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>.

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.

 |  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.