Barry Willis

Barry Willis  |  Mar 11, 2004  |  0 comments

UPDATE - Echostar Communications and Viacom Inc. settled their rate hike dispute late Wednesday, March 10.

Barry Willis  |  Mar 01, 2004  |  0 comments

HD-DVD is ahead by a nose in its race against Blu-ray. On Wednesday, February 25, the 20-member steering committee of the DVD Forum voted to approve technology developed by Toshiba and NEC for use in the coming generation of high density/high definition DVD recorders.

Barry Willis  |  Feb 23, 2004  |  0 comments

If you were thinking about buying a copy of <A HREF="">321Studios</A>' DVD-backup software, you'd better hurry. On Friday, February 20, a San Francisco federal judge ruled that the company's popular "DVD X Copy" software is illegal, and ordered a halt to its distribution within seven days.

Barry Willis  |  Feb 23, 2004  |  0 comments

Warren Lieberfarb's "sell through" agenda for DVD pricing has had some unintended consequences. The former head of Warner Home Entertainment pushed hard for an industry-wide pricing policy that made movies on DVD one of the greatest bargains in the history of entertainment. For compact disc prices, movie fans can own archival copies of films that cost tens of millions to produce&mdash;a strategy that has had serious consequences for the video rental business.

Barry Willis  |  Feb 09, 2004  |  0 comments

Pioneer buying NEC Plasma: NEC announced Friday Feb 6 that it would sell its plasma display panel (PDP) manufacturing business to Pioneer. NEC plans to concentrate its efforts on "network solutions and semiconductors," according to the announcement. The deal, estimated by Japanese analysts at about $379 million, could make Pioneer the dominant player in the hot plasma display market. The company projects that its PDP market share will rise from 14% to 22% as a result.

Barry Willis  |  Feb 09, 2004  |  0 comments

"Targeted marketing" is one of the most powerful buzz-phrases in the advertising lexicon. In its most benign form, it means simply offering information about products and services to those most likely to want them. In a more malevolent form, it means prying into private citizens' activities to discover what really captivates them.

Barry Willis  |  Feb 02, 2004  |  0 comments

In late January, the US Department of Justice began a preliminary inquiry into the Blu-ray group, a breakaway from the <A HREF="">DVD Forum</A>. Composed of Sony Corporation, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Philips Electronics NV, seven other manufacturers&mdash;and recently joined by Dell and Hewlett Packard&mdash;the Blu-ray group is suspected of interfering with the Forum's progress in establishing a standard for high-definition/high density DVD technology.

Barry Willis  |  Feb 02, 2004  |  0 comments

The completion of two more films will close the books on a long-running partnership between Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Company. On Thursday, January 29 Pixar announced that it had abruptly ended discussions with Disney and would not renew its distribution agreement when it expires in 2005.

Barry Willis  |  Jan 26, 2004  |  0 comments

Most of the early marketing studies done on the potential of interactive TV demonstrated that most consumers wanted nothing more than to order movies and possibly pizza. Most of the interactive features currently available to cable subscribers are low-key offerings like local movie schedules.

Barry Willis  |  Jan 19, 2004  |  0 comments

St. Louis&ndash;based <A HREF="">Charter Communications, Inc</A>. has become the first cable provider in the US to rollout an all-digital network, according to a January 16 announcement. The new service was implemented without the use of analog set-top boxes, using an existing HFC (hybrid fiber-coaxial) network. The service, in Charter's Long Beach, CA system, combines digital programming with basic analog programming. The bandwidth-intensive service is made possible by use of a digital compression system consisting of "<A HREF="">Harmonic</A> DiviCom MV 50 variable bit-rate encoders and third-generation DiviTrackXE closed loop statistical multiplexing system," according to the announcement. For Charter subscribers, the new digital service can be activated "remotely and instantly" without the need for in-person service calls, said Charter vice president of engineering Wayne Davis.