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Barry Willis

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 15, 1998 0 comments

Last week, Dallas broadcaster WFFA turned on its new HDTV transmitter for the first time. Surprisingly, the transmission overwhelmed heart monitors at Baylor University Medical Center, which were operating at the same frequency. Nurses and doctors were temporarily unable to monitor their patients' heartbeats. When the cause of the problem was discovered, WFFA turned the transmitter off.

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 08, 1998 0 comments

Who'd've thunk it? The movie-going public can't get enough of James Cameron's <I>Titanic</I>, the three-hour disaster flick starring the mismatched Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as a pair of doomed lovers.

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Barry Willis Posted: Mar 02, 1998 0 comments

What's the worst thing that happens to vinyl records during normal use? Taking them out of the sleeve. The resulting surface abrasion and static charge, which attracts every dust particle in sight, cause more damage to LPs than playing them.

Filed under
Barry Willis Posted: Feb 23, 1998 0 comments

Media giant <A HREF="http://www.fox.com">20th Century Fox Home Entertainment</A> has joined DreamWorks SKG, <A HREF="http://www.paramount.com">Paramount Home Video</A>, <A HREF="http://www.disney.com">Disney</A>, and <A HREF="http://www.mca.com">Universal</A> in their support for Divx. The announcement was made jointly last Thursday, Feb. 19, by 20th Century Fox representatives in Beverly Hills and by <A HREF="http://www.divx.com">Digital Video Express</A> executives at corporate headquarters in Herndon, Virginia.

Filed under
Barry Willis Posted: Feb 23, 1998 0 comments

Five electronics heavyweights have agreed on an encryption scheme for digitally transmitted movies and music that they hope will prevent widescale piracy by consumers. <A HREF="http://www.intel.com">Intel</A>, <A HREF="http://www.sony.com">Sony</A>, <A HREF="http://www.toshiba.com">Toshiba</A>, <A HREF="http://www.hitachi.com">Hitachi</A>, and Matsushita announced the agreement in Burbank, CA last Thursday.

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Barry Willis Posted: Feb 22, 1998 0 comments

Microsoft Corporation and Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) have agreed to jointly participate in an educational-enhancement data-distribution system that takes advantage of unused bandwidth in broadcast television's vertical blanking interval, or VBI, according to a <A HREF="http://www.microsoft.com">Microsoft</A> press release dated Feb. 17.

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Barry Willis Posted: Feb 21, 1998 0 comments

Does the United States Patent and Trademark Office operate on a first come, first served basis, or will it bow to the applicant with the biggest bucks? The issue of legal ownership of the "Titanic" trademark---a name worth millions in the wake of the biggest blockbuster movie in history---is being contested at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in Arlington, Virginia.

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Barry Willis Posted: Feb 15, 1998 0 comments

Los Angeles---Visionaries and vultures, pundits and panderers, gurus and geeks. They were all here at the Beverly Hilton for the first Networked Entertainment World Conference, a meeting of computer and software representatives, cable and online service providers, and film and television executives. Co-sponsored by Softbank Forums and the American Film Institute and attended by aspiring Web producers, game designers, and screenwriters (in addition to established industry types), the N:E:W conference was the first of what could prove to be an important annual event.

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Barry Willis Posted: Feb 14, 1998 0 comments

All it will take is $20 million to make things right between <A HREF="http://www.mgm.com">Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer</A> and <A HREF="http://www.spe.sony.com">Sony Pictures Entertainment</A>. A suit filed on February 8 by MGM's Orion Pictures Corporation in Los Angeles Superior Court charges Sony and its subsidiaries, Columbia TriStar Home Video and Columbia Pictures Entertainment, with "substantially underreporting revenues" and "failing properly to account for monies received" for distributing Orion's films on video outside the US. Orion had an exclusive distribution contract with Columbia/Sony from 1985 to 1992.

Filed under
Barry Willis Posted: Feb 14, 1998 0 comments

Light-emitting polymers (LEPs) in Cambridge? In Tokyo, Sharp Electronics has developed a wafer-thin liquid crystal display (LCD) with computer circuitry built in. Sharp and its research partner, Semiconductor Energy Laboratory, announced in mid-January that they have devised a technology called continuous-grain silicon (CGS) that will allow LCDs to contain their own driver chips. This will permit the integration of displays and computers into sheets of any size, from credit-card-sized personal digital assistants to large-format video screens.

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