Barry Willis

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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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Barry Willis Posted: Oct 24, 1998 0 comments

Earlier this month, the <A HREF="http://www.disney.com/">Walt Disney Company</A>, <A HREF="http://www.tw.com/">Time Warner</A>, and the <A HREF="http://www.mpaa.org/">Motion Picture Association of America</A> succeeded in getting Congress to pass legislation that will extend copyrights an additional 20 years, assuming President Clinton signs the changes into law. Copyright owners presently have control over intellectual property for 75 years, after which it passes into the public domain, where it is free for all to use without paying fees or receiving permission.

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Barry Willis Posted: Oct 24, 1998 0 comments

Until prices for HDTV receivers come down from the stratosphere and high-def programming is available full-time, most viewers will be watching the new format on legacy TVs with the aid of set-top converter boxes. Hearing the clarion call of opportunity, <A HREF="http://www.sciatl.com/">Scientific-Atlanta, Inc.</A> has introduced a line of products to help meet the early demand for HDTV. Among these products is a new HD version of their Explorer 2000 advanced digital set-top box, which will be available in January. This "all-formats" decoder will translate incoming HDTV signals into NTSC video, easing a myriad of consumers into the coming age of digital television.

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Barry Willis Posted: Oct 17, 1998 0 comments

Build it and no one will come. That's been the broadcasting industry's worst nightmare since discussions about high-definition television began more than 10 years ago. Many executives have expressed dismay over the fact that the <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A> mandated their compliance with HDTV's launch---an effort that costs each station millions of dollars in new equipment and technical training---when there is almost no audience to see it. Dozens of stations are ready for the official nationwide launch of HDTV in just two weeks, but the few people who will see the first broadcasts will be engineers, journalists, and a handful of customers and salespeople in electronics stores.

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Barry Willis Posted: Oct 17, 1998 0 comments

Recordable DVD is on its way to the home-theater market. <A HREF="http://www.tdk.com/">TDK</A> has announced two breakthroughs in high-density recordable media that will likely cause an epidemic of apoplectic fits in the film industry.

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Barry Willis Posted: Oct 11, 1998 0 comments

High-resolution video technology leader <A HREF="http://www.faroudja.com/">Faroudja, Inc.</A> announced October 6 that Glenn W. Marschel, Jr. has been named its new President, CEO, and Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mr. Marschel is replacing Michael Moore, who resigned "to pursue other interests." Chief Technical Officer and company founder Yves Faroudja will become the board's other Co-Chairman. William J. Turner will step down as Chairman, but will remain as a Director of the company.

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Barry Willis Posted: Oct 10, 1998 0 comments

High-Definition Television will make its broadcast debut next month, and television stations in most parts of the country will participate. The <A HREF="http://www.nab.org/">National Association of Broadcasters</A> announced last week that 42 stations are good to go for the November 1 launch of 21st-century television. The first HDTV stations include the original 26 volunteers in the 10 largest US markets, as mandated by a schedule agreed to by the NAB and the <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A>; and an additional 16 that have completed their equipment upgrades ahead of time.

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Barry Willis Posted: Oct 03, 1998 0 comments

Where do captains of industry go when their cash cows begin to produce sour milk? To Washington DC, where they beg for regulatory intervention. That's where CBS Station Group Manager Mel Kazmarin was last week, and that's what he was doing---asking the Federal Communications Commission to reconsider its prohibition against one TV network owning more than 35% of the available commercial broadcast stations in the country.

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Barry Willis Posted: Oct 03, 1998 0 comments

CD is the dominant software medium today, but DVD will gradually replace it, according to panelists at the DVD-Audio Forum conference last week at the Hyatt Regency Hotel near the San Francisco airport. Higher storage capacity and greater versatility, including multichannel audio, mean greater value for consumers. The panel also predicted that the popularity of DVD-ROM will grow exponentially in the next three years, and the use of DVD-RAM---recordable media-----will easily triple within that period. Computers equipped with DVD "burners" are already on the market.

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Barry Willis Posted: Sep 26, 1998 0 comments

Early indications don't look promising for <A HREF="http://www.circuitcity.com/">Circuit City</A>'s pay-per-view alternative as the DVD/Divx war begins to heat up in earnest. Recently, a neutral, informative <A HREF="http:www.abcnews.com/sections/tech/dailynews/divx980917.html">introducti... to Divx by Chris Stamper appeared on the ABC News website. Stamper's story included an opportunity for readers---who, presumably, had read the piece and were now reasonably well-informed about Divx---to vote on whether or not they would spend $449.99 for a Divx player.

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