each of the majors was displaying roughly equal parts computer goods and home/consumer gear.