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Barry Willis  |  Nov 28, 1999  |  0 comments

The Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999, <A HREF="">recently passed</A> by Congress and expected to be signed into law by President Clinton, will usher in a new level of competition to the television broadcasting industry&mdash;and a new era of service for viewers, according to direct-broadcast satellite service <A HREF="">DirecTV</A>. The bill allows DBS companies to provide signals from local TV stations, just as cable companies have always done.

Jon Iverson  |  Nov 28, 1999  |  0 comments

A recently released study has found that the high price of digital television sets, high capital investment costs, lack of advertising support, and scant offerings from broadcasters have restrained the penetration of digital television since its rollout in November 1998. But the report concludes that "despite its anti-climactic beginning, digital television still represents an important and potentially lucrative market in the consumer television industry."

Jon Iverson  |  Nov 28, 1999  |  0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="">Pioneer</A> announced that next year it will be the first to offer DVD recorder/players and recordable DVDs to consumers in North America and Europe. According to Pioneer, the new machines will allow recording times of up to six hours, indicating that the recorder will compress the video beyond the MPEG-2 compression found on commercially released DVDs.

Lawrence B. Johnson  |  Nov 28, 1999  |  0 comments

A<B>ll Quiet on the Western Front</B> (DVD)<BR><I>Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Slim Summerville, William Bakewell. Directed by Lewis Milestone. Aspect ratio: 1.33:1. Dolby Digital mono. B&W. 130 minutes. 1930. Universal 20510. NR. $24.98.</I>

 |  Nov 28, 1999  |  0 comments

Rockets launched into space move slowly at liftoff, but with thrust continually applied, they gain momentum until they break free of Earth's gravity. The Digital Versatile Disc has done something similar, according to the latest figures from the <A HREF="">Consumer Electronics Association</A>: As of November 23, the DVD is the hottest-selling consumer-electronics product in history.

Barry Willis  |  Nov 28, 1999  |  0 comments

Want to own a piece of the studio that produced <I>Saving Private Ryan</I>? If you're a big player, you may soon have a chance to do so&mdash;through your broker. <A HREF="">DreamWorks SKG</A>, the entertainment combine founded by Stephen Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen, wants to raise $525 million through the sale of debt securities. The infusion of cash will be used to refinance old debts as well as to fund new productions, and will be repaid by worldwide box-office receipts, and video revenues from movies already in inventory or as yet unmade.

Michael Metzger  |  Nov 21, 1999  |  0 comments

L<I>eni Riefenstahl. Directed by Ray M&#252;ller. Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 (full-screen). Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono). 188 minutes. 1993. Kino Video/Image Entertainment K107. Not rated. $34.99.</I>

 |  Nov 21, 1999  |  0 comments

Factory-to-dealer sales of digital television sets exceeded 20,000 units in October, a new one-month record. October's total of 21,432 units shipped was an increase of 42% over September's 15,600, the previous one-month record. More than 88,000 units have been sold since the new format was rolled out in 1998, with 75,000 of those units sold in 1999.

Barry Willis  |  Nov 21, 1999  |  0 comments

A new Nielsen report claims that kids are watching slightly less TV than they were 10 years ago, but another study claims that they are spending almost an entire work week, every week, with media of all kinds. That's the conclusion of <I>Kids & Media @ The New Millennium</I>, released recently by the Menlo Park, California philanthropic organization <A HREF="">The Kaiser Family Foundation</A>. TV and music are by far the biggest occupiers of kids' time, the report states, with computers and the Internet a distant second. Reading for pleasure&mdash;that done apart from schoolwork&mdash;occupies only about 45 minutes per day for 80% of the children surveyed.

 |  Nov 21, 1999  |  0 comments

All was going reasonably well with HDTV until recently, when <A HREF="">Sinclair Broadcasting Company</A>, which owns several TV stations around the US, threw the FCC a curveball by claiming that the adopted 8-VSB standard was insufficient to roll HDTV out around the country. Sinclair had conducted tests which, it said, proved that the COFDM technology, favored by European and Asian broadcasters, would be a better choice. (See <A HREF="">previous report</A>.)

Jon Iverson  |  Nov 21, 1999  |  0 comments

Both <A HREF="">Sony Electronics</A> and <A HREF="">Panavision</A> say they will soon deliver the first prototype 24-frame-progressive high-definition camera system to <A HREF="">Lucasfilm</A> for testing prior to its being used in shooting the next two <I>Star Wars</I> films. The companies say that this announcement signifies the beginning of a new era in high-definition digital cinematography.

Barry Willis  |  Nov 21, 1999  |  0 comments

The nation's 10 million satellite TV subscribers may soon be able to receive local broadcasts through their dish antennas, thanks to a bill passed in Washington on Thursday, November 18. Direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) services had been hamstrung in their efforts to compete with cable companies because of <A HREF="">Federal Communications Commission</A> restrictions that forbade them to retransmit local signals within areas reachable by stations originating those signals.

 |  Nov 14, 1999  |  0 comments

Flat-panel displays are moving up to the next level of performance, thanks to <A HREF="">International Business Machines</A>. On Wednesday, November 10, the company announced what observers called an "eye-popping" LCD screen with an astounding 123 pixels (picture elements) per square inch&mdash;more than twice the typical 55-per-square-inch pixel count of high-definition television screens. The almost-21-inch-diagonal screen, dubbed the QX20, is capable of resolutions as high as 2048x1536.

Barry Willis  |  Nov 14, 1999  |  0 comments

Children's programming seems to fill a huge number of time slots on television these days. What once was a minor business in the broadcasting industry has become a giant in its own right. The industry is throwing increasing amounts of capital at developers of children's programming in the hope of creating brand loyalty and thereby pulling in lucrative advertising dollars.

Jon Iverson  |  Nov 14, 1999  |  0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="">The Walt Disney Company</A> and <A HREF="">Texas Instruments</A> announced that DLP Cinema technology will be featured in an all-digital showing of Disney/Pixar's new computer-animated film, <I>Toy Story 2</I>, at six locations in North America. According to the companies, <I>Toy Story 2</I> will be the first major studio feature to be released simultaneously in both digital and traditional film formats.