Barry Willis

Barry Willis  |  Dec 05, 1998  |  0 comments

Entertainment-industry executives should sleep better thanks to a recent announcement from <A HREF="">Sony Corporation</A>. On November 30, Sony announced it has developed robust, multilevel copy protection for the emerging IEEE 1394 interconnect standard, which represents an escalation in the technological war against poachers of intellectual property.

Barry Willis  |  Dec 05, 1998  |  0 comments

Two new satellites, 28 new digital broadcasting frequencies, and a new broadcast-operations center are among the trophies <A HREF="">EchoStar Communications Corporation</A> will take home in a stock-swap agreement with Rupert Murdoch's <A HREF="">News Corporation</A> and <A HREF="">MCI WorldCom</A>. The agreement with News Corp. brings litigation between the two companies to an end, and it is expected to substantially strengthen EchoStar's position as a leader in direct broadcast satellite (DBS). <A HREF="">DirecTV</A> and <A HREF="">USSB</A> are the only other serious contenders in the North American DBS market.

Barry Willis  |  Nov 29, 1998  |  0 comments

Next month, <A HREF="">Divx</A> is planning to test the widescreen waters. The company behind the pay-per-view alternative to "open" DVD recently announced that two films will be released in the widescreen format in December. "We want to see how much demand there is among our customers for widescreen," says a company spokesman.

Barry Willis  |  Nov 28, 1998  |  0 comments

A picture density four times higher than standard 480i images and a resolution of 2500x2000 pixels are specifications worth bragging about. That's exactly what <A HREF="">Sony Electronics</A> is doing with its new CRT graphics projector, the VPH-G90U. The projector features new high-resolution, electromagnetically focused 9-inch CRTs and brightness up to 350 ANSI lumens. Sony is calling the VPH-G90U "the projector of choice for installation in large and medium venues, conference rooms, home theaters, and virtual-reality applications." Sporting a list price of $35,000, the new projector will make its debut at selected dealers next month.

Barry Willis  |  Nov 21, 1998  |  0 comments

The world's "number one book and CD retailer" is now in the movie business. Last week, <A HREF=""></A> officially launched its video-sales division, offering more than 60,000 titles on video tape and more than 2000 on DVD. Prices are discounted 25-30% from the suggested list price.

Barry Willis  |  Nov 21, 1998  |  0 comments

Frank Biondi is making a very lucrative career of resigning from high-level positions. The former television executive and second-in-command at Viacom, Inc. has been forced out of the chairmanship at Universal Studios. The film-production company has not done well at the box office lately, a factor in the depressed stock price of its parent organization, Montreal-based Seagram, Ltd., which owns 80% of Universal. Former Hollywood talent agent and Creative Artists Agency co-founder Ron Meyer, who was Universal's president and chief operating officer, will take Biondi's place.

Barry Willis  |  Nov 14, 1998  |  0 comments

High-definition television will be synonymous with high-quality programming, if the nation's <A HREF="">Public Broadcasting Service</A> has anything to do with it. Last week, PBS launched its new age of HDTV with <I>Chihuly Over Venice</I>, a 90-minute documentary about Seattle glass artist Dale Chihuly. The beautifully filmed and expertly edited piece, assembled from 100 hours of raw footage, follows Chihuly and a crew of fellow artists through Italy, Ireland, Finland, and Mexico as they work with local glassblowers, creating sculptures and large-scale chandeliers for public places.

Barry Willis  |  Nov 14, 1998  |  0 comments

If ever there was a marriage made in heaven, it's big-time sports and high-definition television. CBS and Sony Electronics have teamed up to usher in the new era with four HD broadcasts of National Football League games. The first one, a Buffalo Bills/New York Jets matchup, took place November 8. The game---which the Jets won, 34-12---was seen in New York on WCBS's special channel 56. It was also available to fans in New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh, Cincinnati, Columbus, Charlotte, and Washington, DC.

Barry Willis  |  Nov 07, 1998  |  0 comments

The next generation of flat-panel displays might be on the horizon, thanks to the work of scientists at the State University of New York in Buffalo. SUNY professor of physics and chemistry Zhifang Ren heads a group of researchers who announced last Thursday that they have found an easier way to grow "nanotubes" on thin sheets of glass, which might make them perfect for use as video screens.

Barry Willis  |  Nov 01, 1998  |  0 comments

One of every five American children is seriously overweight, and government officials are pointing their fingers at television as a major contributing cause. Health experts have been observing the trend for years, but it has finally grown to the point that high-level policy makers are beginning to take note. Some, like experts speaking at a <A HREF="">US Department of Agriculture</A> conference last week, are calling it an epidemic.