While the music business is experiencing harrowing declines in CD sales (12% down in the first quarter of 2002, compared with last year), DVD movie sales are growing at a fantastic pace. According to figures released by the <A HREF="http://www.dvdinformation.com">DVD Entertainment Group</A> (DEG), more than 120 million DVD movies and music videos shipped in the first three months of 2002, which represents an impressive 74% increase over the same quarter last year.
<A HREF="http://www.showtimenetworks.com/">Showtime Networks</A> must be on an HDTV roll. On the heels of its recent announcement about adding its high definition offerings to the DirecTV service, the premium channel broadcaster announced more HDTV programming this week, along with an audio upgrade.
The great thing about a video store is being able to walk right in, see what's available on the shelf, and then grab what you like for some instant home theater gratification. The bad thing about video stores is that getting your rental back on time can be a hassle, not to mention the late fees the stores count on to bolster their profits.
Ask most folks what it will take to get HDTV rolling and the answer is content, content, and more content. Two weeks ago, Discovery Network announced its <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?1273">first all HDTV 24-hour/day</A> channel, which is set to go live in a couple of months, and last week Showtime Networks and DirecTV announced that the satellite provider will carry the East Coast SHO HDTV channel beginning April 30.
When it comes to persuasive reasons to purchase an HDTV, nothing beats having compelling content—and lots of it. Add one more notch to the content totals: Discovery Communications announced last week that it will launch Discovery HD Theater. The company describes HD Theater as a new 24-hour network "which will transmit high-definition content in all the popular categories of entertainment offered by Discovery" including nature, history, world cultures, geographic explorations, science, education, travel, and a wealth of children's and how-to programming.
High definition television has been slow to gain traction in consumer markets, partly due to ongoing struggles between the content providers and equipment manufacturers. Movie studios wish to restrict the consumer's use of an HDTV signal while manufacturers recognize that consumers will be slow to embrace any technology that becomes too cumbersome or restrictive to implement.
In the good old days of over-the-air (OTA) broadcast TV, before the proliferation of cable and DBS, pointing your rooftop antenna was a common ritual when switching between channels. OTA HDTV has brought those days back, as viewers carefully orient their specialized HDTV antennas to lock in fussy signals.
One limitation often preventing home theater enthusiasts from installing a front projection video system is the need to place the projector in a particular place in the room to get a proper image on screen. A semiconductor company exhibiting at the National Association of Broadcasters 2002 convention this week in Las Vegas says they can change all that.
In the era of DVD, videotape gets no respect—some might say deservedly so. But according to the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) VidTrac program, considered by some to be the most accurate video rental point-of-sale tracking technology, the 2001 year-end rental revenue market share for VHS was 83.4% while DVD accounted for 16.6%. This variance means that VHS rental spending outpaced that for DVDs by $5.6 billion.
Proving to be one of the brightest spots in HDTV broadcasting, <A HREF="http://www.hd.net">HDNet</A> is adding another sport to its lineup of regular high definition television broadcasts. The company says that it has finalized plans to broadcast 80 Major League Baseball games in HDTV during the 2002 regular season. HDNet says the broadcast schedule begins with the Detroit Tigers–Minnesota Twins game on April 13.