Barry Willis

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="">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.

Barry Willis  |  Aug 15, 1998  |  0 comments

In the comic books of the 1960s, "X-Ray Specs" were hot commodities in the back-page ads. The mail-order eyeware supposedly enabled users to see through walls, doors, and ordinary clothing---a compelling motivation for millions of adolescent males who saved their lunch money for weeks to buy them. In what was probably their first introduction to marketing hype, the disappointed boys discovered that the specs were a fraud.

Barry Willis  |  Aug 15, 1998  |  0 comments

The format war is heating up. <A HREF="">Circuit City</A> has enlisted a third ally as it prepares to go nationwide with the launch of Divx. On August 11, Denver's 30-store <A HREF="">Ultimate Electronics</A> chain threw its weight behind the pay-per-view format. California-based retailer <A HREF="">The Good Guys</A> has been a Divx partner since early in the game.

Barry Willis  |  Aug 08, 1998  |  0 comments

Currently, a relative handful of people worldwide subscribe to Internet-on-TV services. However, according to a recent study by <A HREF="">SRI Consulting</A>, a research firm based in Menlo Park, California, the number of Net-TV subscribers will mushroom to over 12 million in less than four years, and the cable industry is in the best position to serve these new customers.

Barry Willis  |  Aug 08, 1998  |  0 comments

A lawsuit filed Friday, July 31, in a Los Angeles US District Court could delay by many months <A HREF="">Seagram Ltd.</A>'s widely publicized takeover of <A HREF="">PolyGram NV</A>. The international mega-merger, valued at $10.4 billion, has ground to a halt because of a $100 million suit brought by <A HREF="">Image Entertainment Inc.</A>, a video distributor based in Chatsworth, California.

Barry Willis  |  Aug 01, 1998  |  0 comments

On July 30, Thomson Multimedia announced a five-way agreement with a consortium of high-tech companies to produce its next generation of interactive TV software and hardware. <A HREF="">Microsoft</A>, <A HREF="">NEC of Japan</A>, <A HREF="">DirecTV</A>, and <A HREF="">Alcatel SA</A> of France will each take a 7.5% stake in the company to start the new venture. The nation of France, which owns parent company Thomson SA, will hold the remaining 70% of Thomson stock.

Barry Willis  |  Aug 01, 1998  |  0 comments

The Internet is "more than a marketing medium---it's a revenue stream," says <A HREF="">New Line Cinema</A>'s Gordon Paddison, one of a growing army of Hollywood promoters who are using the Internet to build interest in current films as well as those that are about to be released. Paddison has run several promotions on <A HREF=""></A> that have lured thousands of customers into theaters to redeem coupons available only on the Web.

Barry Willis  |  Jul 26, 1998  |  0 comments

The lack of local programming has long been perceived as an obstacle to the growth of Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) television. However, this assumption might be in error, according to two studies recently conducted by the <A HREF="">Strategis Group</A>, a communications marketing research organization with offices in Washington DC, London, and Singapore.

Barry Willis  |  Jul 25, 1998  |  0 comments

In March, the <A HREF="">Federal Communications Commission</A> adopted new technical standards for so-called "V-chips"---programmable controllers that selectively block programs containing excessive violence, profanity, or sex. The regulations passed with congressional and presidential approval and were heralded as an empowering solution for working parents unable to supervise their children's viewing habits. A voluntary ratings system codes each program for objectionable material, and that code is transmitted with the program. Owners of V-chip-equipped receivers will be able to lock out any broadcast they deem unsuitable.

Barry Willis  |  Jul 18, 1998  |  0 comments

Every few days, the convergence envelope gets pushed a little further. Last week, on July 15, <A HREF="">Boston Acoustics</A> announced its new DigitalTheater 6000 loudspeaker system, which the company describes as "a complete Dolby Digital 5.1 surround-sound system created specifically for use with computing and home theater systems." The five-satellites-plus-subwoofer system is being packaged by <A HREF="">Gateway</A> with its Destination computer systems.