Audio Video News

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Barry Willis  |  May 28, 2000  |  0 comments

Entertainment systems may be easier for consumers to hook up in the near future, thanks to an agreement on labeling standards reached in Washington, DC on May 24 by representatives of the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org/">Consumer Electronics Association</A> and the <A HREF="http://www.ncta.com/">National Cable Television Association</A>. Labels to appear on new equipment will make it clear whether the digital TV sets provide only cable programming, or whether they are also compatible with other digital devices, such as set-top boxes providing interactive capabilities, video-on-demand, and other services.

 |  May 28, 2000  |  0 comments

Rumors of network television's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Despite a declining viewership&mdash;several studies have shown that a smaller proportion of the population than ever is watching network TV&mdash;the networks are pulling in a record amount of money from advertising. Total "upfront" ad sales&mdash;those sold in the spring, before Memorial Day, for the following season&mdash;for all six broadcast networks will reach $8 billion, according to several news reports the last week in May. The networks have already sold about 80% of available prime-time advertising slots.

Barry Willis  |  May 21, 2000  |  0 comments

The finger-pointing and barb-hurling over the slow rollout of digital television continued through mid-May. The latest episode occurred on Wednesday the 17th, when the <A HREF="http://www.nab.org/">National Association of Broadcasters</A> (NAB) laid the blame on the <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A> (FCC) for its laxity in requiring cable providers to carry digital signals. Electronics manufacturers should also be held to stricter standards, the NAB said.

 |  May 21, 2000  |  0 comments

According to figures released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) last week, early sales of digital television (DTV) outpace those of color TVs, video cassette recorders (VCRs), and digital broadcast satellite (DBS) systems combined. Speaking at the International Electronic Cinema Festival (IECF) in Portland, Oregon, CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro called DTV "our biggest blockbuster yet," while expressing concern about limited DTV and high-definition television (HDTV) programming availability.

Barry Willis  |  May 21, 2000  |  0 comments

One of the most overhyped experiments in multimedia is disappearing. Two-year-old <A HREF="http://www.den.net">Digital Entertainment Network</A>, which attempted TV-style programming over the Internet, has decided to close down its operations after finding itself unable to raise the capital needed to continue. The company ran through approximately $65 million dollars during its short life, according to several news reports.

Dan Yakir  |  May 21, 2000  |  0 comments

T<I>oshiro Mifune, Kyoko Kagawa, Tatsuya Nakadai, Tatsuya Mihashi, Takashi Shimura. Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (letterbox). Mono. 143 minutes. 1963. The Criterion Collection 24. NR. $39.95.</I>

Jon Iverson  |  May 21, 2000  |  0 comments

It would appear inevitable that digital video recorders are going mainstream when one of the largest manufacturers of conventional taped-based VCRs leaps into the market with a competitive product. This is exactly what was announced last week, when <A HREF="http://www.sony.com">Sony Corp.</A> revealed that it has released the SVR-2000 Digital Network Recorder, based on the <A HREF="http://www.tivo.com">TiVo</A> Personal TV Service.

 |  May 14, 2000  |  0 comments

Power struggles among media companies can erode public and regulatory trust in the cable industry, <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A> chairman William Kennard warned attendees at the <A HREF="http://www.ncta.org/">National Cable Television Association</A>'s annual convention in New Orleans last week. Kennard referred specifically to the recent squabble between Disney Corporation and Time Warner, which led to a blackout of Disney's ABC network in key markets earlier this month. Such actions call into question the ability of the industry to police itself, Kennard told cable executives.

Barry Willis  |  May 14, 2000  |  0 comments

The business world has a strange way of making putative adversaries into the best of friends. <A HREF="http://www.blockbuster.com/">Blockbuster Inc.</A>, the nation's largest video rental chain, has struck a sweetheart deal with <A HREF="http://www.directv.com/">DirecTV</A>, the nation's largest direct-broadcast satellite service. The two businesses have long been viewed as competitors for the same customers.

 |  May 14, 2000  |  0 comments

The sky will become a bit more crowded next year as <A HREF="http://www.bellsouth.com/">BellSouth Corporation</A> debuts a new direct-broadcast satellite service. The Atlanta-based telecommunications company announced May 8 that it will launch the new service in 2001 in the hope of expanding its communications and programming services.

Barry Willis  |  May 14, 2000  |  0 comments

It's been decades since Hollywood produced a topnotch Roman epic. A staple of the film industry through the mid-1960s, sword'n'sandal extravaganzas fell out of favor with both film studios and audiences with the cultural and political upheavals of the late 1960s.

Paula Nechak  |  May 14, 2000  |  0 comments

T<I>oni Collette, Bill Hunter, Rachel Griffiths, Matt Day. Directed by P.J. Hogan. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (widescreen). Dolby Digital Surround. 105 minutes. 1994. Miramax Home Entertainment 16542. R. $29.95.</I>

 |  May 07, 2000  |  0 comments

The month of March was the best ever for factory-to-dealer sales of digital television sets and displays, reported the <A HREF="http://www.cea.org/">Consumer Electronics Association</A> on April 27. Unit sales totaled 24,332&mdash;a 7% increase over February sales, and 343% over March 1999. Since the introduction of DTV in August 1998, a total of 202,586 DTV units has been sold to dealers, according to the CEA's latest figures.

Barry Willis  |  May 07, 2000  |  0 comments

Video-on-demand (VOD) is coming soon to more than 1.2 million homes in Los Angeles, courtesy of <A HREF="http://www.chartercom.com/">Charter Communications, Inc.</A>, the fourth-largest cable operator in the US. Charter has completed an agreement with Redwood City, CA&ndash;based <A HREF="http://www.divatv.com/">DIVA Systems Corporation</A> to provide VOD software and hardware for customers in Long Beach, Pasadena, Alhambra, Monterey Park, Glendale, and Burbank.

Barry Willis  |  May 07, 2000  |  0 comments

The <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A> has approved the merger of media conglomerate <A HREF="http://www.viacom.com/">Viacom Inc.</A> and <A HREF="http://www.cbs.com/">CBS Corporation</A>, one of the "Big Three" television networks. Viacom will acquire CBS in a stock swap; the resulting entity will have one year to unload enough stations to bring it into compliance with regulations limiting its share of the television viewing audience to 35% of the total market. Stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas&ndash;Ft. Worth, Baltimore, and Sacramento may be sold to comply with the restriction. The approval was granted Tuesday, May 2.

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