|  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.

Barry Willis  |  Jun 06, 1999  |  0 comments

A bout of box-office flops might have run its course at <A HREF="">Universal Pictures</A>. <I>The Mummy</I> has surprised skeptics by pulling in more than $118 million in ticket sales through the week of June 4. The remake of the classic horror flick is helping to pull the struggling studio out of its prolonged slump. The film division of <A HREF="">Seagram Ltd.</A> was the conglomerate's worst-performing division last year.

Wes Phillips  |  Jun 06, 1999  |  0 comments

W<I>arren Beatty, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Oliver Platt, Paul Sorvino, Jack Warren, Isaiah Washington. Directed by Warren Beatty. Aspect ratio: 1:85:1. Dolby Digital. 108 minutes. 1998. 20th Century Fox 4110398. Rated R. $34.98.</I>

Barry Willis  |  Jun 06, 1999  |  0 comments

In the wake of a rash of horrendous school shootings, President Clinton has ordered a federal study of marketing strategies used to promote movies, music, and video games. The <A HREF="">Federal Trade Commission</A> has been given a $1 million budget and 18 months to complete the study, which will be "designed to lift a veil on whether production companies deliberately use violent imagery and language to lure young consumers," according to a June 1 report by the <A HREF=""><I>Washington Post</I></A>.

 |  Jun 06, 1999  |  0 comments

Most Net-connected movie fans have heard of downloading films. They have sampled AVI files and found the results less than satisfying. The digital video is jerky, out of focus, and suffers from terrible pixelation effects---all caused by slow microprocessors and low frame rates. The present typical state of the art isn't high enough for most folks to take Internet video seriously.

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!

 |  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.

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.

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.

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>