Barry Willis

Barry Willis  |  Sep 26, 1998  |  0 comments

Five and one half years after the formation of digital television's Grand Alliance, the resulting technology has been honored with an <A HREF="http://www.rdmag.com/"><I>R&D Magazine</I></A> 100 Award as one of this year's most important new developments. "The key criterion of winning this award is technological significance," said the publication's Editor-in-Chief, Tim Studt. "This new DTV standard will change the quality and nature of television. It offers vastly increased visual impact, broader programming options, and the ability to use TV as an information appliance instead of just for passive entertainment."

Barry Willis  |  Sep 19, 1998  |  0 comments

As applied to Hollywood's profits and losses, creative writing could soon become a much more difficult craft. On September 18, a new set of strict accounting guidelines for film studios was taken under consideration by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, a movie-industry panel that establishes rules for accountants. The new standards are designed to bring Hollywood accounting more into line with standard business practices, or "to make the balance sheet tighter, more representationally faithful," as Standards Board project manager Frank Scheuerell puts it.

Barry Willis  |  Sep 19, 1998  |  0 comments

DVD will be getting a big boost this fall. <A HREF="http://www.sel.sony.com/">Sony</A> has announced a multipronged promotion with Internet film distributor <A HREF="http://www.netflix.com/">NetFlix</A> and several major video retailers that will expose thousands of movie lovers to the new format. The program will run simultaneously with one <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?242">announced</A> recently by <A HREF="http://www.blockbuster.com/video/">Blockbuster Video</A> and <A HREF="http://www.philips.com/">Philips Electronics</A>. The Sony/NetFlix and Blockbuster/Philips promotionals were announced in the wake of <A HREF="http://www.circuitcity.com/">Circuit City</A>'s <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?243">admission</A> that, without outside funding, it will have to cut back on its Divx marketing effort.

Barry Willis  |  Sep 12, 1998  |  0 comments

Later this month, more than 500 of <A HREF="http://www.blockbuster.com/video">Blockbuster Video</A>'s approximately 6000 stores will install rental kiosks stocked with DVD players from <A HREF="http://www.philips.com/">Philips Consumer Electronics</A>. Participating stores will also expand their selection of DVDs to more than 350 titles for rent and 150 for sale.

Barry Willis  |  Sep 12, 1998  |  0 comments

Akira Kurosawa is gone, but his legacy lives on in repertory cinema houses around the world and on video. The man whom Steven Spielberg called "the pictorial Shakespeare of our time" died of a stroke at his home in Tokyo on September 6. He was 88.

Barry Willis  |  Sep 12, 1998  |  0 comments

An otherwise good year for <A HREF="http://www.circuitcity.com/">Circuit City</A> could be marred by the debut of Divx. On August 31, the Richmond, VA-based company announced that earnings for the most recent quarter of their fiscal year would increase from 44 to 46 cents per share, up primarily on the sales strength of DSS, computers, wireless and mobile electronics, and major appliances. However, investments in Divx could reduce earnings substantially for the second half, during which the pay-per-view DVD alternative will get its official launch.

Barry Willis  |  Sep 05, 1998  |  0 comments

Video stores decked out like ships, replicas of the doomed ocean liner carved from huge blocks of ice, memorabilia priced off the chart---it was all part of the seemingly endless hysteria surrounding James Cameron's <I>Titanic</I> as the first video copies hit the street last week. Stores remained open late to serve eager fans, who waited in long lines to buy the film when it went on sale at 12:01 am, Tuesday, September 1. According to Bruce Apar, editor of <I>Video Business</I> magazine, "Inarguably, <I>Titanic</I> is the biggest video event in years. This is the kind of marquee title that gets people into the stores to buy other titles as well."

Barry Willis  |  Aug 29, 1998  |  0 comments

New music revitalizes old movie: the Kronos Quartet has just completed an intense eight-day recording session at Lucasfilm's Skywalker Ranch studio in Marin County, north of San Francisco. The Quartet laid down a Philip Glass score for a reissue of <I>Dracula</I>, the 1931 horror flick starring B&#233;la Lugosi. The effort is part of a <A HREF="http://www.mca.com/home/">Universal Home Video</A> project that will bring classic early horror films to a new audience.

Barry Willis  |  Aug 29, 1998  |  0 comments

Satellite broadcasting will be first out of the chute with HDTV. While local broadcasters scramble to comply with FCC mandates to be HD-ready by 1999, satellite services are almost there. On August 25, U.S. Satellite Broadcasting (USSB) announced that it will lease transponder space from DirecTV at the 95&#176;W fixed location so it can begin transmitting HDTV previews. DirecTV will also beam HD programming from the same satellite.

Barry Willis  |  Aug 22, 1998  |  0 comments

Convergence might be the brunt of jokes in some quarters, but not at 7 Mark Drive in San Rafael, CA. That's the home of <A HREF="http://www.net-tv.net/">NetTV</A>, which has just announced its new ExtremeDVD home-entertainment system. ExtremeDVD is optimized for 3-D gaming, Internet access, satellite downloads, and high-resolution movie playback.

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