Paula Nechak  |  Jun 20, 1999  |  0 comments

H<I>olly Hunter, Danny DeVito, Queen Latifah, Martin Donovan. Directed by Richard LaGravenese. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (letterbox). Dolby Digital 5.1. 100 minutes. 1998. New Line Home Video N4726. Rated R. $24.95.</I>

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 20, 1999  |  0 comments

I have seen the future, and it is digital. On June 18, cinematic history was made as <I>Star Wars: Episode 1---The Phantom Menace</I> became the first movie in the U.S. to be publicly screened from a digital source rather than a film print (see <A HREF="">related story</A>).

 |  Jun 13, 1999  |  0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="">DirecTV</A>, a subsidiary of <A HREF="">Hughes Electronics</A>, announced that its direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) television service acquired 110,000 new customers in May. This figure is a record for that month, the company reports, and a 57% increase in net customer acquisition over May 1998. An additional 145,000 customers---who previously subscribed only to programming from US Satellite Broadcasting---were gained last month by DirecTV when Hughes completed its merger with USSB on May 20.

 |  Jun 13, 1999  |  0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="">Panasonic</A> announced that it will market hard-disk video recorders with <A HREF="">ReplayTV</A> technology under the Panasonic brand. The company expects to be one of the first outside Replay Networks, Inc. to market hard-disk recorders with ReplayTV, which allows television viewers to record shows "on the fly" directly onto a built-in hard disk.

Barry Willis  |  Jun 13, 1999  |  0 comments

Plasma displays have taken a big leap toward affordability. On June 10, <A HREF="">Fujitsu General America Inc.</A> announced a major reduction in the price of its Plasmavision 42 at the InfoComm International '99 confab in Orlando, Florida. The new price of $6995 is a 30% drop from the former suggested retail of almost $10,000---and half the price of the 42's predecessor, which was introduced at CES in 1997.

 |  Jun 13, 1999  |  0 comments

Last month, at HI-FI '99 in Chicago, Telarc's Bob Woods dismissed fears of a format war between the Super Audio Compact Disc---a format developed and promoted by Sony/Philips---and DVD-Audio. "Someone will make a universal player," he promised.

Barry Willis  |  Jun 13, 1999  |  0 comments

News Corporation's <A HREF="">Fox Network</A> and the <A HREF="">National Association of Broadcasters</A> have gone their separate ways. Fox made the announcement on June 8 in protest over the Association's refusal to lobby against legal limits on the number of television stations one company can own. The limit is now defined by Federal law as a total number of stations that reach no more than 35% of the more than 100 million homes in the US. Three weeks earlier, <A HREF="">NBC</A>, a unit of General Electric, had threatened similar action over the NAB's refusal to change its policy.

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>

 |  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.

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>.