Audio Video News

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Paula Nechak  |  Dec 20, 1998  |  0 comments

R<I>achel Weisz, Vincent Perez, Kathy Bates, Ian McKellen, Zoe Wanamaker, Tom Bell, Joss Ackland. Directed by Beeban Kidron. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1. Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Spanish, French). 115 minutes. 1997. Columbia TriStar 21649-D. Rated R. $22.25.</I>

 |  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.

Barry Willis  |  Dec 19, 1998  |  0 comments

The two biggest names in the direct broadcast satellite (DBS) business are about to become one. On Monday, December 14, Hughes Electronics Corporation announced that it will buy <A HREF="http://www.ussb.com/">United States Satellite Broadcasting Company</A> (USSB) for $1.3 billion in stock and cash.

Jon Iverson  |  Dec 13, 1998  |  0 comments

TV life used to be pretty simple: Stick a pair of rabbit ears on the set, and if you lived near a big city, pull in a dozen channels or so---more if you had a UHF tuner. Now we have cable as well as satellite dishes big and small. In the near future, even your phone company could get into the act with some form of digital subscriber line (DSL) service. But of all these choices, which offers the best value? Two recent studies attempt to unravel the choices facing consumers with an analysis of the options.

 |  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.

Paula Nechak  |  Dec 13, 1998  |  0 comments

J<I>onathan Schaech, Rose McGowan, James Duval. Directed by Gregg Araki. Aspect ratio: 1.33:1. Dolby Surround 2.0. 83 minutes. 1995. TRI6836. Not rated. $24.95.</I>

Barry Willis  |  Dec 12, 1998  |  0 comments

Gary Shapiro, president of the <A HREF="http://www.cemacity.org/">Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association</A> (CEMA), lashed out last week at technology-trends research firm Forrester Research after FR issued a November <A HREF="http://www.forrester.com/Marketing/0,1051,58,00.html">report</A> dismissing consumer interest in high-definition television (HDTV). The report, authored by Josh Bernoff, foresees that digital TV will take off, but that most consumers won't be sufficiently smitten with hi-def pictures to go for the technology in a big way---or at least not in a way that will fully benefit makers of HD receivers.

Barry Willis  |  Dec 12, 1998  |  0 comments

Several months into one of the biggest mergers the entertainment industry has ever seen, Seagram Company has announced that many of the film and video operations it acquired in its buyout of PolyGram NV will be absorbed into its Universal Studios division. A flurry of pink slips for PolyGram employees, a shuffling of Universal management following a box-office slump, and a hefty write-down for the current quarter are all part of the script.

Jon Iverson  |  Dec 06, 1998  |  0 comments

Cable companies have found themselves under assault from the direct broadcast satellite (DBS) forces for several years now, and they face new potential competition from local phone companies' digital subscriber line (DSL) systems. As a result, they have begun to circle their wagons in an attempt to ward off further damage.

Derek Germano  |  Dec 06, 1998  |  0 comments

A<I>nthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, John McIntire, Simon Oakland, Patricia Hitchcock. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (letterbox). Dolby Digital monaural, monaural (French). 109 minutes. 1960. Universal Home Video 20251. Rated PG. $34.98.</I>

Jon Iverson  |  Dec 06, 1998  |  0 comments

Software titan <A HREF="http://www.microsoft.com">Microsoft</A> has big eyes <I>and</I> a big stomach, as evidenced by the company's announcements at the Western Cable Show in Anaheim, California, last week. It's no secret that the software giant has been eyeing consumers' living rooms for years, hoping to get Windows CE (WinCE), a junior version of the ubiquitous Windows operating system, into portable devices and TV sets.

Barry Willis  |  Dec 05, 1998  |  0 comments

Entertainment-industry executives should sleep better thanks to a recent announcement from <A HREF="http://www.sony.com/">Sony Corporation</A>. On November 30, Sony announced it has developed robust, multilevel copy protection for the emerging IEEE 1394 interconnect standard, which represents an escalation in the technological war against poachers of intellectual property.

Barry Willis  |  Dec 05, 1998  |  0 comments

Two new satellites, 28 new digital broadcasting frequencies, and a new broadcast-operations center are among the trophies <A HREF="http://www.echostar.com/">EchoStar Communications Corporation</A> will take home in a stock-swap agreement with Rupert Murdoch's <A HREF="http://www.newscorp.com/">News Corporation</A> and <A HREF="http://www.mci.com/">MCI WorldCom</A>. The agreement with News Corp. brings litigation between the two companies to an end, and it is expected to substantially strengthen EchoStar's position as a leader in direct broadcast satellite (DBS). <A HREF="http://www.directv.com/">DirecTV</A> and <A HREF="http://www.ussb.com/">USSB</A> are the only other serious contenders in the North American DBS market.

Derek Germano  |  Nov 29, 1998  |  0 comments

J<I>ames Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (letterbox). Dolby Digital 5.1. 128 minutes. 1958. Universal Home Video 20183. Rated PG. $34.98.</I>

Barry Willis  |  Nov 29, 1998  |  0 comments

Next month, <A HREF="http://www.divx.com/">Divx</A> is planning to test the widescreen waters. The company behind the pay-per-view alternative to "open" DVD recently announced that two films will be released in the widescreen format in December. "We want to see how much demand there is among our customers for widescreen," says a company spokesman.

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