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Posted: Dec 27, 1998 0 comments

E<I>veryone with a TV has seen the traditional winter holiday fare: </I>Miracle on 34th Street<I>, </I>It's a Wonderful Life<I>, and any one of a dozen versions of Charles Dickens' </I>A Christmas Carol<I>. If you're not totally burned out on the subject, there are less-well-known films with Christmas (and other) themes that are worth seeking out. Here's a short list of recommendations from the staff that might round out your holiday viewing:</I>

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Posted: Dec 27, 1998 0 comments

Recent studies by the <A HREF="http://www.recordingmedia.org/">International Recording Media Association</A> and <A HREF="http://www.cemacity.org">Consumer Electronics Manufacturing Association</A> have revealed strong sales for home-theater products. DVD-player sales are up 179% over 1997, with over 1 million players sold this year vs. 400,000 last year, while sales of DVD discs jumped 22%. VCR sales are up 7.5% in 1998, with sales in the first 11 months of the year totaling 16.5 million units. Forty four television stations have already begun broadcasting digital TV, indicating a good start for the new format. Within five years, all 1600 stations in the US are required to be broadcasting in digital.

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Posted: Dec 20, 1998 0 comments

In spite of our <A HREF="http://hrrc.org/">guaranteed right</A> to make a personal copy of the CDs and videos we purchase, <A HREF="http://www.foxhome.com/">Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment</A> and <A HREF="http://www.macrovision.com/">Macrovision Corporation</A> announced last week that they have signed a one-year agreement to copy-protect all of Fox's DVDs produced in the US and Canada. Fox will also use the triangular "CP" (copy protection) logo in a substantial number of its trade advertisements to inform video retailers that its DVDs are copy-protected.

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Posted: Dec 13, 1998 0 comments

Another step toward a standardized audio/video home network was taken last week when eight consumer-electronics manufacturers agreed to implement a patent license program for the <A HREF="http://www.havi.org/">HAVi</A> specification. The companies involved in the announcement are <A HREF="http://www.grundig.com/">Grundig</A>, <A HREF="http://www.Hitachi.com/">Hitachi</A>, Matsushita (<A HREF="http://www.Panasonic.com/">Panasonic</A>), <A HREF="http://www.philips.com/">Philips</A>, <A HREF="http://www.sharpelectronics.com/">Sharp</A>, <A HREF="http://www.sony.com">Sony</A>, Thomson Multimedia, and <A HREF="http://www.toshiba.com">Toshiba</A>. Under the licensing program, the HAVi home-network architecture will be made available to the electronics and multimedia industries in spring 1999. Philips has been designated to serve as the licensing contact on behalf of the eight companies.

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Posted: Nov 29, 1998 0 comments

The digital-television media bombardment has been a case study in contrasts. Some optimistic reports predict that most households will be DTV-equipped within 10 years, while others cite turf battles between broadcasters, the FCC, and various computer and electronics manufacturers as evidence of the minefield stretching out ahead. A study released this month by <A HREF="http://www.pwcglobal.com">PricewaterhouseCoopers</A> reports that industry executives are also painting dramatically different pictures of the digital future in 2009. In one, consumer technologies are seamlessly interconnected; in the other, television is stalled between analog and digital technology.

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Posted: Nov 22, 1998 0 comments

Media giant <A HREF="http://www.cbs.com/">CBS</A> continues to push the high-definition envelope with the first-ever broadcast of a prime-time dramatic series in HDTV. "The Other Cheek," the episode of <I>Chicago Hope</I> that aired last Wednesday, November 18, was produced by 20th Century Fox Television in cooperation with <A HREF="http://www.sony.com">Sony Electronics</A>' Broadcast and Professional Company using an extensive array of Sony's new HD equipment. It was relayed to 11 CBS affiliates, and it was available on the DirecTV satellite service. The program was broadcast in 1920x1080i, the highest-resolution version of HDTV.

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Posted: Nov 15, 1998 0 comments

Following the start of the United States' digital broadcasting system on November 1, both <A HREF="http://www.panasonic.com">Panasonic Industrial Company</A> (PIC) and <A HREF="http://www.philips.com">Philips Semiconductors</A> announced last week new all-format digital television (DTV) tuner/decoder cards. These cards will let computer users view DTV signals using their desktop PCs connected to a computer monitor or television set. As we reported <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?289">last week</A>, this could help foster the availability of $500 DTV tuners for PCs by early next year.

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Posted: Nov 15, 1998 0 comments

Following up on the start of the US's digital broadcasting system on November 1, both <A HREF="http://www.panasonic.com">Panasonic Industrial Company</A> and <A HREF="http://www.philips.com">Philips Semiconductors</A> announced last week new all-format digital television (DTV) tuner/decoder cards. These cards will allow computer users to view Digital TV (DTV) signals using their desktop PCs hooked up to either a computer monitor or television set. As we reported <A HREF="XXXXX">last week</A>, this may help foster the availabilty of $500 DTV tuners for PCs by early next year.

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Posted: Nov 07, 1998 0 comments

T<I>he Wizard of Oz</I> is 59 years old and still going strong. The beloved saga of a young Kansas girl's adventures in a magical land has just been re-released in more than 1800 theaters. Enhanced with a THX/Dolby Digital soundtrack, the restored film from Warner Bros. will carry millions of fans into the holiday season, many of whom haven't stepped into a theater in years. The visual improvements to the film are reportedly so good that each of Dorothy's freckles is clearly visible.

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Posted: Nov 01, 1998 0 comments

This week, high-definition television officially begins broadcasting. As part of the rollout, Irvine, California-based <A HREF="http://www.mitsubishi-tv.com/">Mitsubishi Consumer Electronics America Inc.</A> (MCEA) has started its first volume shipments of HDTV systems to dealers. Seven models of HDTVs will be available in all markets.

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