Audio Video News

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 |  Jul 11, 1999  |  0 comments

As <A HREF="">reported last week</A>, more than 1.1 million DVD-Video players were shipped through the first half of 1999. Additional information released by the <A HREF="">DVD Video Group</A> puts these numbers in perspective: DVD-Video experienced 300% growth in the second quarter of 1999, when more than 730,000 hardware units were shipped (compared to 170,000 in the second quarter of 1998). Further, the Group says that shipments for the first six months of 1999 constitute an increase of 881,000 units over the same period in 1998, also representing more than 300% growth. (Over 1 million units shipped in the first half of 1999; in the first six months of 1998, slightly more than 260,000 units shipped.)

Jon Iverson  |  Jul 11, 1999  |  0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="">Panasonic Consumer Electronics</A> announced the retail launch of its new digital VCR&mdash;or, as they call it, a D-VHS VCR. The new PV-HD1000 will begin shipping this month. It carries a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $999.95 and marks the first DTV-compatible VCR to hit the US market.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 11, 1999  |  0 comments

S<I>tar Wars&mdash;Episode 1: The Phantom Menace</I> might have grabbed all the attention as the first movie to be screened in the US from a digital source rather than a film print (see <A HREF="">previous story</A>), but it's not the only one to use the new technology. With virtually no fanfare at all, <I>An Ideal Husband</I> is being shown from a digital source at Laemmle's Sunset 5 theater in Los Angeles through July 15, 1999.

Paula Nechak  |  Jul 11, 1999  |  0 comments

J<I>ason Patric, Irene Jacob, Ian Richardson, Ian Holm, Rod Steiger. Directed by John Badham. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (letterbox). Dolby Digital Surround 5.1. 108 minutes. 1997. Warner Bros. Home Video 14538. Rated R. $24.95.</I>

 |  Jul 11, 1999  |  0 comments

For 20 years, Pioneer has been laserdisc's biggest booster. But that era of home entertainment ended July 6, when <A HREF="">Pioneer Entertainment</A> announced that it would no longer produce or supply laserdiscs. The software division of Pioneer Electronics made the decision in view of the growing popularity of DVD, which, along with VHS tape, accounts for more than 90% of their business. The announcement is most certainly the kiss of death for the beleaguered format.

Barry Willis  |  Jul 11, 1999  |  0 comments

A payout of as much as $275 million to Jeffery Katzenberg could be in the offing for <A HREF="">Walt Disney Company</A>, which agreed on July 6 to settle a five-year-old breach-of-contract suit brought by the former studio executive. One of Hollywood's longest-running and most bitter legal disputes was settled over the July 4 weekend at the Malibu estate of music mogul and DreamWorks partner David Geffen, who hammered out a deal with Stanley Gold, a Disney Company director and friend of Disney CEO Michael Eisner. Geffen is Katzenberg's partner in DreamWorks SKG, the film, music, and video company they formed with Steven Spielberg.

 |  Jul 04, 1999  |  0 comments

Last week, the <A HREF="">Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association</A> (CEMA) reported that sales of DVD players have reached 1 million units so far this year. CEMA also announced its revised projections for total DVD-player unit sales in 1999, raising the previous prediction of 1.8 million to 3 million.

 |  Jul 04, 1999  |  0 comments

Twenty years ago, 60% of Americans said they would hesitate to see a movie if it were excessively violent. But according to an Associated Press poll released last week, a steady diet of action films over the last two decades have had a marked effect: Now, only 40% say that too much violence would keep them out of the theater.

Barry Willis  |  Jul 04, 1999  |  0 comments

As of June 27, <A HREF="">Walt Disney Motion Picture Group</A> Chairman Richard Cook will add home video to his duty roster. A 28-year veteran with the Disney organization, Cook will supervise Buena Vista Home Entertainment, the studio's home-video operation. At the insistence of CEO Michael Eisner, Disney is restructuring in an attempt to become more profitable.

Jon Iverson  |  Jul 04, 1999  |  0 comments

While watching <I>Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me</I>, one can't help but notice the groovy car driven by Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham): a 1965 red-white-and-blue Corvette Stingray convertible. Wouldn't it be nice to have one of your own? And what about the silver suit worn by Doctor Evil---wouldn't it be cool to have the original for the ultimate Halloween costume this year?

Barry Willis  |  Jun 27, 1999  |  0 comments

Bad news always comes in threes, goes the old adage. This folk wisdom proved true in Hollywood in late June as three major film studios announced cutbacks, layoffs, reorganizations---and the possible cancellation of a massive studio-building project.

 |  Jun 27, 1999  |  0 comments

Last week, the DVD Forum announced that its Steering Committee has formally approved the physical format of the DVD-RAM discs for 4.7 gigabytes (GB) as version 2.0. The Format Book for version 2.0 (Physical Specifications) will be published in the third quarter of this year. The DVD Froum says that the 4.7GB DVD-RAM format will be compatible with the existing 2.6GB (v.1.0) DVD-RAM format, as well as with other DVD formats established by the DVD Forum. The new 4.7GB format is expected to impact both PC and audio/video applications.

Barry Willis  |  Jun 27, 1999  |  0 comments

One of every four film productions conceived and set in motion in the United States is now largely produced out of the country---the result of studio executives obsessed about extracting the highest possible profit at the lowest possible cost. About 23,500 entertainment-industry jobs and $2.8 billion worth of TV and movie projects were taken offshore or over the border last year, according to James Bates in the June 25 <A HREF=" Angeles Times</I></A>. The phenomenon, known in Hollywood as "runaway" filmmaking, could ripple through the entire US economy with an effect of as much as $10 billion.

Michael Metzger  |  Jun 27, 1999  |  0 comments

D<I>avid Bennett, Angela Winkler, Mario Adorf, Katharina Thalbach, Daniel Olbrychski. Directed by Volker Schl&ouml;ndorff. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (letterbox). Dolby Digital 5.1. 142 minutes. 1979. Image Entertainment/Kino Video K104. Rated R. $39.99.</I>

 |  Jun 20, 1999  |  0 comments

A plasma display's compact physical size, perfectly flat screen, and pixel-sharp picture answer many prayers for home-theater enthusiasts. There are a few downsides, however, including a lack of true blacks and prices equal to a new small car. But one of the biggest drawbacks so far is far too few pixels to properly present an HDTV image. To solve this problem, several manufacturers are creating larger displays with higher resolutions.