|  Jun 06, 1999  |  0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="">Microsoft</A> and <A HREF="">Wink Communications</A> announced an agreement to promote interactive content and commerce based on the <A HREF="">Advanced Television Enhancement Forum</A> (ATVEF) specification for interactive television. Wink Communications says it will optimize its Response Network Service (which provides the broadcast and cable-television industries with viewer-response services) to support ATVEF-compliant content for television devices that use the Microsoft television-software platform. In turn, Microsoft claims that it will use Wink's Response Network to handle certain ATVEF-based advertising direct-response services. As part of the agreement, Microsoft invested $30 million in Wink Communications.

 |  Jun 06, 1999  |  0 comments

According to the <A HREF="">Video Software Dealers Association</A>'s weekly VidTrac reporting service, <I>Saving Private Ryan</I> has debuted as the top-renting video ever. In its first six days of release, the report says, <I>Saving Private Ryan</I> has been rented by more consumers than any other film in the same opening-week time period.

Joel Brinkley  |  Jun 03, 1999  |  0 comments

The advance of plasma-display technology speeds on, and the Pioneer PDP-501MX is at the front of the line. This is the first plasma monitor on sale in the United States that is capable of displaying high-definition images, making it the world's most advanced, commercially available product of this type.Squeezing almost 1 million pixels into even a 50" display (measured diagonally) is quite an accomplishment. As soon as I pulled the unit out of the box and set it in its unobtrusive tabletop stand, I connected it to Panasonic's high-definition tuner box and fed the monitor an over-the-air HDTV signal. Without so much as a hiccup, the set accepted the 1920<I>x</I>1080i signal and displayed a bright, clear, sharp picture that made me smile. All this from a <I>big</I>-screen set less than 4" thick!

Barry Willis  |  May 30, 1999  |  0 comments

We've all heard of electronic devices so advanced they do everything but make your breakfast. However, you can almost smell the bacon frying with <A HREF="">EchoStar</A>'s DishPlayer. The price? Try two hundred bucks.

 |  May 30, 1999  |  0 comments

On May 19, residents of Seattle, Washington, were treated to another HDTV first: Local ABC affiliate <A HREF="">KOMO</A> launched the dual broadcast of all its newscasts in analog standard-definition on channel 4 and high-definition on KOMO-DT channel 38, making history with its 5 o'clock broadcast. KOMO-DT says it will broadcast more than 30 hours of local HD news each week.

Barry Willis  |  May 30, 1999  |  0 comments

DVD's early adopters were almost entirely technophile males, and their tastes in films were completely predictable: action and science fiction. Now that DVD players are finding their way into more homes, the popularity of other film genres in the digital format is growing.

 |  May 30, 1999  |  0 comments

Your cable company might not be the only television pipeline in town for much longer, thanks to legislation passed late Thursday, May 20, by the US Senate. The measure, backed by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), allows direct broadcast satellite (DBS) program providers to begin beaming local TV channels into the same localities from which they originate, just as cable providers have always done. A similar bill was recently passed by the US House of Representatives.

Jon Iverson  |  May 30, 1999  |  0 comments

Last week saw several IEEE 1394 announcements in anticipation of the third annual 1394 Developers Conference coming up June 2 in San Jose, California. (See <A HREF="">previous report</A>.) IEEE 1394, also known as FireWire, is a high-bandwidth local-area network (LAN) technology gaining considerable interest from consumer-electronics and computer manufacturers. IEEE 1394 can link a virtually unlimited number of home-entertainment devices with a single cable, and manufacturers hope to lower the cost of goods through a reduced number of necessary jacks, cables, and circuits.

Derek Germano  |  May 30, 1999  |  0 comments

K<I>athleen Turner, Nicolas Cage, Barry Miller, Catherine Hicks, Don Murray, Barbara Harris, Jim Carrey, Wil Shriner, Maureen O'Sullivan, Leon Ames, John Carradine, Joan Allen, Helen Hunt. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 2.0 (Dolby Surround). 103 minutes. 1986. Columbia TriStar Home Video 81849. Rated PG-13. $29.98.</I>

 |  May 23, 1999  |  0 comments

According to <A HREF="">CyberStar L.P.</A>, the world's first satellite-broadcast distribution of high-definition, all-digital motion-picture content to a movie theater was successfully conducted last week at the Cannes Film Festival. The company, which is a provider of broadband services developed by <A HREF="">Loral Space & Communications</A>, teamed with independent film producers/distributors <A HREF="">Wavelength Releasing</A> and digital film-server manufacturer QuVIS to distribute and show two short films: the Academy Award-winning <I>Bunny</I>, directed by Chris Wedge, and <I>Protest</I>, directed by S.D. Katz. Audiences viewed both films at Cannes' eCinema exhibition at the Palais Miramar on May 18-20.