Audio Video News

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Fred Manteghian  |  Oct 04, 1998  |  0 comments

In what they've billed as their continuing commitment to the growth and development of the DVD marketplace, <A HREF="">Universal Studios</A> announced 20 DVD titles with DTS audio tracks to be released in the first half of 1999. The opening volley, which includes <I>Dante's Peak</I>, <I>Waterworld</I>, <I>Liar Liar</I>, and <I>Daylight</I>, is expected in January. Other titles to follow are <I>The Shadow</I>, <I>Babe</I>, <I>The River Wild</I>, <I>The Getaway</I>, <I>The Nutty Professor</I>, <I>Apollo 13</I>, <I>Happy Gilmore</I>, <I>12 Monkeys</I>, <I>Dragonheart</I>, <I>The Jackal</I>, <I>The Frighteners</I>, <I>Born on the Fourth of July</I>, <I>The Boxer</I>, <I>For Richer or Poorer</I>, <I>Blues Brothers 2000</I>, and <I>Primary Colors</I>.

Barry Willis  |  Oct 03, 1998  |  0 comments

CD is the dominant software medium today, but DVD will gradually replace it, according to panelists at the DVD-Audio Forum conference last week at the Hyatt Regency Hotel near the San Francisco airport. Higher storage capacity and greater versatility, including multichannel audio, mean greater value for consumers. The panel also predicted that the popularity of DVD-ROM will grow exponentially in the next three years, and the use of DVD-RAM---recordable media-----will easily triple within that period. Computers equipped with DVD "burners" are already on the market.

Barry Willis  |  Oct 03, 1998  |  0 comments

Where do captains of industry go when their cash cows begin to produce sour milk? To Washington DC, where they beg for regulatory intervention. That's where CBS Station Group Manager Mel Kazmarin was last week, and that's what he was doing---asking the Federal Communications Commission to reconsider its prohibition against one TV network owning more than 35% of the available commercial broadcast stations in the country.

Dave Thompson  |  Sep 27, 1998  |  0 comments

P<I>eter Weller (Robert John Burke in 3), Nancy Allen, Daniel Herlihy. Directed by Paul Verhoeven (1), Irvin Kershner (2), Fred Dekker (3). Aspect ratio: 1.85:1. Dolby Digital Surround. 103 minutes (1), 116 minutes (2), 105 minutes (3). 1987, 1990, 1993. Image Entertainment ID4071ORDVD (1), ID4072ORDVD (2), ID4073ORDVD (3). Rated R, R, PG-13. $24.95 each.</I>

 |  Sep 27, 1998  |  0 comments

Last week, IBM announced the introduction of its <A HREF="">IBM Home Director</A> home networking system, controllable from a PC or television screen. Although initially targeted at the new-home construction market, IBM says that Home Director can be retrofitted to most existing homes.

Barry Willis  |  Sep 26, 1998  |  0 comments

Five and one half years after the formation of digital television's Grand Alliance, the resulting technology has been honored with an <A HREF=""><I>R&D Magazine</I></A> 100 Award as one of this year's most important new developments. "The key criterion of winning this award is technological significance," said the publication's Editor-in-Chief, Tim Studt. "This new DTV standard will change the quality and nature of television. It offers vastly increased visual impact, broader programming options, and the ability to use TV as an information appliance instead of just for passive entertainment."

Barry Willis  |  Sep 26, 1998  |  0 comments

Early indications don't look promising for <A HREF="">Circuit City</A>'s pay-per-view alternative as the DVD/Divx war begins to heat up in earnest. Recently, a neutral, informative <A HREF="">introducti... to Divx by Chris Stamper appeared on the ABC News website. Stamper's story included an opportunity for readers---who, presumably, had read the piece and were now reasonably well-informed about Divx---to vote on whether or not they would spend $449.99 for a Divx player.

Jon Iverson  |  Sep 20, 1998  |  0 comments

It's hard enough to transform one facet of the consumer-electronics industry, let alone three or four. But if Motorola's recent gamble with their new set-top box technology (code-named "<A HREF="">Blackbird</A>") pays off, they could accomplish just that.

 |  Sep 20, 1998  |  0 comments

Less than four years old, <A HREF="">DirecTV</A> announced last week that its subscriber base has hit the four-million mark, which puts it in one of every 25 TV households in the US. Other interesting statistics about DirecTV: 120 million pay-per-view movies and special-event purchases have been made; a total of approximately 200,000 hours of professional and collegiate sporting events have been broadcast; and a monthly churn rate of 1% has been maintained. (This is the percentage of subscribers who disconnect; DirecTV claims its churn rate is the lowest in the multichannel-video industry.)

 |  Sep 20, 1998  |  0 comments

Less than four years old, <A HREF="">DirecTV</A> announced last week that it has hit the four million subscriber mark, a number that the company says puts it in one of every 25 TV households in the US. Other interesting statistics about DirecTV: 120 million pay-per-view movies and special event purchases have been made; A total of approximately 200,000 hours of professional and collegiate sporting events have been broadcast; Maintained a monthly churn rate (percentage of subscribers who disconnect) of 1 percent (DirecTV claims that this is the lowest in the multichannel video industry. )

Robert Deutsch  |  Sep 20, 1998  |  0 comments

B<I>ill Murray, Joanne Whalley, Richard Wilson, Alfred Molina, Peter Gallagher. Directed by Jon Amiel. Aspect ratios: 1.85:1 (anamorphic), side one; pan&scan, side 2. Dolby Digital 5.1. 94 minutes. 1997. Warner Bros. 15626. Rated PG. $24.95.</I>

 |  Sep 19, 1998  |  0 comments

Evolution, not revolution. That's how Fujio Nishida, president of <A HREF="">Sony Electronics</A> Consumer Products Marketing Group, characterizes the coming debut of high-definition television. "This is just the beginning," Nishida said at a press conference on September 16 at which Sony's first direct-view HDTV, the KW-HD1, was unveiled.

Barry Willis  |  Sep 19, 1998  |  0 comments

As applied to Hollywood's profits and losses, creative writing could soon become a much more difficult craft. On September 18, a new set of strict accounting guidelines for film studios was taken under consideration by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, a movie-industry panel that establishes rules for accountants. The new standards are designed to bring Hollywood accounting more into line with standard business practices, or "to make the balance sheet tighter, more representationally faithful," as Standards Board project manager Frank Scheuerell puts it.

Barry Willis  |  Sep 19, 1998  |  0 comments

DVD will be getting a big boost this fall. <A HREF="">Sony</A> has announced a multipronged promotion with Internet film distributor <A HREF="">NetFlix</A> and several major video retailers that will expose thousands of movie lovers to the new format. The program will run simultaneously with one <A HREF="">announced</A> recently by <A HREF="">Blockbuster Video</A> and <A HREF="">Philips Electronics</A>. The Sony/NetFlix and Blockbuster/Philips promotionals were announced in the wake of <A HREF="">Circuit City</A>'s <A HREF="">admission</A> that, without outside funding, it will have to cut back on its Divx marketing effort.

Jon Iverson  |  Sep 13, 1998  |  0 comments

The annual Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) show has just vacated New Orleans, leaving several interesting announcements for home-theater fans in its wake. Custom-installation products and home-automation technologies usually cram the aisles, but among the in-wall speakers and specialized wiring systems were plenty of new consumer-electronics products.